Aliyah -- Sacred and Profane Dimensions
Aliyah literally means ascent, in the sense that one ascends to a higher plane spiritually--so one has an aliyah to the bima to read from the Torah; one makes an aliyah to Jerusalem from the Sharon plain; and one makes aliyah to Israel, elevating one's life to a (hopefully) more spiritual level in Israel than in the Diaspora.
It's not automatic--it will take some work to make this ascent, both physically and spiritually.
But I feel the winds of change already. We have an aliyah date; we have a packing date; I have a date on which I will leave work. The latter was really a turning point.
Even if one does not define one's self by the work one does, decades in the same field and a certain level of expertise, a certain level of adrenaline addiction, a certain slinging of code words used in the field, a certain way of carrying one's confidence, like armor, in court and outside of it, leave their marks. I found, when I selected a quitting date, the coils of those habits of being began to loose themselves from my soul. I felt a sense of gladness, a sense of looking forward to the future, and yes, a sense of relief that I am about to be released from the Wheel of Labor -- in its mandatory form, anyway. I am free now to choose to study, to choose to volunteer, to choose to work.
I feel I am free finally to seek something besides just the daily bread.
My realtor put it best: "It's time for you to detox," she said, laughing nonetheless at our funny/bittersweet memories of our Law & Order days. Crime and punishment will always be with us. The tides of justice will continue to roll regardless of whether I am there or not. I have made my contribution to that form of tikkun olam--now it is time for repair of the soul, and for attention to my son's complex needs and to return my husband's steadfastness and care for a change.
The challenge will be ordering my life in such a way to do all of these things without losing myself in all this free time I've never had before. There has never been time to study--time in the last 26 years has been devoted to career, to children's needs, but rarely did my husband and I have the luxury of studying Torah. Aliyah isn't ONLY for us -- it is for my son's future; I do it because I believe I have something to contribute to Israel; I do it because my husband could not wait to return home to the Land he loves; I do it because a still small voice within me tells me this is where I am supposed to be.
I'm not sure I can wait until the NBN flights. Even July 5th seems too far away. I can handle a three week separation from my husband in order for my son to finish school and for us to vacate the house. I don't think I want to live out of a suitcase for 3 additional weeks, even assuming we get on the first flight. I wonder if we can't just get an earlier, non-NBN flight? I'd miss the Kurtzers, and I'd miss Emma S and others who will be on that flight, but I've waited so long for this, we tried for so many years to make this happen---I think I want to go sooner than later.