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Yom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day) (Hebrew: יום העלייה‎) is an Israeli national holiday celebrated annually according to the Jewish calendar on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan and also observed in schools on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, to commemorate the Jewish people entering the Land of Israel as written in the Bible, which happened on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan (Hebrew: י' ניסן‎).[1] The holiday was also established to acknowledge Aliyah, immigration to the Jewish state, as a core value of the State of Israel, and honor the ongoing contributions of Olim (Jewish immigrants) to Israeli society.[2]

Yom HaAliyah
יום העלייה
Joshua Leading the Israelites Across the Jordan on 10th of Nisan.jpg
Joshua Leading the Israelites Across the Jordan on the 10th of Nisan
Official nameYom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day) Hebrew: יום העלייה
Observed byState of Israel
SignificanceCelebrating Aliyah as a core value of the Jewish People and honoring the ongoing contributions of Olim to Israeli society. On the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan according to the Bible, Joshua led the Israelites carrying the Ark of the Covenant across the Jordan River at Gilgal into the Promised Land.
BeginsNisan 10 (Hebrew calendar) & Observed in schools Cheshvan 7 (Hebrew calendar)
Date10 Nisan national holiday & observed in schools 7 Cheshvan
2018 dateSunset, 25 March –
nightfall, 26 March (hist.)
Sunset, 15 October –
nightfall, 16 October (obs.)
2019 dateSunset, 14 April –
nightfall, 15 April (hist.)
Sunset, 4 November –
nightfall, 5 November (obs.)
2020 dateSunset, 3 April –
nightfall, 4 April (hist.)
Sunset, 24 October –
nightfall, 25 October (obs.)
2021 dateSunset, 22 March –
nightfall, 23 March (hist.)
Sunset, 12 October –
nightfall, 13 October (obs.)
FrequencyAnnual

The opening clause of the Yom HaAliyah Law states in Hebrew: "מטרתו של חוק זה לקבוע יום ציון שנתי להכרה בחשיבותה של העלייה לארץ ישראל כבסיס לקיומה של מדינת ישראל, להתפתחותה ולעיצובה כחברה רב־תרבותית, ולציון מועד הכניסה לארץ ישראל שאירע ביום י׳ בניסן. "‎)[3] Translation: "The purpose of this law is to set an annual holiday to recognize the importance of Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel as the basis for the existence of the State of Israel, its development and design as a multicultural society, and to mark the date of entry into the Land of Israel that happened on the tenth of Nisan."

HistoryEdit

 
Joshua Leading the Israelites Across the Jordan River into the Land of Israel on the 10th of Nisan, Benjamin West

Yom HaAliyah, as a modern holiday celebration, began in 2012 as a grassroots community initiative and young Olim self-initiated movement in Tel Aviv, spearheaded by the TLV Internationals organization of the Am Yisrael Foundation.[4] On June 21, 2016 the Twentieth Knesset voted in favor of codifying the grassroots initiative into law by officially adding Yom HaAliyah to the Israeli national calendar.[5] The Yom HaAliyah bill[6] was co-sponsored by Knesset members from different parties in a rare instance of cooperation across the political spectrum of the opposition and coalition.[7] The key Knesset parliamentarians who initially worked on the Yom HaAliyah bill were Miki Zohar of Likud, Hilik Bar of Israeli Labor Party, and Michael Oren of Kulanu.[8]

SignificanceEdit

The original day chosen for Yom HaAliyah, the tenth of Nisan, is laden with symbolism. Although a modern holiday created by the Knesset of Israel, the tenth of Nisan is a date of Jewish religious significance for the Jewish People as referred to in the Bible and in traditional Jewish thought.[9]

BiblicalEdit

 
5th Century mosaic depicting the Ark of the Covenant carried by the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Land of Israel on the 10th of Nisan led by Joshua
 
The Gates of Paradise Joshua Panel from 1452 by Italian Renaissance sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti

On that day, according to the biblical narrative in the Book of Joshua, Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan River at Gilgal into the Promised Land while carrying the Ark of the Covenant. It was thus the first documented "mass Aliyah." On that day, God commanded the Israelites to commemorate and celebrate the occasion by erecting twelve stones with the text of the Torah engraved upon them. The stones represented the entirety of the Jewish nation's twelve tribes and their gratitude for God's gift of the Land of Israel (Hebrew: אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, Modern: Eretz Yisrael, Tiberian: ʼÉreṣ Yiśrāʼēl) to them. [10] That date is also significant as it was the first Shabbat HaGadol that took place five days before the Israelites left Egypt beginning The Exodus. This is also the date that Moses's sister Miriam died and according to the Biblical narrative her well that miraculously traveled with the Israelites through the desert dried up (Numbers 20:1–2).[11][12]

The tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which is the first month according to the ordering of the Hebrew calendar, is referenced in association with Aliyah multiple times in the Biblical text.

And Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Observe all of the commandment that I command you this day. And it will be, on the day that you cross the Jordan to the Land the Lord, your God, is giving you, that you shall set up for yourself huge stones, and plaster them with lime. When you cross, you shall write upon them all the words of this Torah, in order that you may come to the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, God of your forefathers, has spoken to you.

— Deuteronomy 27:1–3[13]

"And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and they moved from Shittim and came to the Jordan, he and all the People of Israel; and they lodged before they crossed over. And it was at the end of three days, that the officers went through the midst of the camp. And they commanded the people, saying: When you see the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then you shall move from your place and go after it. But there shall be a distance between you and it, just two thousand cubits by measure; do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you will go; for you have not passed this way before. And Joshua said to the people; Prepare yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. And Joshua said to the priests, saying: Carry the Ark of the Covenant, and pass before the people. And they carried the Ark of the Covenant, and went before the people. And the Lord said to Joshua: This day I will begin to make you great in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that as I was with Moses, so will I be with you. And you shall command the priests that bear the Ark of the Covenant, saying, When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan. And Joshua said to the Children of Israel, Come here, and hear the words of the Lord your God. And Joshua said, By this you shall know that the living God is in your midst, and He will certainly drive out the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites from before you. Behold, the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing ahead of you in the Jordan. And now take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, a man for every tribe. And it shall be, when the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the Ark of the Lord, Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from above, shall stand in one heap. And it was, when the people moved from their tents, to cross the Jordan, and the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant were before the people. And when the bearers of the Ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bore the Ark were dipped in the edge of the water, and the Jordan overflows all its banks all the time of harvest. And the waters which came down from above stood and rose up in one column, very far from Adam, the city which is beside Zarethan; and those that descended to the sea of the plain, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off, and the people passed over opposite Jericho. And the priests that bore the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord stood firm arranged on the dry land in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel passed over on dry ground, until the whole nation had completely passed over the Jordan." (Joshua 3:1-17) [14]

"And it was when all the nation had completely passed over the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, Take to yourselves twelve men from the people, a man from every tribe. And command them saying, Take to yourselves from here out of the midst of the Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and you shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where you shall lodge this night. And Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the Children of Israel, a man from every tribe. And Joshua said to them, Pass before the Ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and lift up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Children of Israel. That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask in time to come, saying, What are these stones for you? Then you shall say to them, That the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord; when it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off; and these stones shall be for a memorial to the Children of Israel forever. And the Children of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, as the Lord had spoken to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the Children of Israel, and carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the Ark of the Covenant stood; and they have been there to this day. And the priests that bore the Ark stood in the midst of the Jordan, until everything was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua; and the people hastened and passed over. And it was, when all the people had completely passed over, that the Ark of the Lord passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people. And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the Children of Israel, as Moses had spoken to them. About forty thousand armed for war passed over before the Lord to battle, to the plains of Jericho. On that day the Lord made Joshua great in the sight of all Israel, and they feared him, as they had feared Moses, all the days of his life. And the Lord said to Joshua, saying, Command the priests that bear the Ark of the testimony, that they come up out of the Jordan. And Joshua commanded the priests, saying, Come up out of the Jordan. And it was, when the priests that bore the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord came up out of the midst of the Jordan, that as soon as the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up to the dry land, the waters of Jordan returned to their place, and flowed over all its banks, as before. And the people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. And these twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. And he spoke to the Children of Israel, saying, When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What are these stones? Then, you shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan from before you, until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up from before us, until we passed over. That all the people of the earth might know the power of the Lord, that it is mighty; that you might fear the Lord your God forever." (Joshua 4:1-24)" [15]

 
The Israelites led by Joshua passing over the Jordan River into the Land of Israel on the 10th of Nisan while carrying the Ark of the Covenant, Frans Francken the Younger

Jewish PeopleEdit

 
The Jewish People's Passage Across the Jordan - Karel van Mander - Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Entering the Land of Israel en masse has been significant for the Jewish People both historically and in modern times. Besides the individual religious implication of those Torah laws that can only be followed in Israel as opposed to when Jews are living around the world, there are traditional precepts that uniquely effect the Jewish People as an entire nation after having made Aliyah.[16]

For you are crossing the Jordan, to come to possess the Land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, and you shall possess it and dwell in it. And you shall keep to perform all the statutes and ordinances that I am setting before you today.

— Deuteronomy 11:31–32[17]

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Land of Israel for the first time on the 10th of Nisan, according to traditional Jewish teachings they took upon themselves a special dimension to the concept of "arevut" or "mutual responsibility". [18] Arevut is known also by the Talmudic Hebrew/Aramaic maxim mentioned in Shevuot 39a, "Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh baZeh", "כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה" or "All Jews are Responsible for One Another". [19] The Maharal of Prague comments on the Talmudic statement that the Israelites were not responsible for one another until after they had crossed the Jordan. [20] Arevut implies an obligation on all Jews to ensure that other Jews have their spiritual and basic needs taken care of. Simply by virtue of being a Jew living in the Land of Israel, one has an elevated responsibility for the well-being of other Jews.[21] Jews are expected to be a “light unto the nations”, presenting a model of morality and brotherly responsibility. Specifically in terms of "Kol Yisrael", the hope is that other nations around the globe will also see how Jews help each other when living in Israel and will try to do the same for their own people. [22]

State of IsraelEdit

 
Marc Chagall - Les Israélites Passent le Jourdain

Aliyah (US: /ˌæliˈɑː/, UK: /ˌɑː-/; Hebrew: עֲלִיָּה, "ascent") is the immigration of Jews from the diaspora to the Land of Israel. Also defined as "the act of going up", "making Aliyah" by moving to the Land of Israel is one of the most basic tenets of Judaism and therefore Zionism.[23] The State of Israel's Law of Return gives Jews and their descendants automatic rights regarding residency and Israeli citizenship.

From the modern founding of the State of Israel, honoring Aliyah as a core value of the nation is evident even in the text of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. "After being forcibly exiled from their Land, the People kept faith with it throughout their dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom."

Jewish thoughtEdit

 
James Jacques Joseph Tissot - The Ark carried by the Israelites over the Jordan River into the Land of Israel on the 10th of Nisan - Google Art Project

Aliyah is an important Jewish religious concept and a fundamental component of Zionism. For much of Jewish history, the majority of the Jewish People have lived in the diaspora where Aliyah was developed as a national aspiration for the Jewish people. It is enshrined in Israel's Law of Return, which accords any Jew (deemed as such by halakha and/or Israeli secular law) the legal right to assisted immigration and settlement in Israel, as well as Israeli citizenship.

Someone who "makes Aliyah" is called an "Oleh" (m.; pl. "Olim") or "Olah" (f.; pl. "Olot"). Many religious Jews espouse Aliyah as a return to the Promised Land, and regard it as the fulfillment of God's biblical promise to the descendants of the Hebrew patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, also known as Nachmanides or the Ramban, includes making Aliyah in his enumeration of the 613 commandments.[24]

The Bible is laden with references to a future when the Jewish People would have a mass return to the Land of Israel. The Bible recounts that when God sent the Jews to exile from the Holy Land approximately 2,500 years ago, He made a promise about the future of Aliyah: “And it shall come to pass that on that day, the Lord shall continue to apply His hand a second time to acquire the rest of His people, that will remain from Assyria and from Egypt and from Pathros and from Cush and from Elam and from Sumeria and from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.” (Isaiah 11:11). God promised that one day, He would gather His children from the four corners of the earth, and bring them back home, to the Land of Israel: “And He shall raise a banner to the nations, and He shall gather the lost of Israel, and the scattered ones of Judah He shall gather from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12). "And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and they shall come to Zion with song, and with everlasting joy on their heads; gladness and joy shall overtake them; sorrow and sighing shall flee." (Isaiah 51:11). "Fear not for I am with you; from the east I will bring your seed, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, "Give," and to the south, "Do not refrain"; bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the end of the earth." (Isaiah 43:5-6) [25].

In the Talmud, at the end of tractate Ketubot, the Mishnah says: "A man may compel his entire household to go up with him to the Land of Israel, but may not compel one to leave." The discussion on this passage in the Mishnah emphasizes the importance of living in Israel: "One should always live in the Land of Israel, even in a town where the majority of inhabitants are idolaters, but let no one live outside the Land, even in a town most of whose inhabitants are Israelites; for whoever lives in the Land of Israel may be considered to have a God, but whoever lives outside the Land may be regarded as one who has no God."

Sifre says that the mitzvah (commandment) of living in Eretz Yisrael is as important as all the other mitzvot combined. There are many mitzvot such as shmita, the sabbatical year for farming, which can only be fulfilled in Israel.[26]

According to the traditional Jewish ordering of books of the Tanakh (Old Testament), the very last word of the last book in the original Hebrew (2 Chronicles 36:23) is veya‘al, a jussive verb form derived from the same root as "Aliyah", meaning "and let him go up" (to Jerusalem in the Land of Israel).[27]

As the tenth of Nisan occurs a few days before the Passover holiday, when Israeli schools are not in session, the school system will also honor Aliyah on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. That date is also symbolic as the Torah portion read in synagogues that week, Lekh Lekha, relates the story of how the biblical patriarch Abraham is ordered by God to leave his home, his birthplace, and his family and go up to the Land of Israel. This is also the day that the additional prayer for rain is added into the Amidah, and recited three times a day by Jews in Israel.[28]

ModernEdit

 
Am Yisrael Foundation logo representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel having made Aliyah to the Land of Israel en masse from the now emptied out four corners of the world, signified as the twelve stalks of wheat dreamt by Joseph

Jay M. Shultz, President of the Am Yisrael Foundation, the driving force behind the creation of Yom HaAliyah,[29] believes that the holiday will enable Jews "to connect the Biblical historical truth of Joshua crossing the Jordan to our modern practical reality... especially when Jews worldwide are celebrating Passover, and remembering the Exodus, they should take to heart that the final destination of leaving Egypt was entering the Land of Israel. The oft repeated phrase 'L'Shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim - Next Year in Jerusalem' should not be said in vain. There has never been an easier time in history for a Jew to live in Israel. It is time for every Jew to come Home." [30]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Government to pass new holiday: 'Aliyah Day'". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  2. ^ "Knesset Proposes Aliyah Holiday Bill". Israel National News. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  3. ^ "חוק יום העלייה – ויקיטקסט" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Yom HaAliyah: They made a day for us!". JNS.org. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  5. ^ "New national holiday in Israel". J-Wire. 2016-06-21. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  6. ^ "חוק יום העלייה – ויקיטקסט". he.wikisource.org. Retrieved 2016-11-08.
  7. ^ Klein, Steven (2016-06-24). "Rank and File: Aliyah Day Becomes Official Holiday". Haaretz. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  8. ^ "Israel approves holiday to celebrate contribution of immigrants". Jewish News. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  9. ^ http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-News/Bill-seeks-to-establish-national-Aliya-Day-345758
  10. ^ "Yehoshua - Joshua - Chapter 4". www.chabad.org. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  11. ^ Tervanotko, Hanna K. (2016). Denying Her Voice: The Figure of Miriam in Ancient Jewish Literature. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 257. ISBN 978-3647551050.
  12. ^ van den Bosch, Jan Williem (2016). "Chapter 13 The Well of Miriam and its Mythological Forbears". In Houtman, Alberdina; Kadari, Tamar; Poorthuis, Marcel; Tohar, Vered (eds.). Religious Stories in Transformation: Conflict, Revision and Reception. Brill. ISBN 978-9-00433481-6.
  13. ^ "Deuteronomy Chapter 27:1-3". Devarim.
  14. ^ "Yehoshua - Joshua - Chapter 3".
  15. ^ "Yehoshua - Joshua - Chapter 4".
  16. ^ http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/24504
  17. ^ "Deuteronomy Chapter 11:31-32". Devarim.
  18. ^ https://www.etzion.org.il/en/shiur-20arevutandtokhacha
  19. ^ https://www.etzion.org.il/en/mutual-responsibility-jewish-state
  20. ^ http://traditionarchive.org/news/originals/Volume%2012/No.%203/The%20Torah%20of%20Israel.pdf
  21. ^ https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/all-of-israel-are-responsible-for-one-another/
  22. ^ http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/200
  23. ^ ""Aliyah": The Word and Its Meaning". 2005-05-15. Archived from the original on 2009-12-19. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
  24. ^ Golinkin, David. "Is It A Mitzvah To Make Aliyah?". Responsa in a Moment. Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  25. ^ "Yeshayahu - Isaiah- Chapter 1".
  26. ^ Leff, Barry. "The Mitzvah of Aliyah". www.kefintl.com. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  27. ^ "ץראב םתושרתשהו א"רגה ידימלת". ץראב םתושרתשהו א"רגה ידימלת. Daat. 2008-08-02.
  28. ^ "Barech Aleinu". Halachipedia. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  29. ^ "Jay M. Shultz President of the Am Yisrael Foundation".
  30. ^ "Haaretz - Aliyah Day Becomes Official Holiday".