After spending over a year back in chutz l’aretz (the United States), I’ve realized this is the longest stretch of time I’ve been in the U.S. in the past four years. I remember the last time I stepped on the plane in Eretz Yisrael, not knowing the next time I would be back. I had a kind of heartache that only someone who has spent ample time in Israel can understand. Its the ache of the unknown, and the knowing that you’re leaving a place that impacts you so profoundly. Here I sit, over a year later, at my desk in comfortable, air conditioned, carpeted Chicago, and I realize that even with the great ache I once experienced, I was actually thrilled to be going back to the comforts that America has to offer. I was excited for Starbucks, Target, some of my favorite kiddies and the pool, and to have my car, but now I realize what a mistake that mindset was. While the amenities are a plus, I am now aching to go back to the place that can truly offer happiness. And that place is not America, it’s Israel. The past few weeks of this Israel fever, has helped me check-in with myself and my needs. America is the world of gashmius (physicality) and, sure, it’s nice to be “comfortable”, but Israel offers a world of ruchnius (spirituality), which helps us to truly be the “happy” people we all strive to be in this world.
Isn’t it royally annoying that I realize this now? After I probably totally took advantage of the past four years spent, on and off, in Israel? Only now do I come to the incontestable conclusion that my neshama needs Israel? So I say now, that we all must live for today. Wherever we are. Do mitzvos like this day is your last. Love like you never have before. And know that, wherever H-shem has helped you to be, that you are blessed.
Thank G-d, I know that I am blessed with the life I have.
I have a wonderful husband, great family and friends surrounding me, and a good job. I know that America is the place where I am meant to be in this part of my life. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also strive to be in the place, and surround ourselves with the people, that elevate us to higher spiritual levels. And for me, that place is Israel. G-d willing, chef hubby and I will be able to travel to Israel soon, but until then, I will strive to spiritual heights in Chicago, and keep the memory of Israel in my heart, to help me through the heartache times of missing my home away from home.
This post can also be viewed on the Times of Israel Blog section.