• Tzippora Felsenthal

Pleasure and Yom Haatzmaut


"I tell my instructor however, his reason for wanting to leave is the same reason for why I choose to stay"

Earlier this week, I had a driving lesson with my usual instructor who tends to carry out lively conversations with me. This past time was no exception. He stated quite emphatically, “it’s time to leave Israel.” He explained to me that he only has one life, and he wants it to be one of pleasure. To him, pleasure means comfortable living and he sees that happening only outside of Israel. Why live in a place with a constant fear of terrorism? Why have his kids trained as soldiers for war at the age of 18?


Ironically, his reason for wanting to leave is the same reason for why I choose to stay. We’re both seeking pleasure. For him, pleasure means comfort. For me, however, it means meaning.


He couldn’t have brought up the discussion at a more opportune week. Today is the miraculous Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day and we are grateful for so many things. Since the establishment of the state, there is no limit on immigration for Jews; we are one nation here, a community of many different stripes and colors; over 2000 years of history and we’re able to tap into our glorious past; Jews can feel more spiritually connected praying at our holy sites while reaching the holiness that is within themselves.


These are only some of the reasons to why I celebrate today. I spend the day with my friends and family and thank G-d for the gifts and opportunities I had been given. My instructor explained to me that since he only has one life, and he wants it to be one of pleasure, the solution to his problem is to leave Israel. For teen olim as well, we see that not everything is so comfortable all of the time. Between learning a new language and integrating into a new culture, it can be much more comfortable “leaving Israel". I tell my instructor however, his reason for wanting to leave is the same reason for why I choose to stay.


Chag Sameach!

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