Sharona Margolin Halickman
Sharona Margolin Halickman

Can you force your spouse to make aliya?

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Photo Courtesy Sharona Halickman

In Parshat Masei (Bamidbar 33:53) we learn about the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel:

You shall possess the Land and you shall settle in it, for to you have I given the Land to possess it.

The Mishna in Ketubot 110b discusses the right of a person to require their family to relocate to Israel:

A person can force all the members of his household to make aliya, go up to Eretz Yisrael to live there, but he can force none of them to leave Eretz Yisrael. A person can force all the members of his household to go up to Jerusalem, but he can force none of them to leave Jerusalem. The same is true for both men and women.

A braita records the rulings that apply when a husband and wife disagree about moving to Eretz Yisrael or Jerusalem:

If he wants to go up to Eretz Yisrael or Jerusalem and she wants them not to go up, we force her to go up with him. But if she will not go up with him, then she must accept a divorce without receiving the additional entitlements written in her Ketuba. If she wants to go up and he does not want them to go up, we force him to go up with her. But if he will not go up with her then he must divorce her and give her the Ketuba payments.

The braita continues regarding a husband and wife who disagree about leaving Eretz Yisrael or Jerusalem:

If she wants them to leave and he wants them not to leave, we force her not to leave. But if she will not remain in Eretz Yisrael or Jerusalem, then she mast leave him (accept a divorce) without receiving a Ketuba. If he wants them to leave, but she doesn’t want them to leave, then we force him not to leave. If he does not want to remain in Eretz Yisrael or Jerusalem, he must divorce her and give her the Ketuba.

We see from here how serious the mitzvah of making aliya and staying in Israel has always been.

It is important that couples who are dating discuss the potential of making aliya in the future. If one of the partners is against aliya, then it may not be a good match. The same is true for those already in Israel. If one has their eye on moving abroad at some point then the relationship may not work out.

May all who strive to make aliya have the opportunity to do so!

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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