Iyar 5761 – Deciding Between Living in Eretz Yisrael and Doing Kiruv in America

1 Iyar 5761

Dear Chana,

Ever since I left Eretz Yisrael, I knew I wanted to go back there to raise a family. Now, two years back from Israel, I am heavily involved in kiruv in America, in NCSY, and am now entering a graduate program for Jewish education because I want to teach. I find myself in a dilemma…. I do want to do kiruv and teach in America, but objectively I know I want to be in Israel – I just dont feel it as much as I used to because I haven’t been back since I left seminary. And if I do go to Israel, I don’t know if I could do the same kiruv and chinuch there. Now how do I know which is right for me, to stay in America and teach and do kiruv or move to Eretz Yisrael where I know I belong?

Thank you,

Name & seminary withheld upon request

It seems like you are trying to plan things out in a very tailored fashion. You do have your basic derech – which is great! You want to do kiruv and teach. If that is where you feel your kochos are – that’s terrific! You’ve analyzed about yourself and you know yourself. But the catch is that you can’t makes super specific plans now because you haven’t met your other half yet. It depends on who he is and what he is doing as well. Once you meet him you can figure out joint plans that work well for both of you. I know girls who were adamant about living in Eretz Yisroel, who were here, going to school and only dating guy who for sure wanted to live here. Quite a few of them ended up marrying, being here for a time and then going back to the states [happily, I might add]. On the flip side, I know girls who were only willing to commit to being in Eretz for a year or two, maybe even three – and now it is 15 years down the road and they are still willingly and cheerily living in Eretz Yisroel! And still one other flip side, take people like myself who started out living in Eretz Yisroel and were very serious indeed about staying [we sent two lifts of furniture and bought an apartment]. We were in Eretz Yisroel for three years and to keep a fairly lengthy story quite short, suffice it to say that Hashgacha took us back to the States… for 12 years! We don’t regret any of it for a second because there are many many wonderful things that happened during those years and it was excellent that we were where we were, but we never gave up the dream to come back. So four and a half years ago that is exactly what we did! We returned to Eretz Yisroel after being quite settled in America, [which is definitely not the norm]. Had you asked me one year before we actually went back to the States, would I ever live in the States? You would have gotten a resounding NO!!!!

So what I am trying to say is twofold:

1) Life decisions need to made once you’ve met your mate. As long as you have your basic game plan you are doing fine for now.

2) You can’t fight the Hashgacha! You need to of course make your Hishtadlus in the ways that you know is right for you [with the help of Da’as Torah] but ultimately it is Hashem who is running the show! The trick is to make the Hashgacha work for you and make the best of every situation. One of the secrets of being truly happy is for a person to be able to make peace with the way Hashem is running his life.

So save those big time future decisions for a bit, continue on the tremendous path that is set for now and wait and see what is in store for you!

Wishing you Bracha V’hatzlacha!