by Moshe Feiglin
“And if the woman will not desire to follow you, and you will be absolved of my oath – just do not return my son to there.” (From this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, Genesis 24:8)
Abraham is already old and has lived out most of his days. Yitzchak is the only link in the chain that will forge ahead with his world-wide faith revolution. Under the circumstances, it would seem that for a good wife from a distinguished family – it would be worthwhile to leave Israel for a few years.
But Abraham says an emphatic “no”. “Just do not return my son to there.”
Abraham understands something that we have forgotten. A sizeable portion of Israel’s citizens hold foreign citizenship in addition to their Israeli ID cards. For them, the Land of Israel is an option – not a final destination. If things are not working out here as planned, thank you very much and goodbye. Look for us in Europe or the US.
But the Land of Israel is not merely a privilege. It is not optional. There is simply no other place for a Jew. The Exile is finished and we are rapidly progressing to a time when the majority of Jews will live in Israel.
Lamentably, many Jews still retain their exile mentality. The wandering Jew is alive and well in the worldview of Israel’s leaders and the part of Israeli society that believes that it can arrange itself a more comfortable option, if need be.
If Israel’s leaders would assert that for the Jews, Israel is the only option, nobody in the UN would dare question the necessity of a Jewish State in the world and Iran would not dare threaten our existence. They would understand that when a country with nuclear capabilities faces an existential threat and has its back to the wall, it will make use of its weapons. But “existential threat” is not in the lexicon of Israel’s leadership and part of its citizenry. Worse comes to worse, they can always hop the first plane to Europe, Canada or the USA.
The world clearly senses that we have not internalized the fact that the Land of Israel is our final destination; the last, blessed stop on our 2000 year journey. But the moment when every Jew will have to make the fateful choice is rapidly approaching.