THE JEWISH CLIMBER’S GUIDE TO ALIYAH SUCCESS AND
THE BASICS OF MOUNTAIN CLIMBING SAFETY
For the inexperienced climber, it is common to hire an experienced guide to insure safety and success in the venture. Choose your guide carefully and communicate your needs clearly. Let them know your experience level and don’t be afraid to admit your limitations. Understand that everyone’s experience will be different and tailor made for them. Don’t compare your experience or undermine your self- worth.
Additionally, insuring safety and success take additional planning but it is well worth the effort. Remember, once you sign up for the expedition and expend money and efforts to make it happen, make the commitment to stick with it…..backing out is costly for all parties.
1) SIGNING UP FOR THE EXPEDITION. When you sign up for the ALIYAH expedition, it means you are making a commitment to complete the journey. It also means you are no longer operating as an individual. Because you are a novice and lack experience and understanding, it is of the utmost importance for your success and well being to be guided by more experienced individuals who have come before you. You can enhance your safety by talking to others who are familiar with the challenges you may experience along the way.
2) FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE CONDITIONS. This translates into acquiring knowledge about everything pertaining to Israel and its relevance to your life. Learn about the history of the land, the Israeli ways and customs, the language, transportation systems, politics, jobs and schools and all the great things available to you and your family. Check out the Nefesh b’Nefesh web site frequently, join the Nefesh b’Nefesh yahoo group, sign up for my blog and get all the latest news and updates related to aliyah and Israel, and be in contact with all the other aliyah related agencies, all of whom are listed on this blog on the resources page.
3) UNDERSTANDING THE DIVINE GUIDANCE SYSTEM. The most fundamental element of the Aliyah process is to understand that the entire system in Eretz Yisrael is anchored by a Divine guidance system. According to our Sages, a special Divine providence continuously blesses the Land, and once we are here, we have the ability to receive Divine content directly from the Source. This means we are Divinely guided to every person we need to meet, every situation we need to encounter and everything we need to be successful. HaShem is guiding our footsteps along the way. When we adopt this awareness and learn to ask HaShem’s help in all our situations and bring Him into our lives in a more real way….He reveals the path to us and helps us overcome the obstacles.
4) INSPECT YOUR EQUIPMENT: Know your abilities and coping skills. Know what your fears are. Acquire good coping and conflict resolution skills in order to bind up all the areas of vulnerability that will become exposed in the process of ascending. Be clear that with guidance and the blueprint of Torah, there will always be a solution to a problem. G-d does not disappear and leave you on your own, especially when you return to His Beloved Garden. Effects of exposure to the challenging elements inherent in the process of climbing can cause pain and suffering. Friends and family and other new immigrants can temper the suffering and bring you safely up the mountain. Know that every bump or obstacle along the way, is one that you can get beyond, by problem solving with friends and family or others with greater knowledge.
5) RESPECT THE MOUNTAIN! The mountains you will be climbing are the mountains of G-d. These mountains are represented by the Torah, the Land and the Nation. One must acquire the skills of speaking with respect about the whole of it. DO not bring the darkness of negativity into your ascent process. Additionally, part of mountain climbing safety is to know the mountain terrain. That means learning the best mountain climbing route for yourself based upon your abilities. The more you know about the challenges inherent in the process of leaving behind all the familiarity and comforts, the more success you will enjoy. This also means know and respect yourself. Know your limits and boundaries and don’t push them….honor them instead.
6) LET SOMEONE KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. If you are coming up against challenges, be they emotional, physical or spiritual, the key is to express yourself to your family or friends. Keeping it inside to fester will lead to disconnecting from the path, despair or a half-hearted attempt with a lack of focus which can be dangerous. Ask for help in thinking through problems and assessing the challenges. Some people have acquired the trait of believing they have to go it alone and figure everything out for themselves. This is a weighty belief system that does not work IN Eretz Yisrael. We are family and want to help! We must learn to receive the help available without feeling diminished. Communication will be a key factor. Be clear: complaining and whining are not to be confused with informing someone of a mistake or deficiency, so it can be taken care of and made right. Rising to a higher spiritual awareness does not mean putting up with bad behavior….it means stating the facts of the problem without all the drama and emotion, so it can be addressed and solved in an adult, mature way.
7) KEEP THE GROUP TOGETHER: The group is the couple or the family. Do not permit the challenges inherent in the process to create a family rift. Each person is going through inner challenges whether they admit it or not. This is normal and to be expected. Strive to protect the integrity of the group by keeping peace in the family. Allow each person to own his own feelings and be validated. This allows a safe environment for all. Family therapists or counselors who speak English are readily available should the need arise. Tackle the problems as they come.
The group is also represented by the nation. Once in the Land, the essential nature of nationhood will permeate your world and draw you into its reality. Choose wisely where you fit in, so you can maintain your connectivity.
8) STAY ON THE ALERT: Many climbing accidents can also happen on the descent. After climbers, i.e., new immigrants, reach the summit and feel acclimated, they often feel they have MADE IT. Making it to the summit is only half the challenge. Going down requires additional wisdom, guidance and safety, as well. We all experience going down the mountain even though we truly desire to stay on the top. This too is to be expected. This is the law of nature and life!
9) COMMIT TO YOUR EMERGENCE: Allow yourself to consider making a profound commitment to your emergence process as you settle into Life in the holy Land and commit to completing your journey. You are a valuable, much needed asset to your nation in your land and we are awaiting your homecoming with open arms.
10) View your Aliyah experience with KINDSIGHT! Don’t beat up yourself or anyone else if things are not working out the way you expected. Shift your perspective to a positive one and Blessings will come to you. We are all in this together and we understand the challenges…you are not alone.