Dear Shmuelik from Monsey,
Thank you for your comment on the previous post, “Fishman may be a clever writer, but the fact is that there is no Torah obligation at this time until the Mashiach comes for a Jew to live in Israel.”
"I will stay here until the Mashiach comes and survive where I am," this is nothing but an evil heart and a great loss, and a sickness of reasoning and spirit. Rambam
The Torah giant, the Rambam, has established in his “Letter of Teman” that our performance of the commandments is not dependent on the Mashiach’s coming. We are to do all of the commandments to the best of our ability, and G-d will do what is fitting in His eyes. “However, if a man will stay in a place where he sees the Torah is waning, and where the Jewish People will be lost with the passage of time, and where he can not stand by his faith, and say, ‘I will stay here until the Mashiach comes and survive where I am,’ this is nothing but an evil heart and a great loss, and a sickness of reasoning and spirit.”
In addition, the Ramban (with an N) states that the commandment to settle the Land of Israel is an obligation from the Torah, beholden on us in every generation
: “In my opinion, this is a positive commandment, enjoining them that they dwell in the Land of Israel and possess it, because it was given to them, and that they should not despise the inheritance of the L-rd” (Supplement to Sefer HaMitzvot of the Rambam, Positive Commandment #4).
The Gaon of Vilna warned that the sin of the Spies in not wanting to conquer and dwell in the Land of Israel will return to haunt the nation in the time of Mashiach: “Many will fall in this great sin of, “They despised the cherished Land.” Also many guardians of the Torah will not know or understand that thy are caught in the sin of the Spies, that they have been drawn into the sin of the Spies by many false ideas and empty claims, and they support their claims with the already proven fallacy that the commandment to settle the Land of Israel no longer applies in our day, an opinion which has already been refuted by the Torah giants of the world, both the early and later authorities” (Kol HaTor, Ch.5).
Referring to this week’s Torah potion, “Mishpatim,” Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook
taught an interesting lesson. “It is written that after six years, a Hebrew slave must go free. If he refuses, saying, ‘I loved my master – I won’t go out to freedom,’ this is an awful thing. Likewise, when a Jew falls in love with life in the exile, saying, ‘I loved my master, the foreign nation,’ this is a tragic mistake.”
We could bring a long list of Torah authorities who rule likewise, but a blog is not the place for a detailed elaboration of Jewish law. In all likelihood, it would not matter to our friend, Shmuelik from Monsey. He would undoubtedly answer with an assortment of convoluted explanations in order to rationalize his love for the exile.
I Love New York, the Jerusalem of the West
For simple people like me, it seems pretty clear that G-d wants His people back in the Land of Israel. In our times, we have witnessed the miraculous rebirth of the Jewish Nation in Eretz Yisrael. Who has brought all this about? The Zionists or G-d? Who has gathered millions of Jews from the four corners of the world in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy? The Zionists? The Jewish Agency? Or G-d?
Even to an eye untrained in the exegesis of Jewish law, it is obvious that G-d has decided that the time has arrived to come home. To facilitate the way, He has transformed desert and wasteland into vineyards and orchards that export produce to all the world. G-d has built thriving cities and settlements, restored Jerusalem’s beauty and power, led Israeli armies to victories over vast greater forces, and rocketed the tiny country into becoming a world leader in medicine, science, and computer technology. And Eretz Yisrael is once again the Torah center of the Jewish world.
Who has done all this if not the Holy One Blessed Be He? How can anyone think that He does not want His children to return home to Israel? He has even given us a Jewish airline to bring us here in a glatt kosher fashion. With a Jewish airline, and available apartments, and a modern economy, and millions of Jews already here, how can anyone claim that the time to return has not come?
Shmuelik, my friend, wake up! Open your eyes! The L-rd is bringing the exiles back to Zion. It is happening now. G-d hasn’t waited for Mashiach to come. Why should you? As the song says, “Get on the bus, Gus. No need to discuss much. Just get yourself free.”