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Arie E. Pelta
Surgeon

Answers About Israel You Always Wanted t

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Jordan Valley

The Palace of the King

81) Where is G-d’s main focus in the world?

Eretz Yisrael. G-d cares mainly about the wellbeing of his special Land. Once He is taking care of Israel, then He also tends to the needs of the rest of the world.

דברים יא: יב

ארץ אשר ה’ אלקיך דרש אתה תמיד עיני ה’  אלקיך בה מראשית השנה ועד אחרית שנה.

A Land that Hashem your G-d seeks out; the eyes of Hashem are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of year. (Devarim 11:12)

 

Sifrei, Parshas Eikev 4

A Land that Hashem your G-d  seeks out…Does He not seek out all lands? …He seeks out only Eretz Yisrael, for the sake of this “seeking”דרישה  that He does, He also seeks out all the other lands with it.

 

82) Are Angels in charge of Eretz Yisrael and Chutz La’Aretz?

Angels are just in charge of Chutz LaAretz. Whereas, only Hashem is in charge of Eretz Yisrael with no angelic intermediaries.

Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Re’eh 8

Eretz Yisrael is beloved, for Hashem chose it …when He created the world, He distributed the lands among the angelelic ministers of the nations, while chosing the Land of Israel for Himself…Said Hashem, “Let Yisrael, who became My portion, come and inherit the Land [of Israel] that became My portion.”

 

 

 

 

 

83) Which part of the Earth was created first? Which land gets watered first?

Eretz Yisrael.

 

Talmud Bavli, Ta’anis 10a

Eretz Yisrael was created first…Hashem waters Eretz Yisrael by Himself, while he waters the rest of the world through an agent…Eretz Yisrael drinks rain water, while the rest of the world drinks from the leftovers…Eretz Yisrael drinks first, while the rest of the world drinks last…

 

84) What is the difference about the receiving sustenance in Israel versus the Diaspora?

Eretz Yisrael is provided with sustenance personally by G-d. Those in the Diaspora get sustenance via the angels and therefore have a less intimate relationship with G-d. The highest levels of Deveikus  דביקות with G-d only occurs in Eretz Yisrael.

 

85) Is LGBTQ a new concept? What is consequence of being Gay, Trans or sexual sins in Eretz Yisrael? Does Eretz Yisrael tolerate LGBTQ or sexual diversity? Are we an “Am Chofshi” עם חופשי to be “free” like the other nations?

Sexual immorality is not new; it’s as old as the Torah itself – that is why it is forbidden. The “Gay” “Trans” or “Swingers” lifestyles are not tolerated by G-d in Eretz Yisrael. These people are not tolerated and G-d himself will expel them from the land. Sexual diversity is not tolerated in Eretz Yisrael. In Israel we are not free to do as we please as in Chutz LaAretz. Sexual freedoms are not tolerated by G-d in Israel.

            Vayikra 18:24-28

Do not defile yourselves through any of these acts [LGBTQ], for through all of these acts, the nations that I cast out before you defiled themselves. So the Land became defiled, and I visited its iniquity upon it, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments and not commit any of these abominations [LGBTQ], the native Jew or the convert who lives among you. For the inhabitants of the Land who are before you committed all of these abominations and the Land became defiled. Let not the Land vomit you out when you defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.

ויקרא יח: כד-כח , פרשת קדושים
אַל תִּטַּמְּאוּ בְּכָל אֵלֶּה, כִּי בְכָל אֵלֶּה נִטְמְאוּ הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מְשַׁלֵּחַ מִפְּנֵיכֶֽם: וַתִּטְמָא הָאָרֶץ וָֽאֶפְקֹד עֲו‍ֹנָהּ עָלֶיהָ, וַתָּקִא הָאָרֶץ אֶת יֽשְׁבֶֽיהָ: וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אַתֶּם אֶת חֻקֹּתַי וְאֶת מִשְׁפָּטַי וְלֹא תַֽעֲשׂוּ מִכֹּל הַתּֽוֹעֵבֹת הָאֵלֶּה, הָֽאֶזְרָח וְהַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתֽוֹכְכֶֽם: כִּי אֶת כָּל הַתּֽוֹעֵבֹת הָאֵל עָשׂוּ אַנְשֵֽׁי הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵיכֶם, וַתִּטְמָא הָאָֽרֶץ: וְלֹֽא תָקִיא הָאָרֶץ אֶתְכֶם בְּטַמַּֽאֲכֶם אֹתָהּ, כַּֽאֲשֶׁר קָאָה אֶת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵיכֶֽם:
Ramban, VaYikra 18:25

 

The Torah is strict about sexual misconduct on account of the Land , which becomes defiled through it and vomits out those who do these acts….[Why should the Land of Israel be defiles by these personal acts?] The secret of the matter is…Hashem created everything and placed the dominion of the lower beings in the hands of the higher beings, placing a known star or constellation over each nation in their land…He placed exalted angels to serve as lords over them…

 

…However, Eretz Yisrael, which is the center of the inhabited world, is Hashem’s portion and is designated to His name. Therefore, he appointed no angel to serve as a chief, officer, or ruler over it, seeing that He bestowed it to his people who declare His oneness…you [Jews in Israel] will not be subject to any other gods or powers whatsoever.

 

Now, G-d sanctified the people who dwell in His Land with the sanctity of refraining from sexual misconduct [LGBTQ]…”…so that the Land will not vomit you out.”…This means that He set us apart from all the nations over which He appointed heavenly officers and other gods, by giving us the Land of Israel, so that He may be our G-d and we may be special to Him. And behold, the Land which is the inheritance of Hashem, will vomit out anyone who defiles it and will not tolerate idolaters or the sexually immoral…

 
The Rabbis also taught in the Sifra Kedoshim, “Let not the Land vomit you out…”, the Land of Israel is not like other lands; it does not retain sinners…This also explains Chazal’s statement, “Anyone who lives outside the Land is like one who has no G-d”…These pesukim indicate that as long as you are in the Land of Israel, I am you G-d, but if you are not in the Land of Israel, I am so to speak not your    G-d…
 

 

 

 

86) G-d promised us a land flowing with milk and honey (Vayikra 20:24). How is it possible that Jews in Eretz Yisrael struggle with Parnassa?

The main purpose of living in Israel is to ensure that Hashem is our G-d. All Jews must live in Israel; because, one who chooses not live in Israel lacks the full potential for his connection דבחקות to Hashem and he is if he has no G-d.

Torat Moshe, VaYikra 20:22-24

(1508-1593, Talmid of Rav Yosef Karo, Rebbe of Rav Chaim Vital, Tzefat)

…when the Jews dwell in their Land – that will have difficulty finding sustenance ומתפרנסים בצער  …One can certainly say then, “Where is the blessing of A Land flowing with milk and honey?” Therefore, I think that Hashem Yitbarach is coming to say: “Behold, make sure that You keep all My statutes חקותי …and perform them. And behold, I only promise, as a result, that the Land will not vomit you out, but there is no guarantee that you will have great abundance in every generation…Rather, you must know that the reason I bring you into the Land is in order to dwell in it, for you will attain kedusha by dwelling there…

…However, the main purpose of dwelling in the Land is to ensure that “I am you G-d.” After all, a Jew who lives in Chutz LaAretz is like one who has no G-d (Kesuvos 110b), for it is under the dominion of external forces חצונים. In the land of Israel, however, Hashem’s Godliness אלהותו  relates to you, for the Shechina hovers there…Moreover, anyone who dwells there is in a holy atmosphere, under the wings of the Shechina  תחת כנפי השכינה…Hashem gave the Jews alone souls that are fragments of G-d from on high. The souls of the world, in contrast come from the external forces. This is why Jews must  יחוייב live in Eretz Yisrael, because this is where their source שורשם is, for the Shechina hovers over them there in Israel and not in Chutz LaAretz…Thus, the main reason G-d gave us the Land is not in order to derive pleasure from this world…Rather, He gave it to us to dwell there under the wings of the Shechina, to have G-d’s name called upon us in essence…

 

87) If it is so clear that all Jews are obligated to live in Israel, then why do so many Jews a great Rabbis chose NOT to make Aliyah?

The answer is not clear. It is not because they could not rely on the financial support of Jews in Chuta LaAretz. Today, most Halchik Jews live in Eretz Yisrael and our numbers are growing.

 

 

Avenei Neizer Yoreh De’ah 454

(Rav Bornstein 1838-1910, Sochatchover)

 …the reason Jews are supposed to dwell in Eretz Yisrael is because they are G-d’s portion חלק ה’…Eretz Yisrael was not given over to an agent      לשליח…G-d commanded the Jews to dwell in Eretz Yisrael, because if they would live outside the Land, their sustenance would, perforce,  come about by means of the angelic ruler of that land. This is why Chazal say that one who dwells outside the Land is like one who worships idols (Kesubos 110b), as is well known…

…if a person lives in Eretz Yisrael and has no means of support, except that which is sent to him from Chutz LaAretz, and his sustenance is thus still being supplied by the ministering angel of Chutz LaAretz, what is the purpose of his dwelling in Eretz Yisrael?…those who dwell in Eretz Yisrael and live off Chutz LaAretz money diminish the mitzvah; and it is altogether unclear whether they fulfill the mitzvah.

However, there is room to say…that the mitzvah exists even if one receives sustenance from Chutz LaAretz…even under such circumstances, there is a Biblical מצוה מין התורה  to live in Eretz Yisrael…

…However, if Diaspora Jews give money to Jews in Eretz Yisrael in their honor [not Tzedakah], similar to one who gives a give to a Torah Scholar, it is not considered receiving sustenance from Chutz LaAretz…And those living in Eretz Yisrael, by the fact they live there, are greater than us, who live outside the Land…the law remains that those who dwell in Eretz Yisrael and receive their sustenance from Chutz LaAretz fulfill the mitzvah of Yeshivat Eretz Yisrael. The fact that the gedolim of previous generations failed to make aliyah…

 

88) Where is the spiritual location of the center of the world?

Eretz Yisrael. This is true in terms of the time, day of the week and when Shabbis actually begins and ends. This is why Israel is called the land of the living and when moving here it is considered going up עליה .

Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Kedoshim 10

…Eretz Yisrael sits in the center of the world, and Yerushalyim is the center of Eretz Yisrael.

 

 

Be’er HaGola 6:13 (MaHaral of Prague)

…it is a Land that lacks nothing (Devarim 8:9), making everything relevant to it…This is why Eretz Yisrael is called “the Land of the living ארץ החיים.”…an Oleh עולה , one who ascends…And one who leaves the Land is called a Yored יורד, one who descends, just like hell is calledShe’ol, the underworld, which involves descent.

 

89) Did the Schechina leave Israel after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash?

No! It is still here today.

Midrash Tehillim, Mizmor 11

Hashem is in His holy sanctuary, Hashem’s throne is in heaven (Tehillim 11:4)  ה’ בהיכל קדשו ה’ בשמים כסאו…Rav Elazar son of Pedas said, “Whether the Beis HaMikdash is destroyed or not, the Shechinah does not move from its place, as it says, “Hashem is in His holy sanctuary”. Even though His throne is in heaven, His Shechinah is in the Beis HaMikdash…even though it is merely a mountain, it retains its sanctity…even though it is destroyed and has become a field, My Shechina is in the field שכינתי בשדה. “Field” is none other than the Beis HaMikdash…The Shechina never leaves the Western Wall [on the Har HaBayis], as it says, Behold He stands behind our wall (Shir HaShirim 2:9) הנה זה עומד אחר כתלנו .

 

90) Has holiness קדושה  left the Land of Israel after the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash?

No. The holiness of Israel lasts forever.

VaYikra Rabbah 2:2

Is Efrayim My dear son? (Yirmiyahu 31:19(  הבן יקיר לי אפרים.  Wherever it says mine, to me, for me לי , it indicates that that particular thing never moves from its place, not in this world nor in the world to come…With regard to Eretz Yisrael it says, “For the entire Land is Mine (Shemos 19:5)” כי לי כל הארץ …

 

 

 

91) When did Israel become holy? Is Gaza, Eilat, Sinai, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon part of Israel or Chutz LaAretz?

Israel became holy every since it was given to Avraham. All the areas of Israel mentioned in Parshas Masei (Bamidbar 34) are currently sanctified with holiness of Eretz Yisrael. The southwestern boundary of the entire Land of Israel is ‘Nachal Mitzrayim’ (“River of Egypt”). It is agreed that ‘Nachal Mitzrayim’ is the eastern branch of the Nile, which is in the area of ​​the Suez Canal today. The entire Sinai Peninsula on the Israeli border, given that the Red Sea surrounds it, is set as the southern border.  It should be noted that there are commentators who point at that Rambam (Maimonides), who lived in ancient Cairo in the eastern part of the Nile, considered himself as living within the borders of the Land of Israel; as Maharikash [Rabbi Yaakov Costaro (1525-1610]) wrote. (https://en.yhb.org.il/the-borders-of-the-land-of-israel/)

 Kaftor VaFerach, Chapter 10

(Rav Ishtori HaParchi, 1280-1355, Tosafist)

Behold the sanctity and virtues of the Land exist ever since it was given to the holy Avos, not only from when it was conquered…Rav Avrham Ibn Ezra states…Avraham’s purchase of the cave of Machpeilah is mentioned in order to inform us of the supremacy of Eretz Yisrael over all other lands, both for the living and the dead…the Torah mentions this to demonstrate that Eretz Yisrael has great virtues, and he who has a portion in it is considered as one who has a portion in the World to Come העולם הבא .

…This is why Chazal say that G-d told Avraham I will make you into a great nation (Bereishis 12:2) only in Eretz Yisrael. Similarly, from that day on, the Euphrates was called the great river, and it was called that only because it was connected to Eretz Yisrael.

…Thus all the territory that lies with the boundaries of Eretz Yisrael, mentioned in Parshas Eileh Masei  is at the very least sanctified with the holiness of Eretz Yisrael vis-à-vis all the desired advantages one gains from it…no one should ever consider parts of Eretz Yisrael to be like Chutz LaAretz!

 

 

 

 

 

92) Where is G-d’s Shechina resting permanently? Where is the only place a real Jew can reach true perfection?

Eretz Yisrael.

Aderes Eliyahu, Devarim 1:7

“Turn and journey, and come to the mountain of the Amorites and to all its neighboring places, in the plain, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south and by the seashore, the land of the Canaanites, and the Lebanon, until the great river, the Euphrates River” (Devarim 1:7)

…Turn from Har Sinai, after they were perfected there…G-d was telling them to turn from there and travel further to the place of their ultimate perfection, which is the Land of their inheritance, Eretz Yisrael…For the Shechina did not come down to earth until the time of Moshe…At first, the Shechina did not come down to earth; rather it descended upon Mt. Sinai together with the firmament הרקיע. Afterwards, it came down to the Ohel Moed, but not permanently, only from place to place. Finally, it descended permanently in Eretz Yisrael…

93) Is Israel holy even when it is in ruins and run by non-Torah observant Jews? Is Israel’s holiness similar to that of Gan Eden? Do the prayers said by graves in Europe or the Yeshivos of the USA go directly to G-d in Heaven?

Yes, the holiness of Israel exists even today and is similar to the holiness of Gan Eden.

No, prayers in Europe and the USA do NOT go directly up to heaven. All prayers ascend by way of Eretz Yisrael and Yerushalyim. Thus, it’s  spiritually ignorant and ridiculous for a Jew to leave Israel and expect his prayers to be  answered by graves or other locations in Chutz LaAretz.

Shnei Luchos HaBris, Shaar HaOsiyos, Letter Kuf – Kedushas HaMakom

(Shelah HaKadosh, Rav Yeshayah Halevi Horowitz 1565-1630)

…G-d gave the Jewish people the Holy Land, whose holiness is similar to that of the Garden of Eden…and it remains holy even now, when it is destroyed, and it is still the Land that HaShem seeks out. The lands of the nations are defiled, and the prayers of the Jews who live there cannot ascend heavenward, unless they send their prayers through the Holy Land, to Yerushalayim, and from there to the site of the Kodesh Kodoshim, which is the gate of Heaven.

 

 

94) Why is Israel spiritually superior to ALL other lands? What are the two main advantages of living in Israel.

Because G-d’s presence שכינה  dwells here.

Beit Elokim, Shaar HaTefillah Chapter 5

(Mabit, Rav Moshe ben Yosef, Tzefat 1505-1585)

The concept of a specific place being a reason for the acceptance of prayer is a logical idea and is demonstrated in the Torah. For even though the entire world is filled with G-d’s glory, His providence השגכתו   is more apparent in certain places than others…

…Some places are more prepared than others to receive G-d’s influence מושפעים , like the Garden of Eden…After Eden come Yerushalayim and Eretz Yisrael…

…Eretz Yisrael has two overall virtues: its spiritual advantages and its material advantages…”The air of Eretz Yisrael makes one wise” (Baba Bastra 158a). The reason for these advantages is the fact that man was created from the matter of the choicest part of Eretz Yisrael , the site of the Mizbeach…Therefore, Eretz Yisrael is more prepared to receive divine abundance  from HaShem, Who provides sustenance to Eretz Yisrael by His glorious self, without any intermediaries אמצעי…”Anyone who dwells in Eretz Yisrael is like one who has a G-d” (Kesuvos 110b…After all , the reason G-d gave us the Land is in order for Him to be our G-d exclusively, so that we may be worthy of receiving His influence…Since Chutz LaAretz is given over to angelic ministers and constellations לשרים ומזלות, they are like a barrier between us and our Creator, seeing that we do not receive influence מושפעים from G-d when we live outside the Land as we do when we dwell in Eretz Yisrael. In this way, one who lives in Chutz LaAretz is like one who has no   G-d.

Eretz Yisrael’s material advantages are manifested in the quality of its fruit in terms of their size and taste, and the beauty and health of the people who grow up there. These qualities stem from the Land’s spiritual advantages, because things that grow there are blessed, and account of the divine abundance that exits there…it is fitting for you to come and inherit the Land because it is      G-d’s portion and no angelic minister or constellation rules over it…

…the Land receives its influence from G-d every day and every year, in terms of everything that is needed for man’s sustenance and survival…Even though G-d’s glory fills the entire world, He already divided up the nations and the lands among the heavenly ministers…

…G-d blessed the Land in this way to ensure that Israel’s eyes always face heavenwards and that they recognize that no one else but G-d can provide for them…G-d’s providential eye שעין השגחתו and His influence of wisdom are upon you by virtue of the fact that He is your   G-d exclusively in Eretz Yisrael…

 

 

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA, made Aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. He received his Rabbinical ordination in 1997. He is also an active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Dr. Pelta is currently a full time Senior Surgeon practicing in Laniado Hospital (Netanya); specializing in the surgical care of all colorectal diseases.
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