Dangerous Overconfidence

Many in the Moshiach Blogosphere have very harsh words, condemnations, threats, and warnings directed at Torah Jews who live in America.

Let it be said strong and clear:  There are thousands of dedicated Torah Jews who live in America who desperately long to move to E”Y but do not have the capacity as a result of their financial, family, and/or physical health situations.  For folks living in E”Y to besmirch “Jews” in America as people who “can’t leave the gashmiut” is unjust. Where I live, nobody is living the life of gashmiut – the weather is harsh and cold, we have no kosher restaurants, over 80% of the community subsists on lower-class to lower-middle-class incomes – and they work hard for the money.

In this regard in fact, last year I visited the tzaddik R. Chaim Kanievsky to ask whether I should move to E’Y.  His first question was, “Do you have parnassa?”. I replied, “What if I come with a sizeable chunk of money.” He replied, “Then you spend it and go back.”  R. Kanievsky probably has seen more “data points” in this area – should I come or should I go – than any other Rabbi in the world.  He’s seen the devastation poverty and loneliness can wreak on families.  He’s advised to stay, and he’s advised to go – nobody can judge any other person’s particular sitation, and certainly no one can question the actions of a Torah Jew who abides by responses to questions asked to a Gadol and Tzadik like R. Chaim.

Literally dozens of Aliyah blogs talk about the very real hardship of making a parnassah in E”Y if one does not speak the language.  Many olim are unemployed or severely underemployed. Never mind the issues of family, cultural, social, and religious integration, and the added pressures on these critical areas that come with financial problems.

The parnassa and high cost of living situation is real.  It cannot be simply dismissed by – “just have faith and HaShem will help”, “be a brave immigrant like your great grandparents were”.  We are not supposed to walk under leaning walls.  Can a person really provide for a family of 4 or more kids making 25-50 shekels an hour in E”Y?  Because that’s what’s facing the typical 40-something Anglo frum Jew with a family.

The Torah states clearly that in the fight against Edom, we are to split into two camps.  Despite what folks want to believe, there is no source declaring the inyan of “two camps” has been nullified.  We are still in galut, and for anybody to point fingers and claim that “I am physically safer than Plony” is, quite frankly, laced with dangerous conceit – a person should really think carefully before “prosecuting” Jews in America with an insensitive and too broad brush.

A person could dismiss the Gedolim as “blinded”, just as many Gedolim in Europe failed to see the holocaust coming.  Perhaps, too, here, the Gedolim don’t see a holocaust in American coming and are blind – but, for sure, they see a real threat of one, G-d forbid, to Jews in E”Y if Jews worldwide don’t do tshuva.

While it may be true that Jews who live in America are doomed, G-d forbid, it only may be true.

Truth be told, the choice is ultimately, “Where do I want to give my life for the sanctification of HaShem’s name?”  Because, if, G-d forbid, the Jews do not do tshuva and war comes, nobody can be so confident they will live and not die, wherever they reside.

I plead to the Moshiach Blogosphere and Torah Jews everywhere:

Confidence in miraculous salvation must be tempered by humility and compassion for other Jews.   This doesn’t mean we should ever stop urging folks to make Aliyah, nor that Torah Jews in America should not constantly strive to make Aliyah and encourage their children to do the same.  But rather it means that we must check ourselves to make sure when we make that call, its coming from a good place and is not tinged by a perverse “I told you so” hope that are “right” and that gentiles will ultimately slaughter millions of good Diaspora Jews who “failed” to move to E’Y.

We in America suffer when you suffer.  It is true.


13 Responses to Dangerous Overconfidence

  1. dcl says:

    Your right. I have been in E”Y for more then 10 years. This is a very hard country if you don’t have protectzia and substantial amounts of money. Employers take advantage of Olim Hadashim, seldom paying a fair wage and in most cases doing their best to cheat those workers out of the meager wages they do pay. In industrial areas which have set up close to the PA, Israeli employers prefer to employ PA Arabs who work for less then 1/2 the minimum wages that a Jew is required to get. Jews are routinely fired to make way for more PA workers.

    In spite of this and many other harsh realities Israel is the place to be a Jew. There is simply no place in world better for the Jewish people then E”Y.

  2. devorah says:

    I agree with you.

  3. David says:

    Although I live in Israel and believe all Jews should make it a point int coming home, I one is lifting up sparks there and trying there best to wake their fellow Jews up then there is something to say about that. My concern is that most people even if they yearn to come here put other concerns first. I am not saying this is everyone, but I feel there are many people like. Much success in all that you do and please continue to work har in bringing the final redemption!

  4. Avraham says:

    Very insightful post. We made Aliyah 4.5 yrs ago, and it has been a struggle… But then again, if we had been in the USA for the past 4.5 yrs, who is to say it would not have been worse??? I believe that if someone truly has the ratzon to live in EY, then they should go, and H=shem will bless it. However, those that CAN ‘afford’ to move to EY and choose NOT to… that is a different ballgame. I do take issue with the author’s proposition that one cannot make it on ’25 – 30′ shekels / hour. First of all, most professionals who come to EY CAN find a job… and it is usually much more than 25 – 30 shekel per hour. Second, if both parents are working, then for sure the family can make it…. From my vantage point, I would rather struggle financially in EY seeing how my children are growing up that pay every last penny from a ‘raise’ I would get to the ‘frum’ schools in the USA for a mediocre education at best.

  5. Chaim Zev says:

    My family made aliyah to Maale Adumim six months ago with no regrets. The cost of basic food and clothing is less here then in the US. The E”Y economy is doing well and I am following promissing job leads. remember “pernosa min hasamayim” If I must struggle for it, I would much rather struggle here than in the USA

    In the end – we have a tremendous sense of satisfaction in living here.

    Next time you are in E”Y please come to us for Shabbos

  6. sharon says:

    I agree with most of the post, however, I also value the opinions of leaders and pure souls of the generation. So far, most of what the autistic children and Galia said are on target.The terrorist problems are becoming unbearable. One rav also said- Jews in America will leave America with nothing but “shirts on their back” in the near future.(coinciding with the current fall in economy) Ultimately, and hopefully more will try to make that move due to the assimilation problems in galut hopefully with some money. I hope that those in Israel will make the aliyah easier, as they are also dealing with trying to live amidst hateful warring neighbors(hezbola, hamas,etc.)Hoping that we will all make the right decisions.

    • jewishendofdays says:

      Facilitated Communication has failed in a significant number double blind experiments. At best, they are “dream-like” and should not be relied upon save for the call to to tshuva – which can be relied upon from any source.

  7. sharona says:

    There is a reason we were put we are

    If you live in NY, then you have a mission there. And if Los Angeles, then there. I heard that Torah needed to be spread around the world first. And look, it has spread across America and other places. I understand that we will need to go back to our homeland eventually, I look forward to that. I believe what my teacher said, that when we need to, we’ll know.

  8. Steve says:

    I agree with what sharona says. There are dedicated Rabbis who have taken the time to teach the growing number of Noahides in the US. These Rabbis are helping the Noahides to grow and become stronger. If these Rabbis went back to Israel too soon, then those of us who are trying to learn would be without a very valuable resource.

  9. Mark Kaufman says:

    Imagine if you are the only one in your family who wants to do Aliyah. Would anyone suggest it would be a Kiddush Hashem to abandon one’s wife and thus his children as well?

  10. Tiklish says:

    So I can’t get work where I am in Los Angeles because employers would rather hire Mexicans and pay them below legal wage, and I can’t get work in Israel, because employers would rather pay Arabs below legal wage.

    Dreading homelessness.

    I’m thinking that might make a good “signature” to my posts between now and when the homelessness kicks in and I have nowhere to plug in my computer.

  11. hubscubs says:

    interesting post, considering the title of your blog.
    but i’m gonna have to disagree with you on many fronts.

    let’s say that maybe we’ve been too harsh and condesending towards american jews who choose not to come home. the “besmirchment” might be blown out of proportion. but sometimes, it takes a good slap to your face to wake you up. if we go about calling your attention to it only in a gentle way, it is very likely that you will continue in your slumber.

    some of your comments are very real and will actually represent challenges: parnassah, social, culturual, etc. i do not have any solution to the above. but nobody said that this would be easy! Hashem didn’t tell us to live in this land in order for us to have an easy life. nor did He tell us to live in this land so that we can run away from persecution and/or assimilation in other lands (though those are side benefits). we are supposed to be here, because He said so, that’s why.

    instead of referring to these issues as challenges, they are your excuses. it might sound justified to you, but i would not be hasty to suggest that Hashem accepts such justifications. i don’t know of any other mitzvot which seem to be so justified to be ignored. “but Hashem wouldn’t want me to ‘suffer’ and be hungry on Yom Kippur”.

    in your defense, as in any other mitzvah, if you consulted with a rav and he told you to stay in the US, all the more power to you. you have just received a ‘heter’. after 120, you can point his way. i would not, however, apply your personal heter to all the masses reading this blogpost.

    finally, you refer to the ultimate choice of “where do i want to sanctify G-d’s name?” again, ppl should not be in israel due to some overconfident sense of safety. i would rather die here in israel because i am a jew then live in america because i refuse to live up to that calling. sort of along the lines of the captain will go down with the ship. the jews will forever be interlinked with the land of israel and if it is nuked, i want to be there with it.

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