Thursday, July 28, 2011

[KollelH blog] Mass'ei - Yishuv Eretz Yisrael

In this week's parsha we learn the mitzvah of yishuv eretz yisroel. The passuk says vihorashtem es haaretz viyishavtem bah - you shall possess the Land and settle in it (33:53). The Ramban in his commentary on chumash explains that here the Torah is commanding us in a mitzvas assay to inherit and dwell in Eretz Yisroel. Similarly the Ramban counts this mitzvah in his count of mitzvos assay (number 4 of the mitzvos that the Rambam did not count).

There is an interesting discussion about the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisroel regarding where and when it can apply.

There are two unique aspects of Eretz Yisroel. One is that it is intrinsically holy. The second is that there are several mitzvos that only apply in Eretz Yisroel. For example terumah, maaser, and most other mitzvos pertaining to things that grow on the ground. The holiness of Eretz Yisroel exists as result of the promise that Hashem made to the Avos that He would give their children Eretz Yisroel. The mitzvos which are unique to Eretz Yisroel only apply when b'nai yisroel conquer the land. Even if they conquer a land that was not part of the originally 'Promised' Land, it will become obligated in the mitzvos of Eretz Yisroel such as terumah and maser.

The intrinsic holiness of Eretz Yisroel obligates us in a different manner. The Gemarah at the end of Kesubos (110b) discusses various halachos pertaining to Eretz Yisroel and the benefits of living there. For example, one may not leave Eretz Yisroel except under certain circumstances. Also, a husband or wife that desires to live in Eretz Yisroel can force their spouse to move to Eretz Yisroel. The benefits may apply to one who lives in Eretz Yisroel and even to one who is just buried there. The Gemarah informs us that one who lives in Eretz Yisroel has his avairos forgiven, and the Gemarah further relates how the Amoraim would kiss the stones of Eretz Yisroel, and roll in its dirt.

These halachos and benefits result from the intrinsic holiness of Eretz Yisroel due to the promise made to the Avos.

Since these two aspects of Eretz Yisroel are brought about by different causes, they can be mutually exclusive. There can be a place that has only the holiness of Eretz Yisroel without the mitzvos normally associated with Eretz Yisroel. Similarly there can be a place is that is obligated in the mitzvos of Eretz Yisroel while it does not possess the intrinsic holiness of other areas in Eretz Yisroel.

The Gemarah in Gittin 8b discusses the status of a land that a king of Yisroel conquers in an improper maner , for example according to Rashi if the king conquered the land for his own purposes not for the general public. The Mahari Korkus (Rambam hilchos terumos 1:2) explains that the discussion in the Gemarah concerning the status of such land is only with regards to the mitzvos that are applicable in Eretz Yisroel, however if part of the promised land is conquered in an improper manner it nevertheless remains holy. Therefore if a king improperly conquered a part of Eretz Yisroel which was promised to the Avos, it would not be obligated in mitzvos associated with Eretz Yisroel. However it would retain its holiness and the halachos & benefits pertaining to living in Eretz Yisroel would still be applicable.

The Radvaz (Rambam hilchos terumos 1:4) says that any land outside the borders of the original promise, (even if it was conquered properly) will only be considered Eretz Yisroel regarding mitzvos, however it will not receive the holiness of Eretz Yisroel.

It is unclear whether the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisroel is applicable only when the other mitzvos are applicable, or if it is dependent on the holiness of Eretz Yisroel regardless if it obligated in other mitzvos. The Gemarah in Gittin 8b says that one may transgress the rabanan prohibition of amirah l'akum on shabbos (ordering a goi to do a melacha) and order a goi to write a document for the acquiring a house in Suria because of mitzvas yishuv Eretz Yisroel. This is a clear indication that the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisroel applies even to land outside of the land promised to the Avos, since Suria was not part of the Promised Land.

The Gemarah in Yevamos 64a says that Avraham Avinu fulfilled the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisroel. Clearly the b'nai yisroel had not conquered Eretz Yisroel at that time. This indicates that although the land had only the holiness set forth by the promise to the Avos one is obligated in the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisroel.

We can conclude that the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisroel seemingly applies both to a land that has only the holiness of Eretz Yisroel, and to a land that only has the obligations of the mitzvos of Eretz Yisroel.

May we all be zocheh... B'Karov. {R.F.}

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Posted By KH to KollelH blog at 7/29/2011 01:27:00 AM

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