Israel for Everyone?

20 07 2011

Excerpted from Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Question and Answer series on

Rebbetzin's Perspective I Class #5


I know living in Israel should be every Jew’s dream but it doesn’t seem to be the best choice for my family right now. There are many reasons keeping us where we are including health and financial considerations. Am I wrong for only wanting to go there when Mashiach comes?



As Jews our mission is to bring light into the darkness of the world through Torah and mitzvot. Eretz Yisrael is the ideal place where we can fulfill our collective purpose. The Maharal writes that we end the second blessing of Birchat Hamzon with, “Al ha’aretz v’al hamazon,” as opposed to thanking Hashem for what was mentioned in the actual blessing, i.e. yetziat mitzraim, brit milah, Torah, because all of these levels of elevation are meant to take place in Eretz Yisrael.  The spiritual capacities of other countries are limited in that they cannot reveal Hashem in a way that He can be revealed in the land of Israel. Of course you can live a good life in chutz l’aaretz, but it is in spite of where you are, not because of where you are. In a sense you are working against your environment and the unique spiritual forces that define your country. No matter how holy a person in Lakewood may be, he can never fulfill the mitzvah of maaser there. The kedusha of maaser-elevating gashmiut, is limited in chutz l’aaretz.


A meaningful question to ask yourself would be, “Where can I best accomplish my mission?” If there is no one to replace what you or your husband are doing in chutz l’aaretz then you have to sacrifice and stay. But if what you’re thinking is, “I’d rather be in chutz l’aaretz because my family lives here, there’s better shopping, I have a nicer home, and I’m emotionally comfortable with the language and culture,” then there’s a root problem with your reasoning. We shouldn’t feel comfortable with the culture of galut. Our purpose is not shopping, consuming, or owning. If Hashem is compelling you to stay in chutz l’aaretz for financial or health reasons, that means you have to find your role and place there.


This was the difference between the First Temple and the Second Temple. The First Temple contained all the vessels and was an edifice of great light. During the Second Temple, everything was concealed.  In a sense the First Temple had more sanctity. However, the Second Temple really brought forth greater holiness because we were forced to reach into a dark place within ourselves to find the light. May Hashem illuminate your path wherever it may lead.




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