Tuesday, June 05, 2007


A word of warning: this made more sense to me the second time around. Try and read it twice. Disclaimer: This is a rant. It hasn't been written out as intellectually sound as perhaps it might have been. I honestly don't give a monkey's behind.

This may perhaps be my first successful link. But it will only take you to the blog, and the post I'm referring to is fairly old at this point, it was posted several weeks ago. it's the
"12 reasons not to live in Israel" post I'm ranting about here.

basically, it frustrated me out of my mind; perhaps it was the glib insensitivity. or was it the glib ignorance? perhaps it was just the general stupidity of mankind. in any case, I'd like to say several things about it.

let's put aside for a moment the fact that this man neither a)disproves b)argues against or c)provides a logical opposing statement for any of the reasons for living in Israel that he is attacking. forgetting all that, plus the fact that he cheerfully ignores certain very signifigant historical trends and realities, (oh, and also that all his reasoning is essentially an expression of the most crass kind of shallow American materialism); what bugs me the most is that this man clearly has no idea first of all what it means to make aliyah, and second of all, that not everyone who lives in America can afford three cars and three trips to Israel a year, bc some of them actually have principles and do things like working in chinuch. you know, for the betterment of the Jewish people and the community? the people who might actually have a good excuse not to make aliyah bc they're contributing something essential and good where they are? these are not the people he's talking about, and these are not the reasons he cites for sitting complacently in a foreign land while his brothers suffer and struggle for the sake of actually trying to live their lives according to how they think G-d wants them to.

I can't re-post the whole post, which is why I attempted to link to it, but the thing that got my goat the most was the final statement:

"And also because you couldn’t make it in the States : ^ p"

Dude, I could go home for a summer - as a girl barely out of her teens, with no degree and almost no marketable skills beyond what G-d gave me as raw talent - and make more money in a summer than certain adults in this country can make in a year. You know those people who called America a land of opportunity? You know why? Because they've got the economy to support the opportunity. You know what economists say about Israel? That the economy in this country should collapse at any minute, and that the fact that it doesn't is a daily miracle. Now it's true that I may have a harder time affording fancy cars and international vacations multiple times a year if I supported myself that way in America, but I'd be able to live. Do you know how many families here have at least one parent that has to fly back to America for work? Do you know how many come here hopeful and idealistic and have to go back to America bc they can't support their families here? I'm sorry, but I really just don't understand what this guy is thinking. It may have been tongue in cheek, but it just sounds really ignorant and out of touch with reality.

This is not going to be an argument about why all Jews SHOULD move to Israel (bc they really should) which would include, among other things, a) it's a mitzvah b)speeding up the geulah c)strengthening Israel's economy, not to mention military and international/political standing d)historical trends and realities, too complicated to go into in depth right now, but trust me, fairly important (come on, man, the people who talked like you didn't get to go out of Egypt, forget the whole galut bavel/beginning of second Temple era business) e)solidarity and many many others which will possibly inspire their own seperate post sometime very soon.


Remember how it's a mitzvah people? A MITZVAH??? An actual commandment? Like, more so than wearing knee socks or (gasp!) (dare I say it?) a kippah?
I mean, forgetting the fact that it's been the national dream, the cherished hope of all our forefathers since the exile began? (Which would be the sentimental claptrap part.)

I mean, seriously. You have your reasons for staying in the Diaspora, fine. But they should be something you can stand behind with a little more dignity than the "Because in America I can buy a new car every five years," thing. Because honestly? I don't care. And frankly, I think probably G-d doesn't either.


Blogger Nemo said...

In this guy's defense, I think he was just mocking the mushy-kushy claptrap that Jameel wrote up... and let's admit, that's exactly what it was. But you are correct that his replies didn't make such good arguments.

I do agree with some of his points though, particularly about taking part in Jewish history. How is living in America not part of Jewish history?

And also, I'm not so convinced by this selling point of "living in the land where the mitzvot were meant to be kept." I've heard it plenty of times before, but most of the E"Y Mitzvos are only Derabanan anyway today.

Lets be real with ourselves that the only real reason to live in Israel would be for Yishuv Ha'aretz. All the other reasons for living on the edge there follow after that point.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

yeah, the only real reason is the chiyuv, the rest are things that we tell ourselves to make us feel better about things.
although frankly, I think that the best rhetoric to convince yourself is reading Ezra/Nehemia. A few people came up and got listed by name in the tanach, got to build the Beit Hamikdash, significantly reshape the Jewish religion, have their descendants write all the Tannaitic material out there, all that good stuff, while everyone else...stayed in Bavel and bought new cars. Just the pshat man.

But don't be too hard on xgh- he's just being flippant and obnoxious. And not a tenth as flippant and obnoxious as my own efforts:


11:42 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

the point about Jewish history is that the crux of jewish history i the futture is happening here. the reason most of Jewish history has been in the diaspora the last thousands of years or so is because we have't bee able to be here. because we were in exile. but ow that abt half of the world's jewry lives in Israel is a pretty strong indication that the important stuff will mainly be happeig in, or in diect relation to, Israel in the near future.

I know xgh was being flippant; as I said it was the apparent ignorance that really pissed me off.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

And the ten million Diaspora Jews and hundred, if not thousands of communities, are not a part of the Jewish continuum?

Yes, Israel is a central focus and waxing hope of every Jewish community, but big things are happening elsewhere too!

11:39 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

I did not mean to imply that there's nothing happening outside of Israel. That's why it's a trend, and not one day we all woke up and moved to Israel. In almost 60 years, this place went from having a fraction of the world's Jewry as citizens to half of it. (I know technically that's still a fraction, that's not my point.)

But as you say, Israel is a focal point; the point that brings every Jew back to the same place. Wouldn't it be nice to finally have everyone back in the same place?

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice post!

Actually not all poskim agree that this Mitzveh of Yishuv Eretz Yisroel goes on in our times.

But the fact is that ehrliche yidden always had a wanting to live out their years in eretz yisroel.

5:13 PM  

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