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Showing Questions in 'Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)'

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Question No. 434
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted 23 Apr 2004
The Question I have a traditionally observant close relative who lives in Israel as I do. She couldn't understand how my Yeshiva will not be taking off for Yom Haatzmaut. Please could you advise the best way to respond to such a question in a way that someone coming from that more traditional and Zionistic background could understand? Thanks so much for making yourself available for our questions! Anonymous, Jerusalem
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 408
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Early 2004
The Question We have a 4 year old apricot tree which is just now producing fruit. Is the fruit permitted to us or do we have to wait 3 years from the time it starts to give fruit? Shoshana Roth, Torrence, CA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 360
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Early 2004
The Question I teach college and prepare students for debate using factual material. I have been unable to find research or academic level material against yeshiva draft. Can you help? Thank you Linda Wolff, Israel
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 279
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question Kvod HaRav Shlita, Shalom U'Vracha, Thank the Rav VERY much for taking from his time to answer my questions. This question is a "follow-up" to question 265, in which the Rav mentioned Rav Moshe Feinstein's ZTs"L Psak regarding the chiyuv of living in Eretz Yisrael today, that it is "…only a voluntary Mitzva.". It is on the understanding of this Psak, that I would respectfully ask the Rav's help. As far as I am able to understand the Igrot Moshe, Even HaEzer, Siman 102, the Rav says: 1. Most Poskim agree that living in Eretz Yisrael IS a mitzvah today. 2. By living in Eretz Yisrael one fulfills a mitzvah 3. For Rav Feinstein ZTs"L the justification for living outside of Eretz Yisrael stems from R' Chaim of the Tosfot in Ketubot who feared that due to the extreme holiness of Eretz Yisrael and the mitzvoth inherent in living there, and due to our lack of knowledge in how to maintain the appropriately holy lifestyle required, we are therefore exempt of the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael. It is on the last point that I would ask the RAv's help, seeing that it is seemingly upon this point that the Rav ZTs"L bases his Psak . As to the aforementioned Tosfot in Ketubot, HaRav Yizchok Nissim A"H, former Rishon LeZion quoted the RIMAT A"H "…and even R' Chaim of the Tosfot didn't negate the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael in times when there was no danger on the travels there(Sakanat Drachim)….", and HaRav Chaim David HaLevi A"H writes"…and we can't trust AT ALL his(R' Chaim's) preposition(that there is no mitzvah now of living in Eretz Yisrael), since a mistaken student(Talmid ToEh) wrote it(misquoting R' Chaim)." But even if we accept the validity of R' Chaim's teaching as presented in the Tosfot in Ketubot, The SHL"A HaKadosh wrote "The holiness of Eretz Yisrael is like Gan Eden, even now while desolate, and she (Eretz Yisrael) is the gate to heaven for prayers to rise, as there is no possibility for them to ascend other than through there and then from there to the site of The Holy of Holies. AND I REJECT THE SATEMENTS THAT SAY THAT TODAY THERE IS NO MITZVAH TO LIVE IN ERETZ YISRAEL DUE TO THE UNIQUE MITZVOTH AND PUNISHMENTS FOR THOSE WHO TRANSGRESS THEM THERE. QUITE THE OPPOSITE, FORTUNATE IS HE WHO IS ABLE TO GO THERE (AS LONG AS THERE IS NO DANGER) AND BE AS ONE WHO HAS G-D AND THERFORE SHOWS THAT HE CLINGS TO G-D, AND HAS THE SHECHINAH REST ON HIM." In another place in the Igrot Moshe, Yoreh DeAh 122, the Rav says there (and it is with awe and trepidation that I paraphrase his words), that there can be no Halachic injunction today to live in Eretz Yisrael, as due to our dispersion amongst the far corners of the earth, it would be too difficult to reach Eretz Yisrael. While perhaps a valid point many years ago, is this relevant today? Today B"H, Eretz Yisrael is the center for Torah learning in the world. Millions of Jews live here in a free and open society in a high standard of living. Life expectancies and health care are among then highest in the world. Opportunities for livelihood are myriad and Tefilla and Torah learning have never been more accessible in any time in the past two thousand years. It is possible today to arrive in Eretz Yisrael, SAFELY from any point on the earth, as opposed to the hardships our forefathers had to endure when they came. In our times, the gates to Eretz Yisrael are easily and affordably opened. No pirates or plagues wait to ambush the Jew on his way here. And while there are dangers here, there are dangers (spiritual and physical) everywhere in the world, including supposedly "safe" places like America. In light of all this, and in light of the fact that Rav Feinstein's opinion is a minority opinion regarding the chiyuv of living in Eretz Yisroel today, how should a Torah observant Jew in Eretz Yisroel regard his brethren who choose to live in the exile? With tefillot for our speedy redemption, and with great love and thanks to the Rav Shlita. Akiva
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 265
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question Kvod HaRav Shalom U'vracha, I thank the Rav very much for taking the time to answer my questions. This one is a follow up to the Rav's answer to question 262. Allow me to say though, that I am by no means trying to be argumentative. I am simply trying to gain some insight into a sugiyah which I mull over very frequently, namely, the chiyuv of aliyah to Eretz Yisrael, and how to address those frum Jews who choose to live in the galut(especially America). If I understand the Rav's answer in 262, in which he compares the P'tor(and subsequent need to "at least consider aliyah", and "ask a Rav") from living in Eretz Yisrael to that of a person who for health reason's must ask a Rav before fasting on Yom Kippur, or keeping Shabbat, then how does the Rav explain the fact that the vast majority of frum Jews keep Shabbat and fast on Yom Kippur, but the vast majority of frum American Jews do not EVER make aliyah. If the chiyuv and subsequent reasoning behind P'torim of the Mitzvot are similar(as understood from the Rav's answer in 262), then wouldn't we expect similar percentages of observance(or non-observance)? And isn't the fact that the opposite is true, and that there seems to be a great level of "shichahchat Tzion" amongst American frum Jews, my original question stands. Isn't it time that we Torah observant Jews of Eretz Yisrael demand the observance of the Mitzva of Yishuv eretz Yisrael from our brethren in the exile? How can we further condone the presence of hundreds of thousands of seemingly Torah observant Jews in America when the overwhelming majority are there without halachic sanction. After all, aren't the reasons for a Jew being in Chul are very clear? Aren't the frum Jews of America "over Mitzvat aseh" every day of their existence? And if so, doesn't it behoove us to tell them so? Kol Tuv. With great respect and thanks for the Rav, and with Tefilot for Yeshuot V'Nechamot. Akiva, Eretz Yisrael
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 262
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question Kvod HaRav, Shalom U'Vracha, I have heard the Rav answer others regarding the Chiyuv of moving to Eretz Yisroel, that they should "at least consider it", and ask advice from a Rav regarding the matter. I have also read the Rav's chapter in "To dwell in the palace". Isn't that akin to telling a person "Before eating kosher or fasting on Yom Kippur, or keeping Shabbat, you should ask a Rav, or at the least seriously consider doing those things." ? If Yishuv Eretz Yisroel is a Mitzva D'Oreisa, upon which ALL other mitzvot are dependent, then isn't it about time we, Torah observant Jews in Eretz Yisroel spoke clearly about the matter, and adopt the attitude of Reish Lakish in Maseches Yoma, when he tells Rabba Bar Bar Channa "Elaha, Sanina Lahu", because, as the mefarshim bring down, if the Jews of the Galus would have returned in the time of Ezra, they would have brought the Shechina and the Geula with them(I have seen Rav Unterman ZTZ"L write" I change the language a bit, and say that if YOU, the Jews of today’s exile would have come back to Eretz Yisroel at the inception of the State of Israel, YOU would have brought the Shechinh with you)....How wonderfully different things here in Eretz Yisroel would be in we had another 100 or 200 thousand frum Jews. I GREATLY thank the Rav for his attention, and wish him his family and Kehilla Besorot Tovot. Akiva, Eretz Yisrael
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 225
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question How is it that so many frum Jews, amongst them many Rabbanim as well as Gedolim, seem to make no serious effort at any point in their lives to settle in Eretz Yisrael despite its being a mitzva and its being a means to perform mitzvos hatluyos ba'aretz and especially in light of the Ramban's famous view on the matter of yishuv Eretz Yisrael? Would one not expect yere shamayim who are medakdek in so many mitvos, to be medakdek in the mitzva of yishuv Eretz Yisrael as well? Yisrael Kaniel, Beit Shemesh
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 192
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question I attend a Bais Yaakov High School, and have been taught there that Yom Haatzmaut should not be celebrated. I've always wondered why this is so. What is the reason that the Gedolim give for this? At home my family certainly acknowledge the day and do go to celebrations. so I've always been interested in the reason behind my school's opinion. Thank You. Tamar, Toronto
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 183
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question Are the Arabs in Israel today the actual descendants of Yishmael? If so, how does Mohamed connect to Yishmael? Another question, did the Jewish women in the biblical times cover their faces like some of the Arab women do today? Thank you anonymous
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 163
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question I came across a letter of yours in which you outline the Halachic reasons for living in Eretz Yisrael. I am seeking to return to Israel, I lived in a very troubled neighborhood (Pardess Katz in Bnei Brak) for many years, making Aliyah with my family in 1970. In 1992, after physical and emotional traumas, I decided to return to the States with my son and to gain some insight into healing my condition, find a shidduch and continue learning. Suffice to say that 10 years later, I am still gaining insights and continuing learning (B"H - Torah - Mussar - Be'ikar), though a shidduch is yet forthcoming. I would like to return as in the interim my son has also returned (after completing army service he is now studying in a Lubavitcher Yeshivah). My main concern is where to live. I am seeking to live in a Mussar-devoted moshav - or yishuv - away from cities but close to the kevarim. It wouldn't be such a difficult endeavor to undertake, except that I would be returning with 3 cats who I wouldn't leave here, that just translates into anyplace that I choose (or is chosen) to live in must also accomodate these 3 creatures of Hashem without it being seen as *tumah* or *strange*. Is there any such place that you know of? For if there is, surely I will be happy to consider wrapping things up here and alighting once again on to the Land. Thank you Yechidah Sarai, Woodstock, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 146
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question I have had a yearning to fullfill the mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael since becoming frum 12 years ago. My wife had never been to Eretz Yisrael until this year, and therefore could not make a commitment. Now that she has visited, she still will not seriously consider moving. I am so uncomfortable living in chutz l'Aretz and suffering such strong pangs to live in HaAretz, that I even considered compelling my wife to move under the threat of divorce. This is something I do not want to do as I love my wife, but my love of HaAretz is equally as strong. What should I do? I believe that the ruchnius my family and I would be improved by living in E.Y. However, I have no idea how we would survive financially, in the long-term. Is it better that we pursue improved spirituality by making aliyah at the potential destruction of our financial security, or remain in chutz l'Aretz, where the economy is better? Thank you. Anonymous
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 134
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question I am becoming "deaf" from the pervasively resounding silence that has encompassed the religious world here in Eretz Yisrael. It is becoming increasingly "deafening" day by day. What is this "silence"? It is the silence of our religious leaders-our gedolai b'Yisrael who have yet to give off their unified "scream" to the world. "Gevolt geshriggen"--we've had enough of this horrendous bloodshed. Since I can't hear too well anymore, I'll simply ask the question "does anyone recall hearing a loud scream coming from our religious leaders?" Has anyone seen anything in the press lately as to what the position of K'lal Yisrael is [should be] with regard to the current crisis that is having a devastating impact on our precious lives? How much longer can we bear the brunt of the mindless cruelties and atrocities being committed against our people by Arab and Islamic terrorism? How much longer can we sit at home worrying until our loved ones return safely from learning, work, or other normal daily activities? Regarding question 110 submitted to your website a short time ago-(about voting in the upcoming Israeli elections) : What parties does the rav consider to be ones that follow Da'as Torah? Are the only choices I have Yahadut HaTorah and Shas? I don't see either of these parties doing much about anything. Am I to understand that if we consider ourselves to be "fruma yidden" [Jews guided by halacha] living our lives in accordance with da'as Torah (Rabbinical guidance), then are we not able to vote our conscience and select the party that we feel has its act together with a platform that is in the best interests of our people? How about a party such as Herut/Yamin whose leaders have done their homework and have developed a constitution, guided by Torah principles, with an emphasis on Jewish nationalism? Such a party as Herut/Yamin is totally against the formation of a Palestinian state within our borders. Moreover,it is totally against the foolish, and heretofore suicidal concept of "land for peace" [albeit the pekuach nefesh principle of Jewish law]. Has it not yet become clear to any informed person that no matter what we do, or do not do, we are in a constant life threatening stage. How can we give away our land? That is against Torah law, is it not? Is it not proper for a Torah observant Jew to vote his conscience, thereby "turning up the sound to this deafening silence" that has become pervasive and stultifying within K'lal Yisrael? Maybe, just maybe, our unified "scream" to the world via the media [our Torah hasbara] will make the world sit up and take notice. Our silence does not seem to be doing the job! Respectfully, From a deeply concerned, frustrated, and "hearing-impaired" resident in Har Nof Thank you. Anonymous, Har Nof
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 110
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question How should halacha guide one's voting in the Israeli elections? Specifically, could one vote for a party like Likud which doesnt always represent halachic values? If so, should one vote for Feiglin who is trying to bring Jewish values into the Likud, even though it seems like a wasted vote. Even more, a vote for Feiglin would probably take away from Netanyahu who is against a Palestinian state and would help Sharon who is for a Palestinian state? Zev Stark, Kiryat Moshe Years ago, I heard Rav Kahane speak in Y.U. (before Oslo naturally). At the time, he made an interesting statement. He said that he would sooner vote for a leftwing religious government before a nonr eligous rightwing government. I realize that there are rightwing religious parties, but I was still wondering how the Rav feels about this statement. Reuvein Binyamin Chaim, Har Nof
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 106
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question If Yakov had to keep Mitzvot in Eretz Yisrael, and therefore could not be married to two sisters once he entered the land, then does the fact that Rachel died in Beit Lechem imply that Beitlechem is not part of Eretz Yisrael? David, Flint
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 93
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question Does the isur of sfichin in Shmita totally preclude the possibility of picking vegetables that grow in Eretz Yisrael? If it does, then how can vegetables be picked at all within an otzar beis din framework? Does this mean that all vegetables during Shmita must come from the sixth year or from outside Eretz Yisrael or non-Jewish owned land in Eretz Yisrael? I've found this issue confusing. Please clarify. Yisreael Kaniel, Beit Shemesh
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 86
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question How much Hishtadlus must one do in Israel in this present time? Meaning: If one lives in the Shtachim, should he only drive in a bullet proof vehicle, bullet proof vest, or is there a certain percentage of danger which would require one to take more extreme steps? Also should one use only taxis in Jerusalem and not travel on buses because many people say it is safer? Or is one suppose to continue living the way they always did, just one should be more careful when needed? Thank You in Advance
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 56
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question I want to go to Israel for a year to learn Torah, but the only redeeming factor of this idea, in my parents' minds, is that I would be going to tour the Jewish country, Unfortunately, currently I wouldn't be doing much touring because of the matzav. So can you suggest anything for me to tell them that they might appreciate and in turn allow me to go without disowning me? Thanks. Anonymous, New York
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 51
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question After listening ot your answer to question #3, I was wondering where is the prohibition for Jews to emigrate to Israel en masse. David
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 23
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Mid 2002
The Question Regarding question #11; With all due respect, Rabbi, I feel like you didn't address the issue regarding transferring our enemies out of Israel. Binyamin Lemkin, Beit Shemesh
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 19
Category Eretz Yisrael (Israel Topics)
Date Posted Mid 2002
The Question What's your opinion on going to the army. Is it forbidden, frowned upon, tolerated, encouraged or admired? I can see the most promising yeshiva students being exempted. There are today so many people learning Torah, if we let the top 10% learn without going to the army, and everyone else did a certain amount (even short) of time in the army, would that make a Kiddush Hashem, and the yeshiva students could go and have a positive effect on the rest of the population. It seems, in my humble estimation, that we could do alot more good that way. Thank you for your time. Reuvein Schneider, Jerusalem
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


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