The world can’t figure something out; Why are Jews in the Diaspora helping Israel in enormous proportions and – even more unbelievable – why, specifically now, are more Jews talking about Aliyah than ever before! A good friend of mine, who is a real estate broker in Israel, told me that his phone is “ringing off the hook” (an expression that anyone under 30 has no idea what it means!) He said, “Shmuel, I really shouldn’t say this – but this war is the best thing that happened to my business!” Why is that? 1,200 Jews are slaughtered in one day, 4,000 are wounded, over 200 taken hostage, missiles are flying all over the country, 300,000 men and women have been called to the army, a war is going on… and people want to move here? Yes, it’s perfectly normal and allow me to explain.
For the last 30 years I have been talking, writing and explaining about one major concept; that the Jewish Nation exists only in Israel. Individually, we are Jews all over the world and as communities we flourish in all parts of the globe but “Am Yisrael” is exclusively in Eretz Yisrael. This past Simchat Torah – the never-to-be-forgotten October 7 th– was not an attack on individual Jews, nor was it geared to some kibbutzim on the Gaza border. The horrific events of that day were towards the nation of Israel. Hamas began a war against Am Yisrael… so it was Am Yisrael that needed to respond.
Jews from across the world, felt a stabbing in the heart. The news reports shook us to our core, so we jumped into action. Checks were written in the hundreds of millions, 200 airplanes were stocked with emergency equipment, volunteers came pouring in, Tehillim groups were organized… but it wasn’t enough! People kept asking’ “What can we do?” We saw unity like we haven’t seen in many decades. Rabbis and other leaders from across the Jewish world began rushing to Israel to learn, witness and help in any way possible. The response was beyond belief and gave everyone in Israel a great motivational push. It helped turn our minds away from the grief and focused us on assisting the victims and wiping out the enemy. My Israeli neighbors didn’t understand why the response was so overwhelming, until I explained it to them in one simple sentence: The help being given by Diaspora Jews connects them to Am Yisrael – the nation of Israel. These donations are not tzedakah… they are glue that binds a Jew in the Diaspora to his/her nation!
For years, Jews thought they could live a beautiful life outside the Land. Who needs to connect to the nation? We have a wonderful community – Yeshivas, mikvehs, kollels and shuls. We have wonderful Rabbis, fantastic chesedcommittees, an eruv that was just enlarged and kosher food every 10 feet. We have youth groups, amazing shiurim for men and women, glatt-kosher ski trips, minyans at Yankee Stadium and frum camps for our kids. Until October 7 th , Jews across the world really believed they had it all. And then it hit… like a ton of bricks. Our nation was attacked… and these wonderful communities – and the Jews who live in them - are 6,000 miles away.
Jews from Australia to England to Mexico to Canada felt a slap across their face. It was a wake-up call. The Land of Israel was not attacked – the Nation of Israel was! The pain that Jews felt in Queens, Ft Lauderdale and Golders Green was the pain of Am Yisrael and they needed to connect to that! This is why the response was record- breaking… not because people had all this money lying around but because their Jewish soul was screaming at them to join their nation! It also explains why – at this dangerous moment – people called my friend, the real estate broker, to buy a house. Bet Shemesh or Ra’anana did not become super attractive overnight, but it did offer the one thing they realized they were lacking; the missing piece of the Jewish puzzle – a soulmate for their desire to become part of the nation. The slogan for this war has been “Am Yisrael Chai” because that is exactly the point; The Nation of Israel Lives! I always focus on the positive and here it is: With all of the pain and suffering that these last 2 months have brought, the Jewish national soul has been awakened and when that happens only good things are in store for HaShem’s Chosen People! Let’s focus on that and make our nation bigger and stronger than ever!