Living in Israel

From Halachipedia
(Redirected from Yishuv Eretz Yisrael)

This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
  1. There is a mitzvah to make aliyah even if that means leaving one’s parents outside Israel.[1]
  2. Some hold that it is permitted to make aliyah even if it means that one is leave one's parents and not fulfill kibud av.[2]
  3. It is permitted to leave Bavel or any other country today to live in Israel.[3]
  4. Many authorities holds that it is a mitzvah to make Aliyah and live in Israel nowadays and there's no prohibition involved.[4]
  5. Visiting Israel is a mitzvah according to some poskim. Some say that it is a mitzvah as long long as you walk 4 amot in Israel. Some say it is only a mitzvah if you live there for 30 days and some say it is only if you live there for a year or more.[5]

Raising Cattle in Israel

  1. There is a prohibition to raise livestock in Israel today since it could go and graze in someone else's field and steal.[6]

Taking Sefarim out of Israel

There is an interesting and lesser-known Talmudic prohibition against taking sefarim, holy books, out of Eretz Yisrael.[7] There is even a view that sefarim brought from chutz la’aretz to Eretz Yisrael must remain there.[8] The reason the rabbis instituted this prohibition was in order to ensure that there would always be sefarim in Eretz Yisrael for people to learn from. It is also noted that ensuring that there are sefarim for people to enjoy and learn from contributes to the mitzva of yishuv Eretz Yisrael, settling the Land of Israel.[9]

Another reason for this enactment was that it was felt that taking sefarim out of Eretz Yisrael lowers their level of holiness. Indeed, Eretz Yisrael, and anything holy that is in it, such as sefarim, assumes an additional measure of holiness, while in chutz la’aretz there is no such concept.[10] In fact, it seems that at one time, even taking sefarim out of Jerusalem to use in other cities in Eretz Yisrael was frowned upon. This is because the holiness of Jerusalem is greater than the holiness of any other place in Eretz Yisrael. Therefore, removing sefarim from Jerusalem was also seen as lowering their level of holiness, even if they would remain in Eretz Yisrael.[11]

Nevertheless, there have always been a number of exceptions to this rule. For example, it is permitted to ship sefarim to chutz la’aretz that were written or printed with the specific intention that they would be sent there.[12] So too, a Torah scholar who moves from Eretz Yisrael to chutz la’aretz is permitted to take his personal sefarim library with him. It is also permitted to take sefarim out of Eretz Yisrael when one’s intention is to bring them back, such as when going on a trip and one wants to take some sefarim for the journey.[13]

Almost all contemporary halachic authorities rule that in our day, when sefarim are abundant and relatively inexpensive, it is permitted to ship or otherwise take sefarim out of Eretz Yisrael without exception.[14] This is especially true when such sefarim are likely to make their way back to Eretz Yisrael.[15] Indeed, the original enactment was made at a time when sefarim were scarce and in short supply in Eretz Yisrael. So too, when the enactment was made, sefarim were handwritten and not mass produced as they are today. It is also noted that the three primary pillars of halacha, the Rif, the Rosh, and the Rambam, make no mention of this prohibition at all.[16]

  1. Special thanks to Rabbi Ari Enkin author of the Peot HaShulchani and Dalet Amot Shel Halacha for this section. If you would like to purchase his books please click here.
  2. It is permitted to take a mezuzah outside Israel.[17]

Joining the Army

  1. Some poskim hold that a person who is completely dedicated to Torah according to Rambam[18] is treated like Shevet Levi and is exempt from war.[19] Furthermore, some poskim hold that Shevet Levi and those included in it are exempt from milchmet mitzvah.[20] Others disagree and hold that Shevet Levi and those included in it are still obligated to fight in the army for a milchemet mitzvah.[21]
    1. Some poskim hold that the the cheredim should not join the army because of the spiritual dangers inherent in joining in the army.[22]


  1. Yabia Omer YD 11:40.
    • The Ramban counts it as a biblical mitzvah that the Rambam forgot. There are many discussions of gemara and rishonim that indicate that it is a mitzvah even nowadays. The discussion of divorcing your wife without a ketubah, freeing a slave if he wants to make aliyah, having a non-Jew write for the purpose of buying land in Israel nowadays all indicate that there's a mitzvah to live in Israel today.
    • Rav Moshe Feinstein held that the mitzvah of making aliyah is a mitzvah that you can opt to fulfill but it isn't obligatory to go and fulfill it. It is similar to tzitzit. The Avnei Nezer supports this concept. Yabia Omer strongly disagrees and quotes many others who disagree with that approach.
  2. Yabia Omer YD 11:40. Parshat Derachim (lech lecha s.v. bmidrash) quotes midrash rabba beresheet 39 which writes that only avraham was allowed to abandon his father to make aliyah but others can’t follow his example. He proves this from other sources. However, Rav Ovadia quotes the Maharam Rotenberg who explicitly held that one should make aliyah even if it means negating kibud av. The Rivash might seem otherwise isn’t a proof.
  3. Yabia Omer YD 11:41
  4. Rabbi Mansour explains that we do not hold of Rav Yehuda's opinion (in Shabbat 41 and Ketubot 112).
  5. Rivash writes that making aliyah is a mitzvah and it is codified in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 248:4. Knesset Hagedola 248:16 writes that according to the Shiltei Hagiborim it is a mitzvah to walk 4 amot in Israel and certainly visiting even temporarily. Magen Avraham 248:15 cites it as a dispute whether visiting Israel is a mitzvah or only living there permanently. Rav Hershel Schachter ("Traveling to Israel," beginning) therefore recommends that anyone who is going for a while and either could go for less than a month or more than a month should go for more than a month. Similarly, he he could go for less than a year or a year he should go for a complete year.
  6. Yabia Omer CM 3:8 writes that this prohibition still applies today. Rav Chaim Palagi in Artzot Hachaim 10:44 and Shevet Halevi 4:227 agree. However, Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank in Har Tzvi (end of Tur CM 409) thinks it is permitted since once it was permitted in history since the reason didn't apply the entire gezerah doesn't continue to apply.
  7. Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 3:9.
  8. Dovev Meisharim 2:21.
  9. Aruch Hashulchan, YD 267:128; Chaim Sha’al 2:38:95; B’tzel Hachachma 4:63:2.
  10. B’tzel Hachachma 4:63:3; Shut Rabbi Shaul Moshe, OC 25, cited in Ma’adanei Asher, Ki Tavo 5766.
  11. Kol Gadol 26.
  12. Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 3:9; B’tzel Hachachma 1:77:2; Kol Gadol 26.
  13. B’tzel Hachachma 1:77:6.
  14. Ibid., 4:63:2,4; Chaim Sha’al 2:38:95, Kol Gadol 26; Beit Ridbaz 40; Yabia Omer, CM 8:4.
  15. B’tzel Hachachma 4:63.
  16. Ibid., 1:77:5, 4:63:4.
  17. Agur Bohalecha 5:62
  18. Hilchot Shemitta 13:12
  19. Rabbi Eliezer Waldenburg (Hilchot Medina 2:3:3:7-8) writes in general shevet levi is exempt from war, but they may volunteer to join the army. Rav Chaim Kanievsky (Derech Emuna Hilchot Shemita Biurim 13:12) agrees.
  20. Rav Massas (Shemesh Umagen YD 3:20), Rav Avraham Sherman as cited by Shemesh Umagen, and Rav Chaim Kanievsky (Derech Emuna, Hilchot Shmita 13:12 s.v. lo).
  21. Rav Kook and Rav Aharon Lichtenstein as cited by Shemesh Umagen 3:20
  22. Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank (Introduction, Hilchot Medina v. 2)