Volume 25 Number 21
                       Produced: Fri Nov 22  1:32:56 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aliya (2)
         [Adina and Carl Sherer, Larry London]


From: Adina and Carl Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 08:28:20 +0000
Subject: Aliya

The delay in mlj going out has B"H given me a chance to catch up in 
my reading and the aliya thread caught my eye (not surprisingly).  
I'd like to make a few comments.

In Vol. 24 #66 Binyomin Segal writes:

"See there's a problem. I can not save only myself while others are
drowning all around me. I can not walk away from the countless souls
who barely know they are Jewish - and certainly know very little of
what that means. Who will teach the Assimilated Jews of America what
it means to be a Jew if not an orthodox community in the US. Go into
Ohr Sameach in Israel and see the bricks of that sukka that we are
sending to you to complete. Every year countless Jews in this country
are reunited with their Yiddishkeit - and it often starts with an
encounter with an Orthodox Jew - here in this country."

This reminds me of conversation my Rebbe had with us before Shavuos 
when I was in Yeshiva.  His words were very simple "none of you 
should be the tzaddik who says brachos for everyone." Yes, someone 
has to say birchos hashachar on Shavuos morning and to do that they 
have to have slept (i.e. not learned all night).  But why does it 
have to be *you*? I realize this isn't entirely fair because at this 
point you may well be stuck in chu"l because of your responsibilities 
to specific individuals.  But I would hope that if you ever didn't 
have those responsibilities you'd be on the next plane here.  Because 
there is plenty of kiruv work to be done here - both with secular 
Israelis and with English speakers who come here who've never seen a 
Shabbos but who because they are in Israel are suddenly open to the 
possibility of trying it.  Yes, there is even kiruv work to be done 
in Israel by people whose Hebrew is less than fluent.  For anyone 
else out there who is about to go into kiruv who is using their lack 
of Hebrew skills as an excuse, keep that in mind.

In Volume 24 #94 Larry London writes:

"I imagine it is more true in New York, but what religious Jews here
in Baltimore have done is to bring Israel to these Chesapeake shores.
We live in intensely Jewish neighborhoods where Shabbos is seen and
felt.  We shop in stores and eat in restaurants that are as intensely
Jewish as on any street in Israel.  We have our own religious and
Jewish political structure.  I'm not defending chutz l'aretz, I'm just
trying to explain to our Israeli brothers how a religiou Jews can ride
the subway while reading the Wall Street Journal.  We have turned
Friday night into Shabbos, and in many neighborhoods have turned golus
into Israel."

The meraglim (spies) that Moshe Rabbeinu sent to Eretz Yisrael had a 
remarkably similar argument.  According to one view that tried to be 
melamed zchus (find merit) for them, the reason they did what they 
did was that they felt that they would be able to learn Torah better 
in the desert where all of their physical needs were taken care of 
and they would be able to concentrate full time on their spiritual 
needs.  (I was unable to find the commentary that says this last 
night although I did find something similar in the name of the 
Akeidas Yitzchak). 

Moshe Rabbeinu, on the other hand, took a different view.   The 
Gemara in Sota 14a asks why Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to go into Eretz 
Yisrael - did he need to eat its fruit or to be filled up with its 
goodness? He wanted to fulfill the mitzvos that are only fulfilled in 
Eretz Yisrael.  Hashem therefore gave him reward as if he had 
fulfilled them.  We are not Moshe Rabbeinu.  The only way we can 
fulfill the mitzvos of Eretz Yisrael is by being here.  Do your kids 
know what Kedushas Shviis is? Can they pick up a Tanach and not only 
know where every place referred to is located but also read it as if 
it were a story book? And how do you even begin to compare Shabbos is 
Yerushalayim to Shabbos in Baltimore? The same aura of Kedusha? 
Really? Have we so little appreciation for what is truly Holy?

In Volume 24 #95 Mordy Gross writes:

"In responding to the issue raised by Nachum Chernofsky, I'll have to
bring up a semi-controversial issue, if there is a mitzvah to live in
Eretz Yisroel even though we were 'booted'. Although the Ramban [in
chumash] does say that many mitzvos can not be completed correctly
while in Golus, does this mean we should all pack our bags and go to
E.Y. on the nearest plane? Obviously, this would be unfeasable, and
mostly impossible for the approx. million Orthodox Jews living in

But why can't *you* pack your bags and go?

"Money and jobs are the biggest problems."

And emunah and bitachon are the answers.  And by the way, if you're 
in computers (as I suspect much of this list is) there is a 
*shortage* of computer programmers here that is forcing Israeli 
companies to send work to India among other places.  Somehow, Israel 
has managed to absorb 700K Russians in the last five years - do you 
think that we couldn't absorb you? Why aren't you at least willing to 

"But I feel there is another problem, halachically, because we were, 
after all, put in Golus.  Many seforim deal with this question, namely 
V'Yoel Moshe, from the Satmar Rav ZT"L. The Rishonim on the first Daf 
in Gitin also deal with this."

How many other piskei halacha of Satmar do you follow? I've discussed 
those shvuos in an earlier post.  In Volume 21 #20 I wrote:

"*None* of these three oaths are, to the best of my knowledge, quoted
by the Rambam or the Shulchan Aruch.  The Rambam does bring Rav
Yehuda's quote of anyone going from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael violating a
positive commandment (Hil. Melachim 5:12) but he changes it slightly. 
Instead of referring to going to Eretz Yisrael the Rambam says going
from Bavel to "other lands".  The Lechem Mishna explains that this was
because Bavel was a place of Torah.  It also seems that Tosfos does
not hold this way because in Tosfos on Daf 110b (which I will deal
with shortly) he explains why one does *not* have to go to Eretz
Yisrael today, and he doesn't mention the three oaths which appear on
the next page in the Gemara.  If Tosfos held that the oaths were still
valid, why didn't he mention them? I have heard various explanations
as to why the oaths no longer apply today - the two most popular ones
seem to be that they refer to the period before the second Temple was
built and that the non-Jews violated their oaths so we are no longer
bound by ours.  There are also those who hold that because the Balfour
Declaration constituted a permit from a nation that was sovereign over
Eretz Yisrael to Jews to come live in Eretz Yisrael, everything that
came thereafter is Pikuach Nefesh and in fact the oaths have not been
violated (if anyone out there is from Satmar or Neturei Karta I would
be interested in hearing why the oaths *are* still valid today)."

And in any event - have you visited Israel as a tourist? If the three 
shvuos (oaths) are still in effect, do you think that's permitted? Is 
there an exception for tourists? Or is coming here on a 747 coming 
up "kachoma"? I fail to see the distinction - those gentiles who are 
opposed to our being here are no less opposed to our being here as 

In Volume 25 #04 Binyomin Segal writes:

"in defense of mr london's idea of creating israel in chutz laaretz -
though emotionally i agree with his attackers and find the idea hard
to swallow - an intellectual investigation will find support for this
idea in the gemara and poskim. the gemara discusses the special status
of bavel different from other lands - and a careful look at the gemara
(ktuvos 110b-111a) and the rambam (melachim 5:12) and esp. the kesef
mishna there seems to offer possible support for mr london's ideas."

I think that a careful look at that Gemara and at the Rambam 
indicates that they are talking specifically about *Bavel* and that 
it was because of Bavel's special excellence in learning.  Go back 
for a second to the difference I pointed out in Vol. 21 #20 about the 
difference between the Gemara in Ksuvos and that Rambam. I said:

"The Rambam does bring Rav Yehuda's quote of anyone going from Bavel 
to Eretz Yisrael violating a positive commandment (Hil. Melachim 
5:12) but he changes it slightly.  Instead of referring to going to 
Eretz Yisrael the Rambam says going from Bavel to "other lands".  The 
Lechem Mishna explains that this was because Bavel was a place of 

Do you honestly think that the Yeshivos in America today are so 
superior to those in Eretz Yisrael? Funny, then how come so many
serious American bochrim and yungeleit come here to learn? I don't
think the Rambam would approve of American Jewry's attitude to Mitzvas
Yishuv Ha'Aretz - at least not based on that Rambam.

In Volume 25 #06 Eli Friedwald writes:

The view of Tosfos Rabbinu Chaim (Ketuvot 110b) to the effect that
there is no mitzvah 'bizman hazeh', is often quoted. However, at least
one authority (I believe the Mordechai) states that this view is a
'da'at yachid' (minority opinion), or worse still a 'ta'ut sofer'

No, it's not the Mordechai.  I answered that Tosfos at length last 
year also.  In Volume 21 #20 I wrote:

"Tosfos in the same Gemara at 110b gives two other reasons for not
going to Eretz Yisrael.  He says in the portion starting "Hoo Omer"
(commenting on the Gemara which says that if a husband wants to make
aliya and the wife does not then she is forced to make aliya or he may
divorce her without paying her Ksuva) that this does not apply today
because there is "sakanat drachim" (danger on the way) and then he
brings Rav Chaim Cohen who says that there is no mitzva to live in
Eretz Yisrael today because we cannot properly perform the mitzvos
which must be performed there.

"I will take the second argument first.  The Gilyon Maharsha at the end
of the Gemara brings a Tshuvos Maharit who states that this "Rav Chaim
Cohen" was a later insertion of a "Talmid Toeh" (a mistaken student).
But even assuming that this is not a mistake, can it be said that we
can't fulfill the mitzvos properly? Granted we don't know who is a
Cohen or a Levi today with 100% certainty but IMHO that should not
stop us from living in Eretz Yisrael - we still can separate the
Trumos and Maasros and leave them to rot.  (This leaving aside for a
minute that there have been no Maasros given to the Leviim since the
time of Ezra because he penalized them for not coming up to build the
Second Temple). Shmita can *certainly* still be kept today - people do
it every seven years.  So what mitzvos are there that are applicable
when there is no Temple that *cannot* be performed today?  It seems to
me that each of the problems has an acceptable Halachic solution.

"As to the "sakanat drachim", this refers to danger on the way to Eretz
Yisrael - not to danger *in* Eretz Yisrael (leaving aside for a minute
that the streets of Jerusalem are much safer than the streets of New
York City).  Sakanat drachim referred to boats sinking, caravans being
attacked, etc.  And yet even in Tosfos' time Jews kept coming here -
the Rambam, the Ramban and many others.  It is well known that the
Chafetz Chaim planned to come to Eretz Yisrael and never made it.  How
can anyone seriously argue that there is sakanat drachim involved in
coming to Eretz Yisrael and then get on a plane and come here for two
or three weeks as a tourist and then go back to America? IMHO the
metzius (state of facts) has changed since that Tosfos was written. 
And in today's metzius, I don't find the argument of sakanat drachim
very convincing."

Later in his post Eli writes (after discussing VaYoel Moshe by the 
Satmar Rov zt"l):

"A quite different and remarkable sefer was written by a Hungarian Gaon
in 1943, titled 'Em Habonim Samechah'. The author, a Rav Teichtel, was
an Av Beis Din of a large community, who was forced into hiding by the
Nazis and eventually met his death at their hands. This remarkable
sefer (two or three hundred pages in length) was written by the author
while in hiding, often quoting from memory as his sefarim were not
available to him. He ranges across the full scope of
Scriptural,Talmudic and Midrashic literature and concludes that all
the terrible suffering and persecution of the last few decades was a
signal from Hashem that the Jewish communities of Europe should uproot
themselves to the newly forming nation-state in Eretz Yisrael. He
berates the leadership of his and previous generations, for not
reading the signals, or learning the lessons. In this wonderful sefer
(recently republished in Eretz Yirael) he deals brilliantly with the
question of the 'oaths', the view of Ramban, Rambam,Tosfos, the nature
(miraculous or natural) of the final redemption and much more. But
above all, he speaks from the heart in a totally convincing fashion.
This sefer should be in everyone's bookshelf, as a companion (or
counterweight) to their Vayoel Moshe !"

You left out what may be the most important fact - I was told by the 
person who gave me the sefer that Teichtel was a Satmar himself. 

I apologize for the length of this post and for the fact that much of 
it rehashed a post I did a year ago.  I hope that by this time next 
year all of us will have been zocheh (privileged) to move to Eretz 
Yisrael and to greet Mashiach Tzidkenu.

-- Carl Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

Carl and Adina Sherer

From: Larry London <llondon@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 14:37:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Aliya

Dear Adina and Carl,

     First, refuah shelaima to your son, Boruch Yosef.  Our son is Yosef
Boruch so I can more closely feel a parent's anguish.  I hope everything
works out for you.

     It would be hard to respond to each and every point, fine points
that you made.  In some respects you're preaching to the choir.  I got
involved in this discussion not to defend c"l, but just to EXPLAIN it to
our brothers in Israel.  For many in galut, things now happen to be just
fine indeed, and frum Jews read the Wall Street Journal on their way to
work (which was the ire of the origional poster).

This past winter we returned from visiting our son at KBY.  We had not
been in Israel for 10 years.  We felt like Rip Van Winkel.  It was not
the Israel we saw last in 1984.  We had good weather, we met good
people, we got around just beautifully.  We picked out a dozen spots
that we could move to in a heart beat, and probably will.  Ironically,
it would not be "aliya" but rather moving from Maryland to "New Jersey."
No, I did not see much difference between Neve Aliza in the Shomron and
Kemp Mill in Silver Spring.  Same kids, same parents, same davening,
same homes, same jobs, same topics of interest.  The only exception is
that Neve Aliza parents wash their kids' army uniforms every weekend,
while Kemp Mill parents do not.

     I think your Bavel analogy is good.  Too often people use another
Holocaust as the reason for everyone moving to E"Y.  Yes Israel has good
climate, and good jobs, but so does Costa Rica.  Obviously it's kedushat
E"Y that is the draw.  As to who has better torah, Lakewood, Telz, Ner
Israel, Mirrer, Torah V'daath versus Ponavich, Gush, Mercaz, etc., maybe
we should have a Torah Olympics.

     One poster in this recent round of discussion said something that
still echoes in my ears.  He quoted a Lubavitcher Rav who allegedly said
something like: Mach Yirushalyim Du, make Jerusalem HERE (c"l).
Millions of Jews lived and died in c"l and lived that edict.  It's a
fact.  I'd like to think that the good ones went to heaven.

     We can beat this subject to death.  Adina, Carl, you have a great
country, or better said WE have a great country.  We in c"l may have
succeeded in putting a bit of E"Y in our neighborhoods, but darn it
guys, with your McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, cellar phones and strip malls,
you guys are not exactly 16th century Kabbalists in Safed.

     Best wishes to you all.
                                Larry London


End of Volume 25 Issue 21