“Then Hashem your God will restore your fortunes and take you back in love. He will bring you together again from all the peoples where Hashem your God has scattered you” DEUTERONOMY 30:3 (The Israel Bible™)
In his book Meshech Chochma, Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk (1843-1926) clarifies that this verse, foretelling the ingathering of the exiles, refers to two distinct groups of people. “God will restore your fortunes” alludes to the Jews who yearn to return to the Land of Israel. This group will be brought to Eretz Yisrael first. Subsequently, “He will bring you together again,” and even those Jews who have become comfortable on foreign soil and lost their connection with Israel will be brought back. We are privileged to witness the first part of the verse being fulfilled, as thousands of Jews choose to make aliyah each year. In 2015, more than 31,000 Jewish immigrants left their homes worldwide and moved to the Land of Israel. Why do so many Jews choose to make Eretz Yisrael their home? According to Natan Sharansky (b. 1948), former Soviet “refusenik,” Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel from 2009-2018, “The high number of immigrants, particularly from western countries, attests to the drawing power of the Zionist idea. The fact that immigrants choose to come to Israel is a sign that Israel invests their lives with meaning that they cannot find elsewhere.” Sharansky is a modern Jewish hero, who yearned to return to the Land of Israel even when it cost him his personal freedom. His release from prison occured on the Hebrew date of the 2nd of Adar, 5746 – 39 years ago from today’s Hebrew date, the 2nd of Adar, 5779. Sharansky continues to inspire the Jewish world until today.