top of page
  • Writer's pictureAdmin

Calling Us HOME

Rav Yitzchok Breitowitz, the Rav of Kehillas Ohr Sameach, gave a shiur last week on yishuv Eretz Yisrael. In less than an hour, Rav Breitowitz delves into Halacha, Hashkafa, history, and current events, calling on Jews in Chutz L'Aretz to "think very seriously" about moving to Eretz Yisrael. The shiur can be seen here: Rav Yitzchok Breitowitz - Yishuv Eretz Yisrael. Transcribed below are excerpts from the shiur.



The point is this: The GRA is machriya like the Ramban (that the mitzvah yishuv Eretz Yisrael is d’Oraita and obligatory), many Gedolim, whether its Rav Shlomo Zalman, Rav Elyashiv, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, all of them, zichronem L’Vracha, have all been machlit that yishuv Eretz Yisrael is a chiyuv d’Oraita. So it’s very, very important that a person at least ask the shailah. Far too often it hasn’t even been on the radar. People just assume there is no particular obligation. “I’ll visit; it’ll be nice. I’ll spend Pesach here, but then I’ll go home to New York or Baltimore or Lakewood or Los Angeles.” I’m not here to say people have a chiyuv gamur to move here, but I am here to say that, according to the Ramban, you at least have to ask the question. It has to be on the radar. You ask the question; there needs to be a shailas Chacham. . .

The truth of the matter is, whether it is a chiyuv or not a chiyuv may almost be of secondary importance because even the Rambam [who according to some mefarshim hold that it is not a mitzvah chiyuvis] writes of the zechus of living in Eretz Yisrael, the kedusha, the hiskarvus (closeness) to Hashem, the gift that Hashem gave us, the fact that when the Chachamim came from Bavel they would bow down and kiss the rocks and kiss the dirt. And the Rambam even says, even though I don’t think there is any Rav that is going to pasken this way, it is better to live in Eretz Yisrael in a city that is mostly idol worshippers than live in a city in Chutz L’Aretz that is mostly Jews. What does that even mean?! I don’t know. If someone was to ask the shailah of a posek, “Should I live in Lakewood or should I move to Ramallah?” . . . Well, most of us would say you are nuts, what kind of nutty question is that? Of course Lakewood is better than Ramallah. Huh! Is that so pashut?! It says in Rambam it is better to live in Eretz Yisrael in a city that is mostly idol worshippers! So, I’m not here to be machriyah. Whatever way we get out of it, I’m sure no one will tell you to move to Ramallah. But I think the important thing to recognize, whether it is a mitzvah or not a mitzvah, either way, it should be something that is so chashuv to us, so important to us. Again, as I said before, this is not a one-size fits all. One of course has to look at parnassah issues, and one has to look at chinuch and one has to look at the needs of their children and the needs of their parents. I am not suggesting that a person simply jumps without sechel, without machshavah, but you have to think about this.

You know, going back to the Kuzari:The Kuzari, Rav Yehudah HaLevi, was even before the Rambam. . . [In the Kuzari] the Kazer, the Melech, says to the Chaver, “I don’t understand you Jews. You pray three times a day to go back to Eretz Yisrael. You pray and you pray and you pray and then when you have an opportunity to go, you don’t go!” Then the Chaver answers, which is Rav Yehudah HaLevi’s answer, “This is our shame, this is our bizayon, this is our disgrace. Hashem listens to the words that we say and it is like the twittering of birds and He looks at us and He says they don’t mean what they say.” Now, let me point out that going back to Eretz Yisrael in those days was much different than today. Then it was dangerous. It was dangerous to travel there, it was dangerous to live there. . . .There was no Ben & Jerry's and there was no Nefesh B’Nefesh and there were no conveniences. And there still was a claim! Why don’t the Jews go?! And today, Baruch Hashem. Nefesh B’Nefesh, Ben & Jerry's. Even 50 years ago you had to wait years to get a telephone. Baruch Hashem, [today] you can get a telephone within a day or so. Hashem made it easier. And we daven about Eretz Yisrael and we don’t do anything about it. What’s going on?! What do we mean in our tefillos? Some people say, well we will wait for Moshiach. But in the name of the Gaon, it is the other way around. Moshiach comes when Yidden show that they want to live in Eretz Yisrael, that they are mishtokek to live in Eretz Yisrael. That itself brings the Geulah. This is the teaching of the Gaon. And of course we actually see this if you study Tanach. You actually find many, many nevuos. The Malbim says …why didn’t [the Bayis Sheini] turn out to be the Messianic Geulah? Why was the second Mikdash destroyed? Why couldn’t that have been the Mikdash of Yechezkel? So the Malbim says precisely because only a minority of the Jewish people returned to Eretz Yisrael even when there was a Beis HaMikdash and a majority chose to stay home in Bavel. The Rishonim actually bring that when Ezra came to Eretz Yisrael, he sent letters to Jewish communities that were already in Germany, Ashkenaz, from the time of the churban Bayis Rishon, and Ezra said to come to Yerushalayim and participate in the Beis HaMikdash. And the people of Worms responded, “You are zoche to be in the great Yerushalayim. We, Baruch Hashem, have created our small Yerushalayim and we will stay in our small Yerushalayim and you will be in the big Yerushalayim. We are happy where we are.” And I believe, the Ohr Zarua and other Rishonim actually bring this is one of the reasons why the crusades, the churban happened specifically in those German cities, because they weren’t thinking - they had no cheshek - to go to Eretz Yisrael. And again aliyah in those days was much much harder than it is today. . .

So all of this is a certain attitude. Yes, in the galus we are supposed to build mosdos, we are supposed to have homes, we are supposed to take care of our families. But it always has to be with the perspective that Eretz Yisrael is our home. We must yearn, we must be metzapeh. If it is possible to come here, we should really think very seriously about coming here. It is not a peripheral zach, it is not something to sweep under the rug. . .

Now, the truth of the matter is that there are two ways that Hashem will bring us to Eretz Yisrael. Ideally, we should come because we are pulled. It is like a rope. There is kedushah, there is purity, there is goodness, there is kirvas Elokim, this pulls us to a makom kadosh. But sometimes that doesn’t work. So Hashem has an alternative strategy. If we don’t get here by being pulled, we get here by being pushed. The atmosphere of Chutz L’Aretz, the politics, the anti-semitism, the uprisings, the violence, make us realize how dangerous the world is. People say, “Oh, America is different.” Maybe so, iy’H. G-D forbid, I don’t want anything bad to happen. . . but the signs are very ominous that if we don’t come back because we are pulled, we might be forced to come back because we are pushed. That inspires us to teshuvah and yishuv Eretz Yisrael. . .

So the purpose of my remarks is not to give anybody a psak. Who am I to give anyone a psak? But to simply tell people yishuv Eretz Yisrael must be on your radar. And through your desire to come to Eretz Yisrael, that itself will be something that will be mekarev the Geulah Shleimah b’Meyrah b’Yameinu. Amen.

Commentaires


bottom of page