web analytics
August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Is One Required To Live In Israel? (Megillah 17b)

It is universally accepted in halacha that the continued existence of the Jewish people is dependent upon the uninterrupted settlement of Jews in the Land of Israel.

However, the extent and structure of the Jewish settlement in Israel before the Final Redemption and the coming of the Messiah is the subject of an ongoing halachic debate.

Should just a few communities settle the Land of Israel? Should there be a mass emigration of all Jews worldwide to Israel? Should the Land of Israel be acquired by peaceful means, such as land purchases, or should it be conquered? Should the Jews in Israel organize themselves as a sovereign state or should they live in Israel under foreign rule?

The halachic opinions on these questions range across the board. There are those, to whom we shall refer as the “Yishuv School,” who would restrict settlement to individual communities living under whatever foreign sovereign power happens to reign in the Land of Israel at the relevant time.

There are others, to whom we shall refer as the “Kibutz Galuyot School,” who would require all Jews to return to Israel under a Jewish sovereign state. And there are yet others, to whom we shall refer as the “Territorial School,” who would, in addition, require the conquest of all of the Land of Israel that remains in non-Jewish hands. The fact that the holders of these diverse opinions live side by side in Israel is a tribute to the unifying power of the Land.

This article focuses on the Territorial School of thought.

Based on the opinion of the Ramban, the Territorial School believes that leaving any territory of the Land of Israel in the possession of non-Jews is a violation of a biblical mandate. “You shall take possession of the Land and dwell in it” means there is a biblical requirement to conquer the Land. According to the Ramban, a war waged to conquer the Land of Israel is in the category of milchemet mitzvah, an obligatory war, not milchemet reshut, an optional war. Accordingly, war must be waged not only in self-defense but must also be initiated to rescue the Land from non-Jewish hands.

The requirement to wage war applies today as much as it did in the days of Yehoshua. Spurning the commandment to conquer the Land is, in the eyes of the Ramban, rebellion against God. Indeed, Moshe criticizes the spies who shrank from waging war against the inhabitants of the Land: “Go up and possess the Land which I have given you; then you rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God and you neither believed him not nor hearkened to his voice.”

The establishment of the Jewish sovereign state and of the Israel Defense Forces is a biblical commandment because without them, there is no way to conquer the Land.

Conversely, no part of the Land within the boundaries delineated in Numbers 34 may be relinquished for any purpose whatsoever. “There is no doubt,” writes Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlap “that if circumstances require the heads of state to sign an international agreement that will include a statement relinquishing any of our rights to the Land of Israel, it is preferable that the signatories amputate their thumbs rather than amputate the heavenly garden of Zion.”

“If we have the capability to acquire all of the Land of Israel,” writes Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, then we do not have the permission to relinquish our claim to even one clod of earth and to hand it over to foreigners.”

Inherent in the commandment to wage war to conquer the Land is the commandment to sacrifice one’s life if necessary to achieve that purpose. The rule that survival, pikuach nefesh, takes precedence over all the commandments of the Torah (except for murder, idolatry and incest), does not apply to the commandment to wage war to liberate the Land because war, by definition, means sacrifice of life. Furthermore, when the practice of any commandment of the Torah is prohibited by a decree of a non-Jewish legislature, a Jew must risk his life rather than obey the decree. Accordingly, if other nations decree that Jews may not conquer the Land, it is incumbent upon each Jew to disobey such decree even at the pain of death.

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Is One Required To Live In Israel? (Megillah 17b)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Forest fire blazing in Judean Hills.
Officials Reconsider Sprouting Wildfires After Terror Victim Memorial Torched
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

By internalizing the Exodus, it is as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt.

Neihaus-073115

Each Shabbos we add the tefilla of “Ritzei” to Birchas HaMazon. In it we ask Hashem that on this day of Shabbos He should be pleased with us and save us. What exactly do we want to be saved from? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about this Friday, the 15th of Av. Many […]

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Amongst the greatest disagreements in Judaism is the understanding of the 1st of the 10 Commandments

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Day He Heard
‘One May Seek Revocation Of A Confimation’
(Nedarim 69a)

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land

Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Because the words of Torah gladden the heart, studying Torah is forbidden when Tisha B’Av is on a weekday, except for passages in Scripture that deal with the destruction of the Temple and other calamities.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

On Shabbat during the nine days, one may don freshly laundered clothes, eat meat and drink wine, including Havdalah wine.

The combination of the severity of the punishment and the ease with which the prohibition may be forgotten require that the smallest amount of chametz – chametz bemashehu – be prohibited.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

Conversely, no part of the Land within the boundaries delineated in Numbers 34 may be relinquished for any purpose whatsoever.

Although it is true that the Final Redemption will be accelerated when all Jews repent and accept the rule of Torah, there is also another scenario for the Final Redemption.

Should just a few communities settle the Land of Israel? Should there be a mass emigration of all Jews worldwide to Israel?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/is-one-required-to-live-in-israel-megillah-17b/2014/08/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: