By Ariella Bracha Waldinger
Recently, I have asked many friends who have made Aliyah over the years this question:” what was the most pleasantly surprising aspect of making Aliyah?” Without exception, 99% respond that the warmth, kindness, caring and helpfulness of the community shocked and surprised them. It made them feel less fearful and less alone. It enabled them to feel cared for and helped them to feel important and valued. The following stories verify these facts and touch upon the beauty and joy of living in Israel.
At the doctor’s office
The other day while I was at my doctor’s office, I met a couple who recently made Aliyah from Florida. The wife told me she cannot believe the acts of kindness that constantly manifest exactly when needed. Her husband has some walking issues and uses a cane. She said that carrying groceries to their residence is a constant problem due to a nearby construction site. She said, without fail, someone always comes forward to help carry their groceries, right to their door. This is one of the spiritual gifts that manifest when you make Aliyah. It feels as if you are alone without family or friends and yet all your needs are met by what seems to be strangers, or so we call them. But the beautiful, magnificent truth is G-d is showing you that you are not alone. And even more-so, He is showing you how He is guiding you to getting all your needs taken care of by the family of your birth—the nation of Israel.
In June, when my husband and I were at the airport leaving for America, we found out that our Israeli passports had expired on Feb. 11. Normally, in most countries, if your passport has expired, you would be sent home, would miss your flight and you would not be able to leave the country until you had a new one. However, in Israel, there is a passport office at the airport. (They go out of their way to care for their citizens…honestly) We were escorted to the office by a young Israeli guy, who waited for us the entire time. The sign above the passport area read: New passports 1400 NIS per person. That is over $350.00. I choked and so did my husband because together the price-tag would be more than $700.00. Yikes. I started praying with great seriousness and my holy husband starting talking (which he is very good at). With a highly penitential voice and a very sad face, he told the lovely Israeli woman that we had mis-read the expiration date on our passports as 11/2 instead of Feb 11th. We thought it expired in November. Could she please have mercy on our ignorance and give us an extension at no cost? My husband continued to ask and joke and then he finally shut up, so she could focus. We both were hopeful that her kindness would override our stupidity and that G-d would work a miracle for us. When she began to smilingly reprimand us to be sure and get our passports renewed, we knew that she had waived the fee and given us an extension. My heart was bursting and I gave her a beautiful, powerful Blessing and she gave me a big smile and an AMEN. Our Israeli escort, once out of earshot, said he had never witnessed anyone getting the fee waived. I attributed it to the kindness of HaShem and our core belief in the goodness, kindness and helpfulness of Israelis.
Passport renewal office
Last week, we were waiting for our turn to finally renew our passports. When our number was called and we approached the clerk, I asked her if she spoke any English. She said, “No.” Thank G-d, for the most part we can understand Hebrew. However, we still felt as if we needed a little help so, I turned around in my chair and looked out at all the people in the waiting room and asked, “Is there anyone here that speaks English and wants to do a Mitzvah?” Almost everyone laughed and then a Jewish man came forward and smilingly said he would help b’simchah! (That means with joy). So he helped us and before he left, he searched for someone else who spoke English. Can you imagine? We didn’t ask him to do that, but because we are family, he did it anyway. Besides, I think he felt sorry for us. Anyway, an Israeli woman, who had just returned from living in California with her family came over to help. We immediately started chatting about life, as if we had known each other for years. I loved it!
The interesting thing is this lovely Israeli woman named Dalit, also needed help. She told us their situation and the help they needed and we promised to see what we could do for them. And this is what it is like ‘Living in Israel’. G-d brought us together to help each other at the exact perfect moment. It feels so completely amazing and soul stirring and G-d connecting to experience this Divine providence day in and day out. It brings out the deepest joy and gratitude and it solidifies the truth about Living in Israel.
- First of all, you are NEVER ALONE.
- Second, getting the help you need is just about asking for it.
- Third, you will be divinely guided to every person you need to meet in order to get your needs met.
- Fourth, circulating mitzvot by asking for help and helping others builds up G-ds name and brings Blessings to the ENTIRE WORLD. Be clear about that.
- Fifth, THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME.
Friends, there is no better time than now to come home and experience for yourself what it is like “LIVING IN ISRAEL”—the Divine Birthright of the Jewish people. Add your own story to the ongoing story of G-ds beloved nation in the Holy Land.
With continued Blessings for revealed good, health, joy and love, Ariella Bracha