Volume 31 Number 77
                 Produced: Sun Mar 26 10:36:15 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aliya and Ketuboth 110b
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Aliya and Kiruv (2)
         [Shoshana L. Boublil, Richard Fiedler]
Aliyah (2)
         [Eric Simon, Carl and Adina Sherer]
Number of frum Jews around the world
         [Dani Wassner]


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 00 23:54:00 -0400
Subject: Aliya and Ketuboth 110b

David Curwin wrote:
        "Why can a spouse force their partner to move to Eretz Yisrael?
I found the answer to that question in MeAfar Kumi by R' Tzvi Glatt...
R' Glatt goes so far as to say: "I didn't find in the Rishonim or the
Achronim, anyone who disagreed with the simple understanding that the
compelling to make aliya to Eretz Yisrael is because of the the mitzva
to live in Eretz Yisrael."

From: Sheri & Seth Kadish <skadish@...>

        It actually isn't so simple at all.  As R. YH Henkin has pointed
out, the very same mishna also allows one to force his/her spouse to go
up and live in Yerushalayim, and there is clearly no source anywhere for
an *obligation* to live in Yerushalayim!!

Sammy Finkelman:

I checked that page in the Gemorah (using a Soncino edition, which helps
a great deal)

Well, there is a Tosfos there that says that all of this does not apply
in the current day, because of the danger of travel to Eretz Yisroel. Of
course this was written in the 13th century (1200s) and he was referring
of course to the great danger of shipwrecks (there might not have been
such a problem in discussing moving from Bavel or places connecteed by
land to Eretz Ysroel 1,000 years earlier.

He then adds further that Rabbeinu Chaim (does anyone know who Rabbeinu
Chaim is?) said that now there is no mitzvah to live in Eretz Yisroel
because there are so many Mitzvahs that hinge upon the earth (of Eretz
Yisroel) (that we can no longer do?) and so many punishments (being
there?) that we are not allowed to take heed of or rely upon these
dicta. (hoping my understanding and transaltion is correct)

Put aside anything about how conditions may have changed from those of
800 or so years ago....

One point here seems to be that the reason for it being good to live in
Eretz Yisroel is that there are Mitzvohs that can only be done in Eretz
Yisroel. This possibly applied even after the temple was destroyed
because there was still Bikoorim, Shemitah and much that dealt with the
land, so that while now we are deprived of the opportunity to do
anything dealing with Korbanos there are still some things we are
deprived of outside Eretz Yisroel but not inside - and on those grounds
it is better to live there.

Rabbeinu Chaim, it sounds like, held that since the time of the Mishnah
(and incidentally who knows if this Mishnah does not predate the
destruction? Which would make it actually make a lot more sense because
then you lose the possibility of Korban Pesach and the refernce to
Jerusalem makes more sense too - and indeed could this Mishnah actually
originate after the destruction when no Jews could lie in Jerusalem for
many years)

Anyway, even if he held this was later or still applied later, he must
have held that the numbers of Mitzvahs possible had declined even
further, so we could not now rely on this Mishnah.

Regardless of how things could have improved again, note anyway that the
REASON it is considered better to be in erezt Yisroel is the possibility
of observing mitzvohs you could not do outside.

Now if somebody goes to Eretz Yisroel, but then, seeks heterim for not
observing laws like Shemitah, it seems to me then they are undermining
their ENTIRE Halakhic reason for going to Eretz Yisroel!

(aside from the idea that it is a place of Torah.)

By the way, since I don't think the Chief Rabbinate in Israel applies
the laws mentioned in Kisuvos, it seems to me that means they do not
hold according to way some posters here are claiming is the Halakhah,
and even those Rabbis that they might think do hold that way, if they
don't apply these laws about demanding a divorce, it means they do not
in reality hold that way at all.

Furthermore, there should have been much more encouragement of aliya in
the 18th and 19th centuries if it was something more than a kiyum
mitzvah. It must be therefore only that in Eretz Yisroel more of the
original mitzvahs can still be done, and if you are not going to do
them, you lose whatever special reason you may have for being there.

The upshot would then be, if someone wants to go there and do them,
fine, if someone does not want to, okay, and if someone will go there
and violate them, it is actually better not to go, especially if they
are likely to keep what they are currently obligated to do.

(This is aside, of course, from the Makom Torah argument, which might in
cases, apply - but that also is more in the nature of advice]


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 14:59:22 +0200
Subject: Re: Aliya and Kiruv

> Eric Simon writes:
> > I still don't understand it.  Are you saying that _only_ a Chabad
> > Tomorrow night, G-d willing,
> > about 30 non-observant Jews will be coming over to my house for a
> > shabbos dinner and torah discussion (being a former leader in the Reform
> > movement, I have an "in" to many non-observant Jews!).

What is possible is to realize that while each person who is acting for
Kiruv is important, he/she are not the only ones capable of doing this.
You can't live your whole life thinking about the next person to come
around the corner.

What can be done is to set a time limit, i.e. "I will work in the States
in Kiruv X years and then BE"H I will make Aliyah".  In that way you
have done your part, but not ignored your own obligation to come to
Israel and perform the mitzvot here.

Nowadays, there is a new Shaliach system whereby a shul can contact the
Yeshivot Bnei Akiva Kollelim/Hesder and young couples come out to the
states for a year or two (enough so there is always a local minyan).
They give Shi'urim locally etc.  In this way there are people acting in
Kiruv, but they have a time limit so they themselves return to Israel
and others come.

Shoshana L. Boublil

From: Richard Fiedler <dfiedler@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 06:04:08 +0200
Subject: Aliya and Kiruv

> From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
> Eric Simon writes:
>> It has to be somebody, no?  In fact, give the millions of non-observant
>> Jews in America, it has to be more than a few, don't you think?
> Yes, it has to be more than a few. However, I question whether anyone
> who is not doing kiruv work full time is capable of having a sufficient
> impact to justify their passing up the mitzva of living in Israel, and
> the many mitzvos that go with living in Israel, to stay in America and
> do kiruv work. 

Are we not really kidding ourselves. Those people who see the imperitive
mitzvah of Aliya have already made it. And those people who rationalize
their continued presence in America are perfectly capable of justifying
smoking cigarettes as a health treatment.

I think the real problem comes in lifestyle. It is very hard if not
impossible to make a living in Israel in Hinuch.

Religious Jews in the USA must accept the idea that there greatest
contribution to Om Yisrael can be found in bringing secular skills to


From: Eric Simon <erics@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 16:17:29 -0500
Subject: Aliyah

With all due respect, it seems that we are going round and round on this,
and not making much progress.

So I will keep my comments brief.

>> It has to be somebody, no?  In fact, give the millions of non-observant
>> Jews in America, it has to be more than a few, don't you think?
>Yes, it has to be more than a few. However, I question whether anyone
>who is not doing kiruv work full time is capable of having a sufficient
>impact to justify their passing up the mitzva of living in Israel, and
>the many mitzvos that go with living in Israel, to stay in America and
>do kiruv work.

I question your questioning!  As I mentioned, there are 40-60K Jews in
my area, and only two Chabad rabbis.  They can't do it all themselves.

>No. I am saying that in order for one to use one's kiruv work as
>halachic justification for staying in galus it should be a full (or at
>least a substantial part) time occupation.

Is this also a halachic determination?

>> Is every bochur in Lakewood and Ner Israel being told by their rebbes
>> to get up and leave for Israel, for good?
>That's not the question. The question is whether every bochur in
>Lakewood and Ner Yisroel SHOULD be told by his rebbe to get up and leave
>for Israel, for good.

So are you asserting that all the rebbes in Lakewood and Ner Israel are
being remiss in not advising their students to make Aliya?  Or that they
are and the students aren't listening?

>I submit, that unless each of those bochrim is
>going to have some massive impact on Klal Yisroel

Massive impact is quite subjective, don't you think?  For those that
believe that _all_ the Jewish souls are needed, each soul is of vital
importance, no?

>> Tomorrow night, G-d willing,
>> about 30 non-observant Jews will be coming over to my house for a

>I am not a full time kiruv person. I never have been (my NCSY days
>notwithstanding). Do you think you would not have the same opportunities
>for kiruv here that you have in Fairfax, Virginia?

That's not the point at all.  Sure, I'll have the same opportunities
almost everywhere, but, for some reason, my path has led me here to
Fairfax.  And it is here in Fairfax where I am changing some people's
lives that would not otherwise be changed.

>> "kol yisroel arevim zeh b'zeh", all of yisroel is responsible for one
>> another.  I take that very seriously.
>We all do. But our first responsibility is to those close to us (aniyei
>ircha kodmim - the poor of your city come first), to make sure that our
>children are raised in an environment of Torah, in an environment of
>kdusha (holiness).

OK.  If my first responsibility is to those who are close to me, doesn't
that imply that my responsibilities to the Jews in Fairfax is higher
than my repsonsibility to the secular Jews in Israel?

-- Eric

From: Carl and Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2000 02:40:18 +0200
Subject: Aliyah

Yosef Braun <yb770@...> writes:

>  There has been a lot of discuusion about the practise and attitude of
> many frum Jews to the mitsva of yishuv erets yisrael. Many of the
> posters seem to ignore the fact that rov minyan and rov binyan [how do
> you translate that?]  of shomrei mitsvos [frum] are currently not in
> erets yisrael? Wouldn't that imply something about the "significance"
> of this mitsva? 

No, it does not, at least according to the Gemara and the Rishonim.

> To suggest that they're simply lazy; seeking excuses
> and justifications etc. would IMHO be R"L [heaven forbid] motsi la'az
> on the majority of shomrei mitsva; perhaps worse than dibat ha'arets.

On what basis do you say that? There is a specific issur against saying
Dibat Ha'Aretz. I don't recall any specific issur against giving mussar
to people who think they are patur min hamitzvos (free from the
obligation to do mitzvos).

>  The reality, however, is that most gedolei yisrael throughout ALL
> generations, even post 5708 [1948], didn't emigrate to erets yisrael.

Until 1948 (at least) there were genuine dangers involved in GETTING to
Eretz Yisrael, let alone in being here. But obviously, many Gdolim did
make aliya - the Ramban, the Chazon Ish, the Steipler. And many others
tried - the Gra, the Chafetz Chaim, R.  Moshe Feinstein (yes, he tried
to get a visa to come to Eretz Yisrael in 1938, but he couldn't get one
from the Mandatory powers and by the time he could have gotten one he
felt that the Clal in America had come to rely on him too much for him
to make aliya).

But since 1948, those dangers have largely subsided. In 1967 it got a
bit easier to make aliya, and in the 90's it got even easier. Today,
there are relatively few obstacles to making aliya as compared with the
past. And there is more Torah learned in Eretz Yisrael than anyplace
else in the world, day in and day out. It's now nearly 2:00 A.M. and
there is a night Kollel less than 100 meters from my house, and an early
morning Kollel that starts at 4:30. That's quiet compared with the
daytime here.

Since Rav Moshe and Rav Yaakov were niftar, IMHO the balance of where
the Gdolim are has shifted to the point where (and I don't mean to get
into an argument about "my gadol is bigger than your gadol") "rov minyan
v'rov binyan" (the majority by number and by structure) of the Gdolim
are in Eretz Yisrael, whether they came here as olim or whether they
were born here.

> These were people who would do anything in their ability to be able to
> fulfil even a hiddur mitsva. Obviously, issues such as financial
> difficulty; social and family issues; local government policy etc.
> didn't have much weight in their eyes when it came to following the
> word of Hashem. So what was their justification? There was no need for
> justification. 

I think there was a need for a justification and I think the Gdolim at
least had it - the captain is usually the last person off the ship and
not the first to go. I mentioned the Chazon Ish before - one of the
reasons the Chazon Ish was able to come here was because he (purposely)
never developed a following in Europe and because he left so many other
Gdolim behind. If you want to compare yourself to them, you will have to
do a lot better than this.

> In fact , even the best excuse was never sufficient, in
> their eyes, to justify themselves refraining from kiyum hamitsvos.
> Rather, they simply didn't percieve it as a mitsva. 

On what basis are you saying that? Not a mitzva? At all?

See Rambam Hilchos Ishus 13: 19-20 and Hilchos Shabbos 6:11 and Igeres
HaShmad Min 4-5. Ramban in his Hasogos (glosses) to Sefer HaMitzvos
Mitzva 4. Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 75:3-4.  Rosh Ksuvos 13:18. Tur
Even HaEzer 75:3-4.

And while there are poskim who hold that one spouse cannot force the
other to make aliya today, I think we can safely say that mainstream
halacha would hold that there is (at least) a mitzva kiyumis (the
fulfillment of a mitzva) in making aliya today. The classic example of a
mitzva kiyumis is tzitzis, and I assume that you wear them too.

That doesn't even begin to consider the mitzvos involved in taking
trumos and maaseros, observing Shmitta, being able to fulfill the mitzva
of lulav and esrog all seven days of Succos (at least according to the
Rambam in Peirush HaMishnayos in Rosh HaShanna and Succa), and many
other mitzvos. Nor does it consider the chinuch (education) that your
children get by growing up in a Jewish environment....

> Moreover, some even were concerned that mass immigration to erets
> yisrael might be an issur.

Some were concerned. I assume this is a reference to the three shvuos
(Ksuvos 110b) which have been proven not to apply today by several
posters over the last month. Not to mention that neither the Rambam nor
the Shulchan Aruch brings them. And not to mention that YOU getting on a
plane and making aliya does not constitute mass immigration.

>  Historically, it was pretty-much a non-issue (with few exceptions)
> untill the chibath zion movement begun. 

No. According to R. Berel Wein (Triumph of Survival 218-231), the first
aliya started with disciples of the Gra and the "early Chasidic masters"
(presumably the Baal Shem Tov) in the "late 18th and early 19th
centuries." Chibas Tziyon started in the late 1870's and early
1880's. Yerushalayim had a Jewish majority by 1840.

> This movement, though led by some great geonim, was in opposition to
> the opinion of most gedolei yisrael of the time.

Rabbi Wein doesn't say that - on what basis do you make that statement?
Rabbi Wein lists many Gdolim who signed letters supporting the Chibas
Tziyon, among them R. Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer, R. Yitzchak Feigenbaum, the
Griz (R. Yosef Dov Ber HaLevi Soloveitchik), R. Yisrael Morgenstern
(Chassidic Rebbe of Pilov-Kotzk), the Malbim, the Lev HaIvri, the
Netziv, R. Shmuel Mohliver. In fact, the only people Rabbi Wein cites as
being opposed to the Chibas Tziyon were the Yismach Moshe (ironically,
there is a neighborhood in Bnei Brak named after him today) and the
Yetav Lev, both of whom were members of the Satmar dynasty.

>  Our literature is replete with sources and references about the
> conensus of most poskim on this matter. One need only look in the
> sefer tikkun olam which contains many letters of gedolei yisrael to
> this effect.

Like whom?

> See also sefer vayo'el moshe for a listing
> of the different opinions on this sensitive issue. 

VaYoel Moshe is also written by a member of the Satmar dynasty. 

> {Though his extreme opinion about zionism is quite different from
> mainstream in many ways, he does however provide valuable refeerences
> on this matter}.

Actually, Satmar's opposition to aliya to Israel was strictly halachic
in basis (they hold the three shvuos are still valid) and pre-dated 
Zionism. The Yismach Moshe lived from 1759-1841 according to 
Rabbi Wein, and he declared in the early 19th century that it was 
assur to make aliya - some sixty years before there was any such 
thing as secular Zionism. Have you ever been to Israel to visit? Do 
you think the Yismach Moshe would have approved of your coming 
to visit? :-) 

>  I do not wish to undermine the effort and good spirit that is being
> maintained to encourage peple to fulfill this INYAN 

I think you have tried to do a good job of undermining it. Hopefully 
you have failed. 

> (which some consider a mitsva; others -an issur);

I would say that only Satmar might consider it an issur to make aliya,
and for a movement that holds it to be assur to make aliya they sure
have a lot of Chasidim living here. You see there's this very large
Yeshiva building in the neighborhood called Ezras Torah which is across
the highway from me, and it's called "Yeshivas Yitav Lev d'Chasidei
Satmar." It's an awfully large Yeshiva for a movement that allegedly
holds it's assur to make aliya.... But in fact so many Satmar have made
aliya that their Rebbe came here to visit about 3-4 years ago. Maybe we
can knock them out of the issur column too....

-- Carl M. 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.


From: Dani Wassner <dani@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 12:20:57 +0200
Subject: RE: Number of frum Jews around the world

 From: Yosef Braun <yb770@...> writes 
> Many of the
> posters seem to ignore the fact that rov minyan and rov binyan [how do
> you translate that?]  of shomrei mitsvos [frum] are currently not in
> erets yisrael? 

	I beg to differ. There are over 5 million Jews in Israel today.
Between 30-35% call themselves "shomrei mitzvot" (usually means that
they keep Shabbat and kashrut as a minimum). That's about 1.75 million
frum Jews.  Now the US has less than 6 million Jews. I know that less
than 10 per cent call themselves "Orthodox" (and not all of them are
shomer mitzvot- they just go to Orthodox shuls). That makes aprox
300,000 frum Jews in the US and let's throw in another 300,000 frum Jews
in other countries in galut. (The next big community, Russia, has a tiny
frum community. The only other numerically significant- say over 10,000
frum Jews- frum communities are in the UK, France and Canada).

	That leaves us with just over half a million frum Jews in galut (at
most)and 1.75 million in Israel. Even if I have made a small error
somewhere, there are far more frum Jews in Israel than there are in the
whole of galut combined.

	Rov minyan and rov binyan!

Dani Wassner 
Ministry of Industry and Trade, Jerusalem
Investment Promotion Center 


End of Volume 31 Issue 77