Thursday, March 23, 2006

Why Do More Women Make Aliyah?

Being heavily involved on the Aliyah scene I get asked this a lot. "So why do more single women make Aliyah than single men?" To be honest I usually answer: "Oh come on, that's not true - plenty of guys come. I'm sure it's really about 50-50." Finally I decided to follow through on a completely unscientific experiment. So I went online. After all, the answers to all of life's questions can be found at - where else? Particularly in the section where Aliyah announcements are posted. And so I went through all 341 posts and tallied all the singles that were listed there. I have to say I was pretty shocked at the results. Women outnumbered men by well over 2 - 1. (Actually 140 - 59.)

Now of course this could just mean women like posting on more than the guys do. But still, to outnumber the men by that much? It really does seem to indicate that it's not just a myth as I thought it was - more gals really are making Aliyah. Which brings us back to the topic of this post: Why?

I have heard lots of answers offered. But I just read something interesting on this week's parsha that I would like to share. It is from Rav Frand. He discuses how the base of the Kiyyor was made with copper mirrors donated by the Jewish women.

Rash"i explains why these mirrors were so precious to G-d. When the Jews were enslaved in Egypt, the men gave up hope. They did not want to live with their wives. They did not want to have children. The thought of fathering children who would be born into and live and die in slavery was overwhelmingly depressing. As the Medrash in Shir HaShirim describes, the women went out into the fields and beautified themselves in front of their mirrors and convinced and persuaded their husbands to live with them and to have children. Those mirrors represented Klal Yisroel. Had it not been for those mirrors and that makeup and the beautification efforts of those women, there would not have been a Jewish nation. Consequently, G-d insisted that those precious mirrors did in fact belong in the Mishkan.

We see that those women exhibited the attribute of faith in redemption. When all seemed bleak and full of despair, when no future seemed to exist, when there appeared to be no purpose in having children, the women retained a hope in the future. The women kept the dream of rebirth alive. When the men were feeling down and were ready to give up, it was the women who insisted "We must go on."

Making Aliyah can be tough and it is so easy to just throw in the towel and say "why bother?" But it is the women that are full of hope. They are the ones with faith in redemption. They are the ones keeping the dream alive for all of us. Despite difficulties in Israel today it is the women who insist "We must go on."

Guys out there - follow their shining example and come on Home already!


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