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Why Is It So Hard to Immigrate?

Why Is It So Hard to Immigrate?

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Question:

The immigration experience has been much harder than expected. I am here for a year already, and not at all acclimated. Don't get me wrong, I have been welcomed with open arms into this community, and people have been great to me. But I miss home, still don't really feel I fit in and don't get the mentality. I am still very much a foreigner. Jews have moved around a lot in history, so is there a Jewish approach to adjusting to new country?

Answer:

Your difficulty is not uncommon. In fact every soul goes through a similar process on its journey to higher worlds.

Death is the ultimate immigration experience. The soul leaves this world and moves into the spiritual realm. This is most unsettling. Having become accustomed to life in a body on earth, the soul is at first disoriented and lost in its new supernal domain.

In order to adjust to this new reality, the soul has to be helped to forget physical life, to actively rid itself of the sights and sounds, the flavors and the attitudes of life in a body. As long as the soul still holds on to worldly memories it cannot appreciate this new, more refined world.

Of course, the soul can hold on to memories of the loved ones it left behind, because those connections are not merely physical. But tactile sensations and bodily pleasures must be forgotten in order to develop a taste for the higher pleasures up there.

This is astounding. It means you can be in heaven and not enjoy yourself, because you are thinking of the life you left behind. You'd expect that physical pleasures would pale in comparison to heavenly life. But no. The memory of familiar comforts will blind you to the opportunities that are still unfamiliar. No matter how sublime the delights of paradise may be, if you are still in earth mode, you will not appreciate them. You must shed your worldly outlook before you can adopt an other-worldly one.

The same applies to immigration. As long as your head is back in the old country, you will never settle in the new. You may be right—the water tasted better, the traffic wasn't as bad, the bureaucracy and the mentality and the accent and the price of fish are all better back home. Maybe. But you will only make your new country home if you stop comparing it and start living in it.

Being away from family and friends will always be tough. But you need to consciously make a shift—an immigration of the mind—by saying, "Now I'm here, and that's that." Then give it some time. Even heaven takes getting used to.


Source:
Zohar II 211b
Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Discussion (3)
December 21, 2016
Message to Mesba
It looks like its time for you to come on Alyiah!
David Chester
Petach Tikva, Israel
December 2, 2016
In all honesty , I don't know why my parents decide to immigrated to America
Noone in America does not like me anymore even though I do showcase honourly behaviour for myself and my family , we had betrayed by others , Americans in this land only speaks English which itself bother me the most , I like to assimilated into Israeli culture because America had been rotten after since their invention of social media have affected average American's social skills
I do trust the Jewish people the most for their hardworking and their honesty to America but today's Americans have betrayed the culture of the foundering fathers whom had beset for America
If you do not believe me , then go to America yourselves to see the life of the average Americans even though their lives are corrupted by the American freedom ,
Feel to contact me , my name is masba
Masba
New york
November 16, 2016
It is hard to immigrate because one inevitably leaves somebody who one loves behind. Since my alyiah from the UK there were probably no more than a dozen times that I saw my parents. I cannot speak for the soul, but as far as remember there is an angel of forgetfulness whose role is to cause the newly arrived souls to cease remembering their past experiences (even though he sometimes forgets!) Surely this is for a good purpose. This is one of the differences between mind and soul.
David Chester
Petach Tikva, Israel