Arie E. Pelta

Answers About Israel You Always Wanted To Know (part 3 of 13)

Spiritual Advantages

20) Who inherits the World to Come (עולם הבא)?

Talmud Bavli, Pesachim 113a

Rav Yochanan said: “Three people are among those who inherit the World to Come. They are: one who lives in Eretz Yisrael, one who raises his children to study Torah, and one who recites Havdalah over wine at the conclusion of Shabbis…

Talmud Yerushalmi, Shekalim 3:3

It was taught in the name of Rav Meir: “Anyone who dwells permanently in Eretz Yisrael, speaks the Holy Tongue [Hebrew] לשון הקודש  …he is deserving of Olam Habah.”

Korban HaEida, commentary on Yerushalmi

…he dwells permanently in Eretz Yisrael, which atones for sin, as it says, “The people who dwell there are forgiven of sin” (Yeshaya 33:24)…Speaks Hebrew, which causes spiritual purity…he deserves the World to Come…even his body will be purified…receive a portion in the World to Come without judgment and suffering.

Those of us who live in Israel: send out children to yeshiva to study Torah and many of us make Havdalah with Israeli non-mevushal wine.

Those who chose to make Aliyah, demonstrate that we forego our physical desires for the sake of mitzvos. This attitude deserves a portion in Olam Habah. We chose to live here to be closer to G-d. This proves that spiritual growth is more important to us than  physical comfort. A person who prioritizes spirituality over physicality, is a person deserved a place in the spiritual world of Olam Habah. G-d wants us to choose to live in Eretz Yisrael because we desire to be close to Him; not because it’s the nicest most affluent place to live.

21) Does Israel have great virtues? Who gets a portion in Olam Habah?

Yakov Avinu arrived in the city of Shechem…he bought a portion of the land…for 100 Kisitah (Bereishis 33:18-19).

Ibn Ezra (Bereishis 33: 18-19)

This Torah mentions this [about Yakov] 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 Olam Habah.

22) Can living in Israel atone for one’s sins? Can a Jew’s sins be forgiven by living in Israel or visiting Umman on Rosh HaShana?

Talmud Bavli, Kusubos 111a

Rabbi Elazar said, “Anyone who dwells in Eretz Yisrael is free of sin”…(Rashi…all of them who dwell there are forgiven  of sin)…Rav Abahu said, “Even a Canaanite maidservant in Eretz Yisrael may rest assured that she deserves Olam Habah.”…Rav Yirmiyah son of Aba said in the name of Rav Yochanan, “Anyone who walks for amos in Eretz Yisrael may rest assured that he deserves Olam Habah.”

Midrash Mishlei 17:1

Rav Yochanan said…even one who eats only bread with salt and dwells there [Israel] is assured that he deserves Olam Habah…”anyone who walks four amos in Eretz Yisrael is assured that he deserves Olam Habah.” Rav Levi said, “anyone who lives in Eretz Yisrael for even one moment and dies therein may rest assured that he deserves Olam Habah. Why so? The pasuk says “His Land will atone His people (Devarim 32:43). Rav Nechamia says, “Eretz Yisrael atones for the sins of those who die in her midst.”

Midrash Tehillim 85:2

“You have forgiven the sin of Your people” (Tehillim 85:3). Who forgives sin? The Land upon which they dwell, as it says, “The people who dwell there are forgiven of sin (Yeshaya 33:24)…Who atones for His people? His Land. Fortunate are the inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael, for they have no iniquity or sin when they are alive or dead.

23) If no matter how much the Jews of Eretz Yisrael sin, they are forgiven of sin, then how are the Jews punished and exiled from the Land of Israel?

Midrash Talpiot, Anaf Eretz Yisrael

Know that the Jewish souls that live outside of Israel [Chutz La’Aretz] are from the world of Sandalofon, the world of the Ofanim angels, which is referred to as “Beis Yakov” and Eved Ivri (Jewish Slave) whose gematria is 358, like “snake” נחש.  Jews who dwell in Eretz Yisrael come from the 10 spheres of creation and are called “Beis Yisrael”. They are also called “sons” and “sons of the Living G-d”…but when he merits entering Eretz Yisrael, a soul from a new creation comes upon him and latches on to his old soul. On the first night he goes to sleep in Eretz Yisrael, the two souls leave him and ascend to heaven, but only the new one returns to him in the morning. Therefore, he does not deserve to be punished, for his new soul never sinned.

Furthermore, anyone who lives in Eretz Yisrael is considered a Tzadik, even though he does not appear righteous. For if he was not a Tzadik, the Land would vomit him out, as it says, “and the Land vomited out its inhabitants” (VaYikra 18:25). Since the Land does not vomit him out, he must be considered a Tzadik, even though he is presumed to be wicked…

Eretz Yisrael atones only for sins that were committed there un-intentionally. Deliberate transgressions, however, are forgiven only by way of suffering ביסורין , or for a person who overlooks misdeeds done to him. Rebellious sins committed in Eretz Yisrael can only by pardoned by way of Teshuvah.

24) Which Jews in Eretz Yisrael are free of sin?

Pnei Yehoshua (Rav Yakov Falk 1680-1756), Kesubos 111a

Rav Eliezer said, “anyone who dwells in Eretz Yisrael is free of sin”. It seems to me that this is referring only to one  who lives there for the sake of the mitzvah of dwelling in Eretz Yisrael, which is a holy place and so the merit of Eretz Yisrael should protect him from sin…

…it can be assumed that the merit of living in Eretz Yisrael motivated him not to go to sleep while still holding onto his sin. For after he sinned and found himself in a holy place, he certainly regretted his previous actions, repented, and was cured of his blemish.

The same is NOT true of one who dwells there by chance [a Sabra], or because he was born there…not true of one who rebels against the Land [intentional sinners]…about such a person “You came and defiled My Land…”(Yirmiyahu 2:7). This is why we find that when our forefather’s sins increased they were exiled from our Land…

25) Do Jews live longer lives in Israel?

Long life is natural in Israel. In Chutz LaAretz one needs special merits.

Talmud Bavli, Berachos 8a

They told Rav Yochanan…”So that your days and the days of your children will be multiplied upon the Land” (Devarim 11:21), implying that longevity does not exist outside of Eretz Yisrael!”

26) Where does a Jew feel true happiness?

Or HaChayim (Rav Chayim ben Atar 1696-1743) Devarim 26:1

It shall be והיה when you enter the Land (Devarim 26:1). The Torah uses the world והיה which connotes happiness, to suggest that one should only rejoice in dwelling  in the Land…”Then our mouths will fill with laughter” (Tehillim 126:1-2) אז ימלא שחוק פינו….

27) Is it easier to control one’s anger in Israel? It seems Israeli’s are more argumentative than Americans?

A person with innate anger issues is better off in Israel and worse off in Chutz LaAretz.

Talmud Bavli, Nedarim 22a-22b

When Ulla went up to Eretz Yisrael, two Jews from Chuzai [Chutz L’Aretz] accompanied him. At one point one of them arose and killed his fellow. The murderer said to Ulla, “Did I do well?” He replied, “Yes, go and reveal the severed throat of your victim ( Ulla was scared to say the murderer was wrong, lest he kill him as well)…Rav was astounded that a man from Chuzai killed a Jew in Israel). Let us see said Rav Yochanan, The pasuk says, “Hashem will give you there an angry heart (Devarim 28:65), that is in Bavel. Ulla replied, at that time that the murder took place we had not yet crossed the Jordan into Eretz Yisrael.

G-d knows that Jews have anger issues, that is why He put us specifically in Israel; to tame our bad character traits.

Maharsha Nedarim 22a-b

“…an angry heart – that is in Bavel”. For the Yetzer Hara has more dominion in Chutz LaAretz than it does in Eretz Yisrael, and anger is one of the attributes of the Yetzer Hara…”For I know its [Israel’s] inclination, what it does today, before I have brought them into the Land (Devarim 31:210. That is since I [G-d]knows the Jewish people’s inclination…When they enter  Eretz Yisrael, however, if they continue to do evil deeds like these, they deserve to be punished more severely, because the Yetzer Hara does not rule over them as much in Eretz Yisrael.

28) Could Avraham, Yitzchak and Yakov have become great people and “Avos” in Chutz LaAretz? Can any Jew reach his highest spiritual potential in Chutz LaAretz? Can secular Jews (who reject Torah and mitzvos) successfully hold onto the Land of Israel?

No, No, No.

Maharal, Derech Chayim 5:9

…Hashem, may he be blessed, gave the Land to the Jews in the merit of the three Avos…The Avos attained their preeminence specifically because of the Land [of Israel], for if not for the Land, the Avos would never have reached the heights of holiness. Therefore, the Land “raises” them…When the Jews resemble and emulate the Avos, to whom the Land was given and to whom the Land pertains, then the Land is theirs. But when they deviate from the Avos attributes, to the point where they differ from them, then the Jews do not deserve the Land and they are exiled from it. Similarly, if the Jews fail to keep that which benefits the Land, from its own perspective, they are exiled from it…

29) Are our acquired possessions in USA worthy of being used in Israel? Is a Jew’s spiritual goal and service to G-d, in the USA, the same as his goals and service to G-d in Eretz Yisrael?

Rav Eliyahu Dessler (1892-1953), says “No!”.

Michtav MeEliyahu, volume 3, pages 191-196

Tools of Eretz Yisrael:…A person receives heavenly assistance (סייעתא דשמיא) that is “tools” based on what he needs for his service of G-d. Thus, the extent to which a person can ascend depends on the tools he is privileged to receive…

…Yakov Avinu, during his stay in Chutz LaAretz, he reached the highest levels of perfection that one could reach there and G-d provided him with angles to escort him on his journey home.  When he reached Eretz Yisrael, however, he needed to rise to the level of perfection of Eretz Yisrael. This teaches that even such aids as Chutz LaAretz angels of perfection are not worthy to be used to help a person achieve perfection on the level of Eretz Yisrael!

Yakov said, “Chutz LaAretz possessions are not worthwhile for me.”…Nonetheless, these possessions were not holy enough in his eyes to be used as an aid in the holy atmosphere of Eretz Yisrael.

The rule of the matter is: we merit a tool only according to the nature of our personal awakening, and through this tool we merit assistance in ascending higher…Only if we change our aspirations will we merit receiving more appropriate tools. We must also realize that the divine service (עבודה) of Eretz Yisrael is completely different from that of Chutz LaAretz. The goals are different, the persistence required is different, and the potential for spiritual growth is completely different. Therefore, one should not mistakenly think that the tools that are made for Chutz LaAretz can help one’s service in Eretz Yisrael. We must strip ourselves of the old tools…which befit the level of Chutz LaAretz, and anticipate a newfound diving assistance that suits the new spiritual opportunities available in Eretz Yisrael.

30) Why does one who lives in Israel find it easier to learn Torah topics? Why do American boys and girls come to learn in Yeshivos and Seminaries in Israel?

Israel is not just a physical place, it’s a place of Holiness.

Michtav MeEliyahu, volume 3, pages 191-196

Eretz Yisrael is not just a place on the map; it is a level of holiness. A person who has purified himself by clinging to spirituality ((דבקותו ברוחניות            will receive a special influence of holiness (השפעת קדושה מיוחדת) when he comes to Eretz Yisrael, elevating him to high spiritual levels.

…”There is no Torah like the Torah of Eretz Yisrael” (Sifrei, Ekev). “The air of Eretz Yisrael makes one wise” (Bava Basra 158b)…One who studies Torah in Eretz Yisrael receives a large amount of divine assistance  סייעתא דשמיא and special influence…We see with our own eyes how youngsters who study Torah flourish in Eretz Yisrael. They advance in their studies, succeed in acquiring knowledge in all of shas Talmud and achieve much more that others achieve in their Torah education on other lands.

31) What does the Gemarah mean when it states that all sins are forgiven for those who live in Israel and that those who do not live in Israel are like they have no G-d?

Michtav MeEliyahu, volume 3, pages 191-196

…forgiveness of sin for one who lives in Israel refer to one who has reached a level at which dwelling in Israel can bring him to a self awakening and consequently repentance…This is the meaning of “his sins are forgiven”. However, one who does not learn to repent when the circumstances of his life change is committing a great sin…

This is how we must understand Chazal’s statement: “Anyone who lives in Eretz Yisrael is like one who has a G-d, and anyone who lives outside the Land is like one who has not G-d” (Kesuvos 110b). Chazal are referring to a person who is on such a high level that the sanctity of Israel brings him closer to G-d…explain how it is possible to have heretics אפיקורסים and apostates in the Land of Israel. This is also the meaning of the statement: “anyone who dwells in Eretz Yisrael is free of sin” (Kesuvos 111a).

32) What does the Gemarah mean when it states that those who live in Chutz LaAretz are like an idol worshipper?

Michtav MeEliyahu, volume 3, pages 191-196

…”anyone who dwells outside the Land is like an idol worshipper” (Kesubos 110b). The explanation is as follows: a minor deficiency in a person’s recognition of G-d, which is considered idolatry for someone on a high level, is not considered idolatry at all for someone on a level below it….Compared to the potential for closeness to Hashem and the recognition of His special providence that the holy influence of Eretz Yisrael provides, living in Chutz LaAretz is considered an aspect of Idolatry.

33) How do we explain there are bad Jews and murders in Eretz Yisrael today?

Michtav MeEliyahu, volume 3, pages 191-196

…After all, in our times, there unfortunately exists anger that leads to murder even in Eretz Yisrael…

…In Rabbi Yochanan’s generation, even murderers were on such a high level that when they entered Israel their capacity for anger was limited, and it could not lead to murder. This is no longer true in our generation, when people’s hearts (minds) have descended to the lowest level, that of the footsteps of Moshiach עקבות דמשיחא.

34) In today’s turbulent times, do people feel more scared in the USA or in Israel?

Michtav MeEliyahu, volume 3, pages 191-196

Truthfully, in our generation, as well, we find that people feel calmer and more emotionally secure in Eretz Yisrael than anywhere else in the world…people in other countries are gripped with fear over the possibility of a new world war, G-d forbid, causing them to flee from country to country…In contrast, the only ones who left Eretz Yisrael were those who cherish the pleasures of the world…No one, however, fled out of fear of war, fear simply did not  preside over Eretz Yisrael. This is quite surprising, considering that there is seemingly much more reason to worry about an outbreak of war in Israel than anywhere else.

35) Do we rely on miracles in Israel?


Michtav MeEliyahu, volume 3, pages 191-196

…The inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael rely on miracles, trusting that we will be able to stand up against our numerous enemies

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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