By Ariella Bracha Waldinger
It is my intention to write 12 different essays over the next few weeks on 12 different topics related to making Aliyah and living in Israel. This will be my way of celebrating 12 wondrous years of living in G-ds beloved garden—Eretz HaKodesh.
Sinking my roots and planting my soul into the soil of the Holy Land
“To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.” Simone Weil
July 14, 2003 will forever be etched in the consciousness of my mind as the day I entered a new realm of existence, both physical and spiritual. It was on this date that I began the process of sinking my roots into the holy soil of the location that is known as the spiritual epicenter of the universe: The place on earth where G-ds presence is most revealed and where the history of the Jewish people began and will continue to unfold. This was the day my beloved husband, Avraham, and I returned home to Eretz HaKodesh to claim our DIVINE INHERITANCE in the land G-d bequeathed to His beloved, Jewish children.
We chose to make Aliyah because we felt it was necessary for our spiritual growth. We had uncovered an inner need and longing to live every aspect of our life connected to the Jewish people and we knew Israel was the only place where it could happen. We understood, on some level, that if we wanted to grow in a deep and meaningful Jewish way, we would need to be “re-potted” in our native soil. Then our divine essence could truly become rooted to its source of nourishment. We learned that it is quite rare for a sensitive plant, unique to a certain location, to actually take root in foreign soil and blossom to the fullest degree possible. And so, we left behind family, status, possessions, fancy cars and lots of stuff in order to emerge in full strength to allow our roots to take hold in Israel.
We were extremely blessed to have been divinely guided to our beautiful apartment in Israel, prior to making Aliyah. We made a special trip in January 2003, in order to locate the place that would become our home. In spite of the fact that we went from a 3500 square-foot house with a big front porch and a lovely garden to a 3 bedroom, 1 ½ bath, 100 sq. meter apartment (1000 square feet), we were overjoyed with the layout and abundance of windows that gave us lots of light and airflow. Most importantly however, we were completely in awe of living in the Old City of Jerusalem, due to its location so near to where the Holy Temple once stood. Upon arriving at our new home, we entered our apartment with trepidation, recognizing where we would be living and it felt strangely surreal. We began to comprehend the fact that Aliyah carries the power to take you beyond the rewards of mere intellectual comprehension.
The first night, I went to sleep with tears on my pillow, both from missing my family, as well as the privilege to have made it home to Israel where we would live out our days in the land G-d hand-picked for his beloved nation. Here we can prosper and thrive and bring glory to His name. What could be more exciting? What entity or attractions outside the land of Israel could ever compare to fulfilling the commandment of Yishuv Ha’Aretz?
Friends, I have come to realize that the act of making Aliyah is the beginning of an extraordinary process that enables you to shed the superficial, outdated, and ill-fitting garments of the galut lifestyle, in order to adorn yourself in the very real and regal garments of royalty that we wear when residing in the Holy Land. The process begins with your arrival home to Israel and continues throughout the settling in phase. In fact, it continues over the years, as you wean yourself from the galut mentality, in order to fully embrace every hidden aspect of your true, vibrant and connective self that manifests when you choose to reside in the land of your soul root and divine birthright.
In truth, I fully believe that making aliyah is an act of daring and people generally get excited by doing something daring because over time, people’s lives can become dulled by routine. Engaging in the process of aliyah ultimately helps Jews become whole and in becoming whole, we heal the nation, as well as ourselves. And without exception, in this process of coming into our true strengths, we are able to confer our giftedness and growth on each other, for we are returning to a world of everything Jewish and circulating blessings to the nation. There is a very real pleasure in sharing life with our fellow Jews and I feel comfort in their nearness. It feels as if our togetherness is creating an exquisite tapestry of intimacy.
Life in Israel carries you across time and space and into the realm of close connection to G-d and Jewish history: both ancient and modern. Here you are completely connected to the Jewish nation. It is exciting and energizing and vastly rewarding. Ultimately, I recognize that I am privileged to become one of the guardians of the Jewish experience of building up the land and it feels magnificent. What about you?
Dear friends, I pray that you too can explore your connection to the Holy Land, your spiritual growth potential and what you truly want for your life. I pray that my essays touch you and teach you about the true benefits of living authentically as a Jew in the Holy Land. With Blessings of love, light, honesty and integrity, Ariella Bracha