Why Live In E”Y?

As global events get crazier and scarier, many in the Moshiach blogosphere are issuing dire warnings to the Jews who live in America. Some are expressly or impliedly stating that being in E”Y during the End of Days will be physically safer than America.

The truth is, nobody really knows where they should be to physically safe and survive.  It is almost perfectly clear from sources that at least some remnant of Jews living outside E”Y will survive the End of Days. It is also clear that, unless we do sufficient tshuva, Jews living in E”Y also face physical suffering (G-d forbid).

In my opinion, the only real choice a person has is the place where one will die – outside the land, or in the land. And Chazal is very clear that it is far preferable to die in E”Y than outside of it.

Be Honest About It

In terms of right or wrong – if it IS a mitzvah to dwell in the land, then it is the “right” thing to do, or, at a minimum, to strive and long to do.

It is hard for me to understand those who claim it is not a mitzvah to live in E”Y. The great mystic, the Ramban, lists it as one of the 613 mitzvot. The great rationalist, the Rambam, does not list is is as one of the 613 mitzvot but states clearly that a person should live in E”Y, even in a city where they majority of people are gentile. And he forbids leaving E”Y except in a few limited circumstances.

In my opinion, those who claim it is not a mitzvah to live in E”Y are rationalizing – so many people I talk to love to hold by the Ramban when it comes to being mystical and kabbalistic, but scream “Rambam, Rambam” as a “proof” that living E”Y is not a mitzvah. Let’s be honest people!

That said, if a person feels that moving to E”Y is unfeasible because of their personal situation, they should always strive to get there, as if they don’t have a pair of tefillin to wear and strive and long for a set, or a person doesn’t have an esrog for Succot but they strive and yearn for one.

Primary Urgency – To Live In The King’s Palace

And importantly, even if it is arguably unclear whether Yishuv E”Y is a mitzvah, Chazal is very clear that E”Y is the place for a Jew to get as close to G-d as possible. To claim otherwise flies in the face of myriad statements of Chazal.

In my view, the primary urgency should be the urgency to strive to get as close to HaShem as possible and thus, live in the King’s Palace, E”Y. This primary urgency is the main reason why a person should want to live in E”Y.

If a secondary urgency is the feeling that E”Y might be physically safer during the End of Days, then this doubled urgency can help push a person over the obstacles and make aliyah. But nobody is doing anything wrong for not feeling this secondary urgency (although its hard for me to understand how a thinking person cannot feel it).

But if a person does not feel the primary urgency, then, frankly, examination of one’s hashkofah through independent analysis of relevant sources in Chazal and the early Rishonim is in order.

“If I forget thee, Yerushalyim . . . “

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13 Responses to Why Live In E”Y?

  1. moriah says:

    I’m so relieved you decided to expound on this idea. I am truly pained by the remarks of some, I’m sure well meaning persons who speak the worst about making aliyah.

  2. Yoni says:

    Wow you are so very wrong. To keep praying until G-d sends you an eagle to cometo our holy Medinat Israel, is not only mistake but extremely childish. Eagles are otherwise known as airplanes. Unfortunatly contrary to the way naive people think R Eliyashuv is not going to be the Prime Minister of Israel. Hashem chose Herzel and Ben Gurion and others that appear to you as ‘reshayim’ to start the redemption. unfortunately the great rabbis of that time didn’t want to be the ones to carry out the holy task so Hashem had to use Hertzel. To sit in Boston waiting for a personal invitation is very sad. Hashem has made Nefesh B’Nefesh. It’s the Jews of America that love nice cars, big houses, money, goyim and on top of all themselves are the root cause for the prevention of the Geulah Shleima

    • jewishendofdays says:

      Don’t understand. Who said anything waiting of a supernatural invitation to move to E”Y? Please explain.

    • Avigdor says:

      Yoni,

      I understand you perspective and attitude, the problem is in the Galut

      1: The parents assimilate either to blend in and survive or just because they have lost their way.
      2: The children follow their parents example and do the same.
      3: At some point either the Parents or children do Tshuvah and the other thinks they are nuts or antiquated …because they have lost their way.
      4: Some responsibilities are iron clad…such as elderly relatives that rely on you!

      It is not a matter of waiting or choosing, it is a natural thing to do Tshuvah and then when you understand to want to make Aliyah. It is a progression that involves almost undoing your existing life. It can be very difficult. Many think that if this is a decision you can’t make easily your faith is not strong enough..I agree with that, but I believe the further you travel on Tshuvah’s path…the easier the decision is and again it is just a natural progression.

      I am in category three and hope that as my family accepts my convictions they will join me. Otherwise I continue to struggle with Ivrit and prepare a little at a time!

      Avi

  3. yochi says:

    “And he forbids leaving E”Y except in a few limited circumstances.”

    Many people, including frum Jews, leave Israel for vacation, fundraising, learning in a chutz yeshiva, spend chagim, etc. Are any of these allowed?

    • jewishendofdays says:

      Good question.

      In Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings and Wars 5:9, the Rambam states (my best translation):

      “It is forbidden to travel outside the land except to learn Torah, marry a wife, or to save oneself from the gentiles, and return to the land. So too, it is permitted to leave for business. But to live outside the land is forbidden, unless there is a famine where the cost of wheat increases 100%.

      When are these words applicable? When a person has money and food is expensive. But if fruits are cheap and one does not have money to purchase them because there is no money in one’s purse, a person can leave to whichever place they are able to find profit. But even though it is permissible to live outside of the land in this case, it is not a “middot chassidut” to do so.”

      Essentially, is appears that according to the Rambam the only justification to “settle” outside the land is lack of parnassah, although the Rambam does not consider it a middot chassidut.

      All other exceptions are “temporary” and mandate a return to land after the existence of the justifying exception has expired (e.g. a person finds a wife, learns what they need to learn, the gentile threat in the land disappears, famine conditions cease).

      So, apply this rule as you might.

  4. naftules says:

    Well put!!! Nailed it on the head. If you cant move you better yearn for it!! If you can … make it a reality.

  5. Neshama says:

    I wonder. If one has not money to buy food and needs to go elsewhere to obtain a little parnassah, where does he get the funds to move? We all know it is not easy to get up and move. It takes planning and much time to accomplish the process.

    B”H we did extricate ourselves from the Goldene Medina ( I was ever so ready, but had to wait for the hubby) and now my husband after 7 months is really benefiting in the area of “learning”. He came to this realization on his own and B”H I am no longer worried. He even experienced the effects of “even the air of Eretz Yisrael makes one wise”.

    So, to encourage others, there is no place on earth, in the universe, better than Eretz HaKodesh!

  6. Akiva says:

    A lot of the crazy/scary stuff that is mentioned for the ‘aharit yamim’ will affect both E”Y and HU”L. The gemara in helek (san) does not state that EY will be spared or that only HUl will suffer. Some of the events mentioned (eg worldwide inflation and famine) will be, well, worldwide.

    In terms of a need for doing tshuvah (returning to living in reality with the Creator), it may be even more urgent for bne EY, since in EY it can be easier to lose sight of the fact that am yisrael is in galut and hurban! Being (unfortunately) in literaly golut is a constant reminder of the ongoing hilul Hashem. How many in Ylem go see har habayit lifrakim and tear keria?

  7. Dave says:

    Thanks for posting this. Important article!

  8. Yochi says:

    “It is forbidden to travel outside the land except to learn Torah, marry a wife, or to save oneself from the gentiles, and return to the land. ”

    Does leaving EY to save oneself from Palestinians (gentile threats!) ok then? Thank you.

  9. Dave says:

    Yochi wrote: “It is forbidden to travel outside the land except to learn Torah, marry a wife, or to save oneself from the gentiles, and return to the land. ”

    I think that the 3rd element is not “to save oneself” but, to make a living, a parnassa..

  10. Erica says:

    Could not agree more. Left alot of family/friends behind when I made aliyah and I am pained by how ‘asleep’ they seem to be. I worry for their safety and wonder how they cannot see what is so clear. I feel lucky in the way certain things unfolded that aided my aliyah, but as you said, every Jew should strive for it no matter what obstacles they’re facing. America and the rest of the world is a sinking ship and many people just refuse to get off.

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