web analytics
April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 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
"Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah." That's his Jihad. What's yours? - An ad campaign sponsored by  the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
MTA Hopes to Change Rule, Ban ‘Killing Jews’ Anti-Jihad Ad
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In her diary, Anne Frank wrote words that provided hope for a humanity faced with suffering.

Leff-042415

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

Staum-042415

Humility is not achieved when all is well and life is peachy but rather when times are trying and challenging.

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

“I accept the ruling,” said Mr. Broyer, “but would like to understand the reasoning.”

He feared the people would have a change of heart and support Rechavam.

Ramifications Of A Printers Error
‘The Note Holder’s Burden of Proof’
(Kesubos 83b)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

In this case one could reason that by applying halach achar harov we could permit the forbidden bird as well.

“What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” my husband remarked. “Well, baruch Hashem we are safe, there was no accident, and I’m sure there is a good reason for everything that happened to us,” I mused.

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

Myth that niddah=dirty stopped many women from accepting laws of family purity and must be shattered

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

Rabbi Fohrman connects the metzora purification process with the korban pesach.

The day after Israel was declared a State, everyone recited Hallel and people danced in the streets.

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The omer sacrifice of loose barley flour was more fitting for animal consumption than human consumption and symbolizes the depths to which the Jewish slaves had sunk.

In most communities the rabbi will perform the eruv ceremony on Erev Yom Tov for all community members.

Are you kidding? You know the non‑Jew is not going to consume your chametz. He is not really paying you for it; neither is he taking possession of it.

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

This process, which is the most powerful form of kashering, is known as libun.

Hapeh is based on the fact that the person who qualifies the statement is the sole source of the unqualified statement and the court has therefore no choice but to believe her.

Moreover, even if the perpetrator of the capital offense is never actually executed, such as when the fatal act was unintentional, Kam Lei applies and the judge cannot award damages.

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: