Avram and Sarai, the First Jews and the First Olim Chadashim (New Immigrants)

Parshat Lech Lecha begins with the words: “God said to Avram: ‘Lech Lecha…’Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

If the Torah does not waste any words, then why does the pasuk give so much detail: his land, his relatives and his father’s house. According to Ramban, God understood that it is difficult to leave the place that you are living in, your friends, your birthplace and your family. Therefore the pasuk emphasizes that Avram should leave everyone behind for the sake of doing God’s will.

Rabbi Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtza comments that the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel is the most important mitzvah since it was the first mitzvah commanded to a Jewish person.

Rashi expalains that God used the words “Lech Lecha” go for yourself to mean go for your own good, go for your enjoyment. Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlop adds that the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel is different from all of the other mitzvoth since we are supposed to fully enjoy and appreciate the Land of Israel, not just the spiritual aspect, but also the material aspect. The Torah states that Israel is better than any other land. We especially see this in the beauty of the country, the produce, Dead Sea mud and salt etc.

When Avram made aliya, he knew that he would be rising spiritually, but he didn’t even know for sure which land he would be going to.

Throughout the history of the State of Israel, olim have left friends and family behind and immigrated to Israel from all over the world. What all of these olim have in common is that they sacrificed a lot in order to settle the Land of Israel.

God never said that aliya would be easy. God said that aliya would be in our best interests.