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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hashem Said Yes

You turned my mourning to dancing. You removed my sackcloth and clothed me in joy. (Tehillim 30:12)

This is the post I've been waiting eight years to write. What seemed utterly impossible just a short time ago suddenly, and I mean suddenly, became absolutely possible. In the end, the whole story is one giant Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G'd's Name).

G'd, through His great goodness, finally said, "Yes. Yes, Rivkah, you can now make plans to come and live in my Land, live among My people. Come soon and grow yet closer to Me."

I can hardly believe it.

Every single boulder that was in our way on the road between Baltimore and Ma'ale Adumim is gone. It's as if G'd said, "Oh, is that in your way? No problem. Here, let Me get rid of that pesky boulder for you." And He did. With such elegance, with such ease, that it could only be G'd's handiwork.

There have been miracles in this process of getting to yes. Outright miracles. Jaw-dropping miracles. Out of respect for the privacy of others, I can't share everything that happened in a public blog, but I can recount this.

On the day I left Ariella in her new life in Israel, I stood on our mirpeset, facing Jerusalem, and prayed an inchoate, "Please Hashem. Please. Please." I wept quietly on the sherut from Ma'ale Adumim, all the way through picking up nine more passengers in various neighborhoods in Jerusalem and I didn't stop until Modi'in, 15 minutes before reaching the airport. Although I sat all the way in the dark back corner and tried to be discreet, the sherut driver twice tried to comfort me in Hebrew, "Yihyeh b'seder, Giveret. It will be okay."

Despite the fact that this was the most difficult parting to date, I eventually dried my tears and made my way back to Baltimore. Once back at the house, I started to unpack. I was alone in the house when something I can't quite define sent me into my daughter's room. The room that she left behind when she made aliyah. The room that held an essence of her, a memory of her, but will no longer ever be hers.

I sat on the bed and I had a meltdown. I don't know how else to define it. The grief that I held quietly on the sherut surfaced in that empty house and I yowled and keened, a wailing lament, as if for the dead.

In my head, I reminded myself that my situation was far from grievous. No one I love had died. No one I love was even sick. I was not Gilad Shalit's mother. My children were healthy and well and I knew where they were.

But I simply could not stop crying.

Years ago, my husband made me promise that when I couldn't take it anymore, I had to let him know.  He recognized, before I did, that we were now at that point.

And suddenly, in the exact place where there had been three absolutely impenetrable obstacles, there were five really potent reasons why we should make aliyah.  Why we must go soon.

My husband agreed. The words came out of his mouth, but I knew it was Hashem talking. And just like that, the agony over being displaced was over.

To me, it was no less a miracle than the splitting of the Red Sea. Whether I finally cried enough, or accumulated enough merit or, more likely, the combined strength of the prayers of others reached its fulfillment, something shifted in the universe and Hashem said yes.

But then it was Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and, in a rabbinic household, there was no time to talk about or act on what we had just agreed to.

We told our families that, with G'd's help, we will be coming Home in Tammuz 5770. Some of these conversations were very painful and full of tears of another kind. But, in the end, we were blessed, even by family members who wish we weren't going.

With the chagim coming soon, it was a priority to tell our family members. Beyond that, we only had enough time to tell a few close friends. So many people clearly demonstrated that they appreciated how precious this news was. Some sang in response. Some shouted praises to Hashem. Some cried with joy for us. That was monumentally affecting, that our news brought others to tears.

A particularly memorable reaction came from someone I have known for 20 years, an old friend who plans to remain in America. "Of course," he said, "I will miss being in your physical presence. But it has been so hard for me to watch you in pain, to watch you feeling profoundly displaced all these years. I am so happy for you."

To have friends who love us and who truly, selflessly, wish us joy in this decision is a blessing beyond measure.

Hodu lashem, ki tov. Ki l'olam chasdo. Give thanks to Hashem, because He is Good. His kindness lasts forever.


23 comments:

Gilly said...

It may be appropriate for me to be writing the first comment. I'm having a few tears as I read this and will be at the airport to meet you (I'm guessing that there may be a few other Baltimoreans there too).

Looking forward to welcome you home.

Neil

rutimizrachi said...

This is my favorite post of the year. On ANYBODY'S blog. Thank you for letting us share in the culmination of your prayers and tears and dreams. You so typify for me what longing for the right things should look like. May you infect many, many Jews with this same heart-sickness.

Can't wait to meet your plane, dear friend.

Karen said...

Time to start designing the T-shirts. I hope NBN gives you your dates with some reasonable amount of advance notice because I can't buy MY tickets for the summer till they do. This is one party I'm not going to miss. Can't wait.

Zev M Shandalov said...

Knowing the elation that WE felt and continue to feel, I want you to know how THRILLED we are to know that Hashem indeed said yes to you! We will greet you here next time as an OLAH and will do so with all the joy we can muster!!!
mazal and bracha!!!!!
Zev and Andy (your soon-to-be new neighbors

Yocheved said...

Hodu l'HaShem!!!!! Please let me know your local contact information, new neighbor-to-be!


Yocheved Golani http://www.linkedin.com/in/yochevedgolaniink
http://twitter.com/yochevedgolani
www.yochevedgolani.com and
http://itsmycrisisandillcryifineedto.blogspot.com/

David said...

I would simply like to say that my immediate response of "cool" to your phone call did not make your blog. Disappointing.

Anonymous said...

I am so, so happy for you. Thank you for sharing you feelings with us, and for the chizuk in Hashem's hashgacha pratit.

Sharona

Tikva said...

MAZAL TOV!!!!
I hope you get here soon!

Baila said...

I'm fairly new to your blog, but I'm all choked up reading it. B'Shaah Tova. I'm so very glad your dream is coming true.

Chayka said...

Rivkah-la
Mazel Tov - May you and your beautiful family only experience happiness as you continue on your incredible journey through this life. I thank you for your friendship and love - as brief as our time together has been, you and your husband have given me such gifts of hope and strength and love ... and I thank you. I will miss seeing your beautiful smile and getting your amazingly warm and loving hugs but I know this is the dream you have been longing for. Be safe and stay healthy. Sending you love and hugs to last a lifetime. Your friend, Chayka:o)"I don't eat no matter what!"

Go'el Jasper said...

WWWWHHHHAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

My dearest dearest Rivkah. When Herschel told us we had to tie ourselves down from the joy of it. This post is a tour de force, and I sent the link to Rav Brody. If G-d forbid Mashiach hasn't come before then, you and I have a wednesday night date to go to Rav Brody's classes in Jerusalem on Wednesday nights. Feel the love! Hashem is AWESOME and so are you guys. Love to Rav Elan. I'm happy for him too. ;)

Amy W. said...

Bhatzlacha

Hillel said...

All the Zeitlins on both sides of the world join in your joy and in wishing you hatzlacha. May Hashem bless you in your aliyah and reward you for your great work in Baltimore.

Hillel Zeitlin

Barbara R. said...

I am so happy for you!! And happy that we will be in the same time zone and able to see each other more often.

AZ said...

Hmm. This brings to mind the end of the movie, "The Wizard of Oz:"

Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.

Dorothy: I have?

Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?

Glinda: Because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

Tin Man: What have you learned, Dorothy?

Dorothy: Well, I - I think that it - that it wasn't enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em. And that it's that - if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard,
because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with. Is that right?

Glinda: That's all it is!

So, what have YOU learned, Doro, er, Rivka?

Indeed, it sounds to me that circumstances haven't changed so much but that you have finally decided to do something about it. Mazel tov! Chazak V'amatz!

AZ

Edda said...

Rivkah,

I am soo happy for you! I do understand exactly what you meant in your blog; as you know it was the same with us! Sometimes he moves mountains that we never expected!

Now there will be one less reason for people to stay in Baltimore!

Edda

Tamar said...

When you come in December, I'll take you anywhere. Anywhere. Because it is only a zchut and honor for me to show people as blessed, as inspiring, as powerful as you the treasures of E"Y, and together we'll revel in Am Yisrael b'Eretz Yisrael.

sandra said...

Hi Rivka and Rav Elon, Mazel Tov!!! This is one NBN arrival I refuse to miss. Love you! Thanks for all that you do for the Jewish people. May Hashem bless you always!!

Lady-Light said...

Just found out about you from the blog Artzeinu; much hatzlacha in your long-awaited Aliyah. Please pray for us too, to return (bimhera be-yameinu, Amen.)

Aidel said...

BS'D

I should have told you long ago how much your blog has helped me by knowing that there was someone else, besides myself, with such a yearning to move to and live in Eretz Yisroel. It's been a huge comfort knowing that I have not been alone in my feelings of loving Eretz Yisroel and of the pain of having to wait to move and to live there. Hashem has granted me many, many, wonderful trips there (and like you, each time leaving has been so painful). I too have been waiting years to move there. You'll never know how much your blog helped me - you were expressing the feelings of my own neshama. IYH, my husband and I plan to make aliyah in Summer, 2011 (1 1/2 years from now, which, B'H, is much closer than ever before!) I wish you and your family all the revealed brachot (and only revealed brachot) as you fill your neshama with the goodness of Hashem's gift, Eretz Yisrael. Mazel tov!

rutimizrachi said...

Aaaaaannnd, I STILL love this post, even a almost two years later. (Of course, the only sad point is that the Gilad Shalit reference is still valid. May we share good news soon.)

Happy you're Home! And proud that you can say that you have fulfilled your imagined request from Hashem: "Come soon and grow yet closer to Me." You have certainly climbed even higher since you arrived.

aliyah06 said...

Welcome Home!!