The Concept of Aliya Goes Back to the Parsha

The Concept of Aliya Goes Back to the Parsha


In Parshat Vayigash, we encounter the concept of Aliya- going up to the Land of Israel-twice. Aliya was also mentioned in the last pasuk of last week’s Parsha, Parshat Miketz.


At the end of Parshat Miketz (Breisheet 44:17), Yosef said to his brothers: “It would be degrading for me to do such a thing (make all of you slaves). The man (Binyamin) in whose hand the goblet was found, he shall be my slave, and the rest of you ‘alu lishalom’, ‘go up’ in peace to your father.”


At the beginning of Parshat Vayigash, Yehuda approaches Yosef and explains the story of why it is so important to let Binyamin go back to his father. In 44:33 Yehuda actually offers to stay in Egypt in place of Binyamin: “And now, let your servant remain as a slave to my master instead of the lad. Let the lad ‘go up’ with his brothers.”


Once Yosef admits that he is really their brother he says (45:9): “Hurry, ‘go up’ to my father and tell him: this is what your son, Yosef says, God has made me master of all Egypt. Come down to me, do not delay.”


Geographically, when a person is in Israel, they go down to Egypt and when they are in Egypt, they go up to Israel. Spiritually as well, when a person is in Israel, they are on a higher level then when they are in Egypt. This concept has been expanded beyond Egypt and no matter what country people are from, if they move to Israel we call it making Aliya- literally going up.


Living in Jerusalem, we have the opportunity to see people who made Aliya from almost every country in the world.


Visiting a Jerusalem nursing home is a true experience of Kibbutz Galuyot, ingathering of the exiles, where one can meet senior citizens who were born in Israel a hundred years ago, Olim who just arrived from France this past year as well as those that came from countries throughout the world every year in between. Taking time to hear their stories is fascinating. Even more fascinating is the fact that they all seem to get along- a lesson that we could all learn from them!