Arie E. Pelta

The Land of Our Nation (part 9 of 14)

104) How do we know that G-d has determined that the only place where the Jewish people belong can reach our full potential and fulfill our role in this world; is in Eretz Yisrael?

Our Kinyan of Torah is dependent on our Kinyan of our Nachalah of the Land of Israel.

Mechilta, BeShalach, Masechta DeShirah 9-10

Four things are called an acquisition (קנין): Israel [the Jewish people]…The Land of Israel…The Beis HaMikdash…The Torah…Let the people of Israel who are called a kinyan, enter the Land, which is called a kinyan, and build the Beis HaMikdash, which is a kinyan, in the merit of the Torah, which is called a kinyan. This is why it says, “This nation You have acquired” (Shemos 15:16) עם זו קנית.

Four things are called an inheritance נחלה: The Beis HaMikdash…The Land of Israel…The Torah…Israel [the Jewish people]…Said HaKadosh Baruch Hu, “Let the people of Israel, who are called a nachalah, enter Eretz Yisrael, which is called a Nachalah, and build the Beis HaMikdash, which is called a nachalah, in the merit of the Torah, which is called a nachalah.” This is why it says, “On the mountain of Your inheritance (Shemos 15:17) בהר נחלתך.

105) Is Israel the source of all good in the world?


Midrash Tanchuma, Kedoshim 12

And He gave the Jews Eretz Yisrael, which is the source of His provisions, karbanos come from it, lechem HaPanim come from it, Bikurim come from it all the goodness in the world comes from it…

106) Can Jews achieve maximum spiritual growth outside of Israel?


The Jewish Nation is incomplete without its Land just as a husband and wife are incomplete without each other. Three things are needed to achieve true Deveikus to Hashem: The Jewish Nation, The Land of Israel, and fulfillment of the mitzvos (which are really all dependent on the Land of Israel).

Sefer HaKuzari, Second Essay, 9-12

…Ultimately, this elite nation [The Jewish People] cannot achieve Divinity הענין האלהי anywhere else [only in Eretz Yisrael]…

Abarbanel, Yeshaya 5

It is clear that the Jewish Nation cannot attain perfection anywhere other than in the Chosen Land [Israel], the Land that Hashem your G-d seek out; his eyes are always upon it (Devarim 11:12)…In addition, the Neviim prophesized only in [Israel] or for its sake, and the Chachamim always yearned to dwell there [Israel] their entire lives…

107) Is it natural or healthy for the Jewish people to be in Chutz LaAretz?


The Jewish people belong in Eretz Yisrael; we cannot reach our full potential in Chutz LaAretz. We must live in Israel and be in control of it.

Netzach Yisrael (Maharal of Prague), chapter 1

One can truly understand [the nature of] something good by [understanding] its opposite…the reason for exile…the exile itself is a clear proof [that there will be a] redemption. This is so because exile is undoubtedly a deviation and departure from the [natural] order of things…He [Hashem] arranged [the people of] Israel in the place that suits them, which is Eretz Yisrael. Being exiled from their place is a total deviation and departure from nature…they cannot endure in a place that in unnatural to them. Rather, they return to the natural place…for the place that suits them [Jews] according to the order of existence is for them [Jews] to be in Eretz Yisrael, under their own rule, independent of others…

108) How is a Jew complete or deficient?

A Jew is deficient without Israel; and we are only complete when we live in Israel.

Sefer Chareidim (Rav Elazar Ezkari 1533-1500, Tzefat)

Every Jew must cherish Eretz Yisrael and come to it from the ends of the earth, with great yearning, like a son to his mother…After all, our primary sin, for which everlasting weeping was established for us, was the fact that we despised the Land of Israel and it says “They despised the desirable Land (Tehilim 106:24) וימאסו בארץ חמדה. And it also says regarding the redemption of our souls…”For your servants cherished her stones and favored her dust (Tehilim 102:15) כי רצו עבדיך את אבניה ואת עפרה יחוננו…This is why the Amoraim would  kiss Eretz Yisrael’s dust and stones when they arrived there…sing with  great love Shir Yedidut over the land. The song composed by Rav Yehuda Halevi…We sing it with great joy at the gravesite of Rav Yehuda bar Ilai [Ein Zeitim North of Zefat] every  Erev Rosh Chodesh, beseeching G-d not to expel us from the Land. The near and far, who live outside the Land, should yearn and crave for it, for just as G-d chose them, He also chose Eretz Yisrael and designated it for them…as Rav Shimon bar Yochai interprets the pasuk “Who is like Your people Yisrael, one nation in the Land? (Diverei HaYamim 17:21) ומי כעמך ישראל גוי בארץ?

109) How does the Land of Israel expand or contract, depending of the Jewish population?

When Hashem sees that Jews are making Aliyah in large numbers and thus need more space; He makes sure that additional portions of Israel are transferred to our hands. This occurred in 1967.  The Jewish population of the fledgling state grew from 600,000 (in 1948) to 2.5 million and needed room to expand. Despite G-d’s generosity and miracles, millions of Jews refuse to make Aliyah. So, we have been slowly losing control of parts of Eretz Yisrael since the 1990s. IF the Jews don’t need that much land than G-d makes our portion shrink proportionally.

Talmud Bavli, Gittin 57a

…Eretz Yisrael is called “The Land of the Deer” (Yirmiyahu 3:19) ארץ צבי. Just as the skin of a deer cannot contain its flesh once it has been flayed, so too regarding Eretz Yisrael. When the Jews dwell upon the Land, it expands, and when they do not dwell upon it , it contracts.

110) Are Jews living in the USA (Chutz LaAretz) considered part of Klal (kahal) Yisrael?


Talmud Bavli, Harayos 3a

…Why then must it say, [King Shlomo celebrated the Succos holiday and all of Klal Yisrael was with him] “From the approach of Chamat until the stream of Egypt” (Melachim I 8:65)? …From here we derive that Jews who live within the borders of Eretz Yisrael are called Kahal קהל “congregation” , but those who live outside the Land are not called “congregation” קהל.

111) Can true Rabbinic ordination (Semichah) be conferred upon someone in Chutz LaAretz?


Rambam, Commentary on Mishna, Bechoros 4:3

Know that the concept of expert מומחה  means one who has been ordained מוסמך…only a Beis Din ordained in Eretz Yisrael can be called a true Beis Din…For the people of Eretz Yisrael are called “congregation” קהל and Hashem considers them to be the entire congregation כל הקהל, even only ten individuals. And we do not pay attention to anyone else in Chutz LaAretz…

112) Can we have a Jewish calendar or Jewish Holidays without Jews living in Israel?


Because the absence of Jews in Israel, is tantamount to the destruction of the Jewish people. The Jews of Eretz Yisrael are the only true representatives of Klal (Kahal) Yisrael.

Jewish settlement of Israel is critical to the Jewish religion and national preservation.

Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvot, Positive Commandment 153

The 153rd Mitzvah is that Hashem commanded us to sanctify the months and calculate the months and the years. This is the mitzvah of Kiddush HaChodesh, and it is based on His statement: “This month shall be for you the beginning of months” (Shemos 12:2) החודש הזה לכם ראש חדשים…Rather, the Beit Din HaGadol alone performs this mitzvah (sanctifying the months), no one else, forever. And it can be performed only in Eretz Yisrael…

Know that the calculations we make nowadays, to determine when the new months and holidays fall out, cannot be made anywhere but in Eretz Yisrael…

…the fact that we, in Chutz LaAretz, currently calculate the Jewish calendar using the traditional intercalation methods, and we say for certain that a certain day is Rosh Chodesh or a holiday; under no circumstances do we establish that day as a holiday because of our calculations. Rather, we do so because of the Beit Din HaGadol in Eretz Yisrael already established that day as Rosh Chodesh or a holiday. Only because they said that today is Rosh Chodesh or a holiday is it Rosh Chodesh or a holiday…        

…The only reason we do the calculations today is to determine which day the inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael established as Rosh Chodesh…we rely on their determinations, not on our calculations. Our calculations simply reveal the matter…

…Let us suppose, for example, that the Jews of Eretz Yisrael would disappear from the Land, G-d forbid, that he should do such a thing…Also, let us assume that there would be no beit din there…our calculations [in Chutz LaAretz] would not help us at all. For we may not calculate the months or establish leap years in Chutz LaAretz…”For out of Zion the Torah will go forth and the word of Hashem from Yerushalayim” (Yeshaya 2:3) כי .מציון תצא תורה ודבר ה’ מירושלים

113) On who’s merit, do Jews around the world keep the mitzvos that depend on the Jewish calendar?

Only in the merit of those Jews who live in Eretz Yisrael, no matter how pious they may or may not be. The Jews living in Israel keep the Jewish nation alive.

Responsa Chasam Sofer, Orach Chaim 203

…the Rabbis were able to fix the calendar…after semichah was abolished however, the last ordained rabbis sanctified all the months and years until the coming of the Moshiach. Nevertheless, this will not help unless one Jew lives in Eretz Yisrael…for this one Jew, and the sanctity קדושה emanates from there to all of Israel. However, if the settlement in Eretz Yisrael would cease to exist in our days, G-d forbid, this sanctification would become null and void and most of the mitzvos would dissolve G-d forbid. Therefore, we must support Jewish settlement in the Land with all our strength…we must do this for ourselves, to uphold the words of this Torah, for without Jewish settlement there, the Torah would expire, G-d forbid.

Responsa Chasam Sofer, Yoreh De’ah 234

…everyone agrees that the sanctity קדושה of both Yerushalayim and Eretz Yisrael is everlasting קדושת עולמים…the Land is holy even nowadays…if, G-d forbid, not a single Jew would remain in Eretz Yisrael, even if Jews would live in Chutz LaAretz, it is considered the destruction of the nation, G-d forbid…The Rambam holds that the fact that the earlier sages calculated the years and months, and sanctified them, does not help unless some Jews remain in Eretz Yisrael, even winegrowers and farmers will establish the holidays, based on the calculations of those ancient sages, according to what they see in a particular calendar…In this way, the holidays are sanctified throughout the world. But if no Jews live in Eretz Yisrael, the calculations and sanctifications that the earlier sages made would be useless, and the entire Torah would be abrogated בטלה , G-d forbid, causing the Jewish nation to effectively cease to exist, heaven forefend, which is the destruction of the nation, G-d forbid…the Land’s sanctity has not diminished, and that it does not depend at all on the ability to fulfill mitzvos there. Rather, the Land itself is holy and Yerushalayim is holier.

114) Where is the only place in the world that the Jewish people are truly one nation?

Eretz Yisrael.

Nitivos Olam (Maharal of Prague), Netiv HaTzedakah, chapter 6

…”I am the Lord your G-d Who brought you out of the land Egypt, to give you the Land of Canaan, to be for you a G-d (Vayikra 25:37-38). What is this doing here, meaning why does it say, “to give you the Land of Canaan, to be for you a G-d”? The apparent explanation is as follows. When the Jews entered the Land, they became one, complete nation. The proof being  that before the Jews crossed the Jordan River and entered  the Land, they were not punished for each other’s hidden sins, until they crossed over and became responsible ערבים for one another…The Jewish people did not completely conjoin into one nation until they entered the Land and lived there together…And by way of Eretz Yisrael, they are absolutely one nation. This is why our pasuk says, “to be for you a G-d” because they have one common G-d…           

115) Are Jews in Israel and Chutz LaAretz both considered exiles גולים? Does the apostate (rejects Judaism/atheist) Jew have a right to live in Israel?

Only the Jews in Chutz LaAretz are considered exiles living in Galus. Jews living in Israel are home – they are not exiled and not in Galus. An apostate Jew has no place in Israel and should be encouraged to do Teshuva or leave.

Responsa Avnei Neizer, Yoreh De’ah 126:4 (Rav Avraham Bornstein of Sochatchov)

…Even though the Jews were exiled, their place is still in Eretz Yisrael, and when we are in another land, we are considered exiles גולים , for this is not our place. Our only place is in Eretz Yisrael, and it is a mitzvah to live there…Now even though Chazal say about an apostate מומר that he remains a Jew…nonetheless, he is also considered a gentile גוי. After all, he causes wine that he touches to be forbidden like libation wine יין נסך…it is obvious that the prohibition of “They shall not dwell in your Land lest they cause you to sin against Me” (Shemos 23:33) applies to him. And since he may not live in Eretz Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael is not his place at all…

116) Do USA Rabbis and observant Jews have an obligation to live in Israel?


Sefer Eretz Yisrael 25:15  (Rav Yechiel Tikochinsky 1872-1955)

…the main strength of Israel [the Jewish people] …is in Eretz Yisrael and every observant שומר תורה who lives here adds strength to the congregation קהל. Nowadays, when the gates of the Land are opened to us, thank G-d, every religious Jew דתי and every Rabbi must remember this and derive a lesson  לקח for themselves.

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.