Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jerusalem Is Calling


"My heart is in the East and I am at the ends of the West."

I booked airline tickets to Israel today. My first time in Israel was for my seminary year and I haven't been back since. I have wanted to go so badly, and now finally, I am going. I cannot wait to daven at the kotel, to buy seforim in Geula, to go to classes in Michlala and see my teachers, to walk through the Old City.

To me, Israel is inextricably bound to my seminary year. It is bound to Michlala and the spiritual growth and Torah learning that I did that year. Israel is a spiritual place that represents all things spiritual for me.

And I'm just a little bit worried. Maybe I've changed too much. Maybe I am not holy enough for Israel anymore. Will my teachers approve of who I am now. Because much as I have tried with all my might to hold onto what I learned--and I hope I have--I am not the same person I was when I donned my Michlala sweatshirt and boarded an El Al flight after ten months completely immersed in Torah.

I have spent the last three and a half years on a college campus and I do believe I have grown religiously. And I still think of myself as a good Michlala girl--I hope I always do. But going back means the people who I most respect get to judge who I've become. And that makes me just a little bit nervous.

5 Comments:

At 10/26/06, 4:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eli7, I am so excited for you. I am sure that Michlala will be very happy and proud to see you:)

 
At 10/26/06, 8:21 AM, Blogger bellanny said...

that's awesome. so excited for you. and as long as you are happy with the person you are now don't worry about others judging you. it's what you think that matters most.

 
At 10/26/06, 10:28 AM, Blogger Lichvod Shabbat Kodesh said...

I think you have it the wrong way: first you go to Israel, and as such, you become a better person. In Parshat Netzavim, Moshe explains that the first step to teshuva is returning to the place from where you were exiled...

Is it a coincidence that: 1) The kohanim were the last to enter Israel with Joshua. 2) Only the intermarried, assimilated, and most unlearned class of the Jews returned to Israel with Ezra - the rest, scholar and ignoramous alike, perished. 3) In our modern generation, it was the non-religious who led the Aliyot - now more people are studying Torah in israel than ever!

I am also returning to Israel soon for the first time since my year there. I feel guilty for putting my secular college education in exile as a higher priority than Torah, aliya, and living among the ingathered refugees of the Exile. Maybe seeing Israel flourish and blossom will ease my anxiety...

 
At 10/29/06, 12:23 AM, Anonymous Chanie said...

are you going in January as you mentioned in the previous post? I have to go sometime around then for a wedding, and I was just curious about how much you payed for your ticket.

 
At 10/31/06, 6:54 AM, Blogger Scraps said...

I'm so excited for you! I was lucky enough to have a sister a couple years younger than me, so I got to go back to visit her (because she got to come visit me when I was in Israel for the year, so it was only fair ;)). But I won't lie--it's wonderful, but it's hard to go back. Or at least it was for me. Because, as you said, you've grown and changed, and you're not the same Mich girl who just spent ten months learning Torah in the holiest city on Earth. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, mind you; staying exactly the same probably wouldn't be a good idea either. But it makes things different.

 

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