Thursday, March 5, 2020

Eretz Yisroel ..... Explaining the Different Views ..... by DIN. Part 2 .."Rambam's View"

Before we begin discussing the Rambam's view on the Mitzvah of "Yishuv Eretz Yisrael,"

 I would like to preface our discussion with a  Shlah Hakodesh 
(d. 1630):(he is buried right next to the Rambam)

צריך כל איש ישראל לחבב את ארץ ישראל ולבא אליה מאפסי ארץ בתשוקה גדולה, כבן אל חיק אמו, כי תחילת עונינו שנקבע לנו בכיה לדורות יען מאסנו בה
{ספר השל''ה שאר האותיות ק-קדושת המקום ד''ה עוד כתב( [בשם ספר החרידים )
I am translating loosely ...
"Every single Jew must be a lover of Eretz Yisrael, and come to her from the corners of the earth with a great desire, like a child running to his mother's lap, Because Hashem designated a day (Tisha Bav) of crying for generations because of our sins ....the sin of hating her (Eretz Yisrael.) 

Powerful words!

Let us together learn the view of the Rambam.

The last post was Part 1, and it was our introduction to the series of the Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael!
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The Rambam as you probably know authored the  sefer called "Mishna Torah." Mishna Torah is a code of Jewish religious law and he wrote it sometime in the year 1170 CE.
It was basically the very first "Shulchan Aruch."

The Rambam also wrote a philosophical work called the "Moreh Nevuchim," commonly called "The Guide for the Perplexed." 

In addition, the Rambam wrote a Sefer called "Sefer Ha'Mitzvot."
In this Sefer he enumerates all the 613 Mitzvos...which include both "positive," Mitzvahs Aseh and "negative" Mitzvot, Mitzvahs lo Saseh....

"Positive" Mitzvot called "mitzvois aseh" are those that the Torah commands us to do... for example: 
Brit, Shabbos, Tefillin, Mezuzah, Pesach, Succot etc,

"Negative" Mitzvot called "mitzvos lo-seaseh" are mitzvos that we are prohibited from doing, for example: 
Eating non-Kosher animals, Violating Shabbos, worshiping idols, etc..

Because of this Sefer, the Rambam is referred amongst scholars as one of the "Monei Ha'Mitzvot" (a mitzva counter).

There were others that were from the "Monei Ha'Mitzvot" and one in particular was the Ramban (who will discuss in next post.)

The reason this is important for our discussion is that we have a tradition that Hashem gave us 613 mitzvos...

We all agree on this ...
But we are not sure which mitzvos are actually included in the 613.

 There is a disagreement amongst the "Monei Ha'Mitzvot" which mitzvos to include.

In the Rambam's Sefer Ha'Mitzvot,
he omitted the "Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael!" settling the land of Israel!

Lo and Behold.... he does not include in his count of 613 mitzvos an obligation to live in Eretz Yisrael!

Based on this information the "lovers of living in chutz le'aaretz" jumped all over this omission .... saying that here is proof positive that there is absolutely no mitzvah to make Aliyah or to settle in Israel!

These same "lovers of Chutz Le'aaretz" claim that there is actually a  prohibition to make Aliyah based on an Oath 
(which will be discussed in another post) of "Not to Storm Israel Like a Wall"
איסור לעלות לארץ ישראל כחומה

But this so called "prohibition to make Aliyah" is not mentioned in the entire Torah, nor is it mentioned in the Rambam's count of 613 mitzvos

 **Please note that this "prohibition" is not mentioned in the entire Shulchan Aruch .......

But what is in fact mentioned in Shulchan Aruch is the 
obligation to live in Eretz Yisrael!

(שלחן ערוך אבן העזר  ע''ה סיף כ'  עיין בית שמואל)
"הרא''ש ואגודה וטור משמע דיש מצוה בזה''ה וע' פרישה"  

Making Aliyah "ke'chomah" which the "chutz le'aaretz lovers" call a prohibition"  is  mentioned in Tractate Kesubois as an "aggadeteh," an allegory in reference to  Shlomo Ha'melech in Midrash Shir Ha'Shirim....

I will discuss this in depth in an upcoming post ... 

So what we learned up until now is that the same people that jump on the fact that the Rambam didn't mention Yishuv Eretz Yisrael as a Mitzvah .... and therefore not part of the 613 count
claim that making Aliyah is a prohibition....and is part of the 613

Yet this "prohibition of making Aliyah"  is not mentioned at all in the Rambam as part of his count of 613......

So they "use" the Rambam when it's convenient for them, but then when it doesn't fit their agenda, they drop him like a bowl of hot chicken soup.

 Not only doesn't the Rambam mention this "prohibition" as one of the 613 mitzvos but doesn't mention it all in his entire Mishnah Torah, where he goes into the details of every single mitzvah be it "positive" or "negative."!

Guess what?

In his Mishna Torah the Rambam  does include
"Yishuv Eretz Yisrael" as a "positive' mitzvah!

גדולי החכמים היו מנשקין על תחומי ארץ ישראל ומנשקין אבניה ומתגלגלגלין על עפרה, וכן הוא אומר כי רצו עבדיך את אבניה ואת עפרה יחוננו 
כל השוכן בארץ ישראל עונותיו מחולין, אפילו הלך בה ארבע אמות זוכה לחיי העולם הבא, וכל הקבור בה נתכפר לו, וכאילו המקום שהוא בו מזבח כפרה ואינו דומה קולטתו  מחיים למי שקולטתו לאחר מיתה 

לעולם ידור אדם בארץ ישראל אפילו בעיר שרובה גוים, ואל ידור בחוצה לארץ אפילו בעיר שרובה ישראל שכל היוצא לחוצה לארץ כאילו עובד עבודה זרה 
(רמב''ם הלכות מלכים , פרק ה' הלכה י -יב)
"Great scholars would kiss the grounds of Eretz Yisrael and would kiss the stones and would even roll in its dust, as it is written "Your servants wanted its stones and dust."

All those who dwell in Eretz Yisrael will have their sins forgiven, even if they walked just 4 amos they will merit to the World To Come, and those who are buried there will be forgiven and its as if it was a mizbaiach of forgiveness... but it doesn't compare to living in Israel when you are alive and well to being buried there."

Here read the Rambam's psak that one should live in Eretz Yisrael:

"A Jew should  live in Israel even if its population is mostly non-Jews, rather than live in Chutz Le'arretz even if it's  majority population are Jews.... and those who leave Israel are compared to people that worship idols"

After reading what the Rambam himself wrote in his Mishneh Torah is there any doubt that the Rambam thinks that there is a "prohibition" to live in Israel....?

In this quote, not only does the Rambam leave no doubt that one must live in Eretz Yisrael but adds that one cannot even leave.
though he does make exceptions as we will soon see...

*It should be noted... that the Rambam's father made Aliyah with his entire family and then because of the extreme hardships ... left... the Rambam was very young at the time and wasn't married yet ..he mentions this episode in a letter ....and adds an explanation.. (not for now)

אסור לצאת מארץ ישראל לחוצה לארץ לעולם, אלא ללמוד תורה או לישא אשה או מלהציל מן העכו''ם - ויחזור לארץ, וכן יוצא הוא לסחורה 
אבל לשכון בחוצה לארץ אסור אלא עם כן חזק שם הרעב ..ואף על פי שמותר לצאת  אם חזק הרעב אינה מדת חסידות שהרי מחלון וכליון שני גדולי הדר היו ומפני צרה גדולה יצאו ונתחייבו כליהה למקום 
(רמב''ם הלכות מלכים פרק ה' הלכה ט)
"It is forever prohibited to leave Eretz Yisrael, except in the case of learning Torah, getting married or to save himself from gentiles...but one must return after all this is accomplished.

But to actually remain living in chutz le'aaretz, that is prohibited unless there is a famine in Eretz Yisrael....
But even though one is permitted to leave Israel because of a famine ..... it is not recommended, since Machlon & Chilyon (the children of Naomi, and husbands of Rus & Orpah) who were "gedoilei hador" and who left Eretz Yisrael because of a great famine were condemned to death by Hashem!"

Notice that the Rambam uses the word "le'olam" meaning forever...that means that the Rambam held that the mitzvah to live in Israel is applicable, forever...... now ....

** Please note that there are commentaries that say that the Rambam's pask that one cannot leave Israel  is only for those who already live there but for someone who has never lived in Israel this rule does not apply..but they agree that making Aliyah is a mitzvah according to the Rambam, but not obligatory.

The Alshich Hakodosh comments on the above Rambam wrote:
ועם כל זה ,זאת עצתי שלא תצא חוץ לארץ לבקש מזונך כי עם שכון בארץ הקדושה ובטח בה' ועשה טוב, והסר מלבך דבר שקר לומר כי יותר יבורך גבר חוץ לארץ 
(ספר האלשיך דברים כ''ח ח)
"Never the less, my advice is that one should not leave Eretz Yisrael to seek parnassah but to remain in the holy land and have confidence that Hashem will help and it will be good, one should not lie and  say that that a person is more blessed in chutz leaaretz"

We will soon see that according to the Rambam the Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael and making Aliyah is applicable today as well..

But let's understand: 
 If the Rambam wrote that "Mitzvas Yisuv Eretz Yisrael" is a mitzvah, why didn't he include this in his 613 count?

The Avnei Nezer, the Sochatover,(d. 1910) asks and answers this question...
The Avnei Nezer was respected by all including the Satmar Rav, and the  Satmar Rebbe in his VaYoel Moshe dedicates most of his treaste to the Avnei Nezer ..and you will soon see why..

But first a little info on what the Rambam decided to include and what not to better understand some of the rules of how to learn the Rambam..

The Rambam set 14 rules to determine which mitzvos are included in this number.
And these rules are itemized in a Sefer written in 1898 called Mitzvat Yeshivat Eretz Yisrael, and written by Rav Yonah Dov Blumberg z"l, and this extensive work was approved by the gedoilim of his generation.
The Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael doesn't fit into the criteria therefore the Rambam left it out ....

Just to give you a taste of this sefer, know that the  Rambam included in his 613 mitzva count ... mitzvos that are not obligations at all ...

For example... let's take two different mitzvos that the Rambam did include in the count, yet are not obligatory.

The mitzvah of "Mezuzah" which is in the Torah .... the mitzvah of "mezuzah" can only be performed by someone who lives in a house or an apartment ..
but let's say he is homeless or say he lives in a tent or even in a bath house .... he is not obligated to do this mitzvah. A Bet Haknesses does not need a mezuzah..

The mitzvah of "maakeh" which is also in the Torah... obligates one to gate his one doesn't fall.
However a mirpeset even if its on the 100th floor is exempt ..a shul is exempt, and the Rambam exempts places on high that are made for storage or a high place that one keeps cattle..
How about a guy who doesn't own a home or a guy who has a slanted roof ... he is also exempt ..

We just saw two examples where the Rambam included in his 613 count of mitzvos, mitzvos not alway obligatory!

שאינה חובה אלא דומין לרשות ... שאין אדם חייב לשכון בבית  
  החייב מזוזה ...
וכן אינו חייב לבנות בית כדי לעשות מעקה 
(רמב''ם הלכות ברכות פרק י''א הלכה ב')
"There is no obligation (mezuzah) it is as if this mitzvah is only if he chooses... because no one is obligated to live in a home that requires a mezuzah
In addition, one is not required to build a home to put up a gate"

On the other hand, the Rambam writes that the Mitzvah of "lighting candles" before Shabbos is not only an obligation but one is obligated to get candles even if he has nothing to eat ....
and yet this important mitzvah is not in the Rambam's count of 613?
הדלקת נר בשבת אינה רשות, ולא מצוה שאינו חייב לרדוף אחריה עד שיעשנה ...אלא חובה ... אפילו אין לא מה יאכל ,שואל על הפסחים ולוקח שמן ומדליק את הנר
(רמב''ם הלכות שבת פרק ה' הלכה א
"Lighting candles for shabbos is an obligation.... and must pursue this with all means so that he can obtain oil to light candles even if he has nothing to eat, if he must he smust go door to door to borrow oil."

So we see that the Rambam included in his 613 count, mitzvos not obligatory and  also excluded mitzvos that he holds are obligatory such as "lighting Candles."

Many more answers to this but not part of our discussion..

just wanted to illustrate that just because something is a mitzvah doesn't mean that the Rambam will include it in his could be a mitzvah and yet he didn't include it...
I also wanted to show you that the Rambam included in his count mitzvos that are absolutely not mandatory! 

So to deduce that the Rambam held that Yishuv Eretz Yisrael is not a mitzvah because he didn't include it, is not an argument .

Let us now see what the Avnei Nezer answers...
אבני נזר שו''ת ליו''ד אות ה-ז 
He answers as follows:
There is a mitzva explicitly written in the Torah that Jews had an obligation to make an Aron (the ark) and a Kaporas (covering)
yet the Rambam does not list those mitzvos in his count of 613 mitzvos...


Because the goal of building the Mishkan and later the Bais Hamikdash was to house the Ark & the Kaporas....
as it says ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם 
"Build for me a Mishkan and I will rest my Shecheene inside"
The Avnei Nezer supports this idea from pasukim and kabbalistic sources....

It follows therefore that there was no need for the Rambam to list the Ark and the Kaporas as separate mitzvos as it was included in the mitzvah of ועשו לי מקדש
 The Rambam did indeed list the Mitzvah of building the Bais Hamikdash in his 613 count.

There is a Mitzvah in the Torah to destroy the seven nations living in Eretz Yisrael as the Jews entered Eretz Yisrael ...
This Mitzvah was החרם תחרימם which was to utterly destroy those nations.... and since we couldn't live in Eretz Yisrael until that task was fulfilled it goes without saying that settling Eretz Yisrael went hand in hand with the mitzvah of destroying those nations ...
one couldn't go without the other ...

So there is no reason to list Yishuv Eretz Yisrael since it was part and parcel of the mitzvah of החרם תחרימם...
 Why would G-d want us to destroy nations if there was no mitzvah to inhabit the land!
החרם תחרימם is in the Rambam's count of 613.....
(We will discuss the Satmar Rav's rebuttal of this Avnei Nezer's understanding in a separate post and our answer to his rebuttal)

The Avnei Nezer did not bring other examples:

The Rambam does list numerous mitzvos on conquering Eretz Yisrael, such as "Mitzvas Milchamas Yisrael" the Mitzvah of going to war, that is a mitzvah that applies to all times,  and all generations, and the Rambam included the "Mitzvah Hakamas Mamlacha Umemshelah" the mitzvah of establishing a government in Israel, that is also a mitzvah that applies at all times in all generations.

But why?
Why list them if there is no mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael?

So we established that the Rambam holds that there is absolutely a mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael...
But does Mitzvas Yishuv Eretz Yisrael apply today? Bezman Hazeh?

There is a concept in halacha that is called "amirah le'akum"...
its a "rabbinic" decree
literally it means "speaking to a gentile" 
For this discussion, I will apply the KISS concept, Keep It Short & Sweet! .... 

The Rabbinic Halacha of "amirah le'akum" applies on shabbos..
you cannot tell a gentile to do something for you that you yourself cannot do...
For example: a goy cannot cook for a Jew on shabbos since the Jew cannot cook on shabbos himself...
A Jew cannot write on if he is buying a home he cannot write a contract on shabbos.... and he cannot ask a goy to write that contract on shabbos....even if he will lose the deal!

The Rambam holds that if a Jew is buying a home from a non-Jew in Israel, and time is of the essence, he can have a goy write the contract on ......Shabbos!

"שישוב הארץ דוחה איסור שבת מדרבנן" 
( רמב''ם הלכות שבת פרק ו' הלכה י''א )
"Yishuv Eretz Yisrael trumps any rabbinic Shabbos prohibition "

So what do you say? The Rambam doesn't hold that it is a mitzvah that is applicable today?....
If he in any way held that "Yishuv Eretz Yisrael"is not applicable today, he would not allow "chillul shabbos" even if it is rabbinic!

Another example:
The Rambam rules Le'halacha that a married couple today, can force each other to make Aliyah ... The Shulchan Aruch  agrees with this and so does the Gra. 
                                      ,רמב''ם הלכות אישות פרק י''ג , הלכה כ
ביאור הגר''א, שו''ע אבן העזר סימן עה ,סעיף ה אות יז 

The Maggid Mishneh adds that if they are already living in Eretz Yisrael, one can stop the other from leaving..normally one cannot force his wife to leave where she lives even if its to move to a better neighborhood. ....
כיוצא בזה כשהן בארץ ישראל והאחד רוצה לצאת והאחד אינו רוצה 
ולא הוצרך רבינו לכתוב זה מפני שקל וחומר הוא מדין העליה
מגיד משנה ד''ה אמר האיש , רמב''ם הלכות אישות פרק יג, הלכה יט 
" If they (the married couple) are living in Israel, and wants to leave and one doesn't they can force each other to continue living there...
The Rambam did not have to write this as it is understood from a "kal Ve'Choimer" If they can force each other to make Aliyah they can certainly force each other to remain in Israel if they are already there...."

There are hundreds of other examples ....

Waiting for Moshiach and remaining in countries that harass Jews is being Mechallel Shem Shomayim"

The Rambam begged Jews who were living in chutz le'aaretz and who were going thru forced conversions or other discriminations to leave those countries and make Aliyah...

Not only that....  he wrote... if those Jews remain waiting for Moshiach to come, they are Mechallel Shem Shmayim, they are  sinners...

ואחר כך שילך לארץ ישראל לשכון שם, ולא יעמוד בשום פנים במקום השמד, וכל העומד שם הרי הוא עובר ,ומחלל שם שמים ,והוא קרוב למיזד 
אבל אלו שמפתים עצמם ואומרים שיעמדו במקומם עד שיבוא מלך המשיח למעריב , ואחר יצאו וילכו לירושלים...
אלו עוברים הם בעיני ומרמים עצמם ומחטיאים זולתם 
איגרות הרמב''ם עמוד נז  איגרת השמד 
"They (those going thru anti-Semitism) should go to Eretz Yisrael to live there, and not remain in those countries .... anyone who remains violates and desecrating the name of Hashem and is very close to being guilty
And those who talk themselves into the concept to wait until Moshiach comes to the West and then they will go to Yerushalyim, they are violators and sinners!"

Moshiach Will Be A Natural Transition!
The Rambam holds that Moshiach will be a natural transition!

שהמשיח לא יבוקש ממנו שיעשה מופת, כגון שיבקע הים או יחיה מת על צד המופת ,  מפני שאין מבקש ממנו מופת , שימות המשיח אין בהם משנוי סדר בראשית 

ואנחנו נשתדל לקבץ בין התורה והמשכל, וננהיג הדברים כלם על 
סדר טבעי אפשר בכל זה, שאנחנו נברח מאד משנוי סדר בראשית
(איגרות הרמב''ם עמוד שנח-שסב (איגרת תחיית המתים 
"Moshiach will not perform miracles such as splitting the sea or revive the dead..... we do not expect miracles from fact if Moshiach should die that is part of the natural creation and Moshiach will not change the order of Creation.

We should all try those who are Bnei Torah, to do everything according to the natural ways of the world ...and we should run from anything that is different than the order of Creation!"

The Rambam in not alone in this view. 
This concept of "natural transition" in the days of Mashiach is also the view of the Zohar....
אלין אינון ישראל בזמן דקב''ה יוקים לון ויפיק מן גלותא, כדין יפתח לון פתחא דנהורא, דקיק זעיר, ולבתר פתחא אחרינא, דאיהו רב מיניה , עד דקודשא בריך הוא יפתח לון תרעין עלאין פתיחין 
לארבע רוחי  עלמא
זוהר פרשת וישלח אות צ 
"These are the Jewish people, When the time comes that Hashem stands up to take us out of galut, he will first open a door of light, thin and small, after that He will open another door much larger than this one, until Hashem will open the doors of high up, doors that are open to all four corners of the world"

This concept is also the view of the Yerushami:

כך היא גאולתן של ישראל ,בתחילה קימעה קימעה כל כמה היא רבה והולכת 
ברכות פרק א', הלכה א 
"Thus will be the redemption of Israel destined to unfold, initially Israel will see small measures of salvation, but as the process of redemption progresses it will constantly increase in intensity" 

 The Midrash Raba Shir Hashirim (Parsha 1) writes similarly:
כך היא גאולתן של ישראל ,בתחילה קימעה קימעה
ואחר כך היא מנצנצת ובאה, ואחר כך פרה ורבה ואחר כך מרטבת והולכת

There is an interesting Rashi in Yeshayeh (58, v.20) on the pasuk
ובא לציון גואל
Rashi writes: 
כל זמן שציון חריבה עדיין לא בא הגואל 
"As long as Zion remains destroyed, the Redeemer will not come"

Rashi seems to hold that Israel must first be rebuilt before Moshiach comes.

The Vilna Gaon, the Gra, also agrees with this Rashi and writes:
סוכה מצוותה תעשה ולא מן העשוי אף ציון כך ... כל זמן שציון אינה בנויה עדיין הגואל לא בא 
קול התור פרק א' סעיף ז
                                                                                                           תתחיל האתחלתא דגאולה באתערותא דלתתא כמו שהיה בימי כורש, ותהיה ברשיון מלכי האומות ואחר כך תבוא שלמות הגאולה
 שם, סעיף ג 

"the Mitzvah of Sukka the mitzvah can only be done with something that will be done and not from something already done
therefore it follows that as long as Zion is not built, the redeemer will not come"

"The beginning of the redemption will begin with action from below..(from the Jewish people, not from heaven)just like in the times of Koresh... and this building will be with the permission from the different nations (The UN in 1948) then the complete redemption will happen."

To summarize:
  1. The Rambam certainly holds that there is a mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael in the here and now!
  2. He also holds that the process of redemption will be slow and it will be a natural phenomenon.
  3. He holds that if Jews are harassed by anti-Semitism in foreign countries they must leave if not they are "mechallel shem shamyim"
  4. Anyone living in countries that harass Jews, and decides to wait to leave until Moshiach comes is a "baal aveirah."

The only questions remains.... does the Rambam hold that this mitzvah is a De'oriiseh ...biblical? Or is it Rabbinic in nature?

That is actually a dispute amongst the Rishonim, and as we move along we will discuss that as well..

There is so much more to write about this topic and I will from time to time add to this post ... so please refer back to it ....

Next Post 
The View of the Ramban

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