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Volume 25: Number 7

Sun, 06 Jan 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@sibson.com>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 14:03:45 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Tefillin retzuos black on both sides?

I once asked my sofer about this (actually, I asked whether to make both
sides black would be mutar, because I thought to make both sides black
was so obvious, I couldn't figure out why no one does it): he said that
the chiyuv is only one side, because you need only one side to face
outwards with black; the other side means nothing. But if you color both
sides black, then you don't have to worry about your retzuot flipping
around and having the raw leather side facing outwards.

I can't say anything about a new minhag. But to have both sides be black
certainly sounds convenient.

Mikha'el Makovi
In addition IIRC there is a hakpada not to have the reverse side
showing. If I am correct, does anyone recall where this is stated since
the nafka mina would be , is it the hakpada on the reverse side or is it
on the non-black.  It would seem to me the formet or else why didn't
earlier generations color both sides?

Joel Rich
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Message: 2
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 14:10:38 EST
Re: [Avodah] Sometimes Chutzpah is Praiseworthy

From: "Chana Luntz" _Chana@kolsassoon.org.uk_ 


>>BTW you realise of course that this case can be seen as the  flip side of 
loshen hora incident with Moshe Rabbanu.  Here as  there, the gadol hador had
separated from his wife.  Here as there,  Miriam stands up and criticises.
But in the one case she gets praised and  rewarded, and in the other she gets
criticised and punished.  It seems  to me that the key difference is that
here she was right, and there she was  wrong.<<  

Brilliant "chap"!  
However there was also one other difference -- she spoke TO Amram but she  
spoke ABOUT Moshe.


--Toby  Katz

**************Start the year off right.  Easy ways to stay in shape.     
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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 16:52:42 -0500
[Avodah] Mayanot: Bo

This vort from RNW touches on our recurring discussion of the roles of
experience vs proof.


Rabbi Noson Weisz 

Who Needs Miracles Anyway?

One of the intellectual challenges presented by the Exodus story is how
to account for the phenomenon of the plagues. Why did God need miraculous
plagues to accomplish the Exodus? If we human beings were presented with
the problem of rescuing the Jewish people from the bondage of Egypt, no
doubt we would be compelled to exert some sort of force to impose our will
on a reluctant Pharaoh. But God doesn't share our limitations. Just as
He had no difficulty in hardening Pharaoh's heart, He could have gone in
the other direction and softened it, and thus obtained the release of the
Jewish people without the need for any suffering on the part of anyone.

No doubt retribution for the oppression of Jews is a factor, but looking
over the troubled history of the Jewish people, and the many occasions
when we were in the grip of oppressive bondage to various tyrants, it is
difficult to find other instances where our oppressors were made to suffer
immediate retribution in the process of our release. Retribution alone
is therefore inadequate to account for the phenomenon of the plagues.

Nachmonides (Exodus 13:17) offers an explanation, which not only
explains the need for the plagues, but also accounts for the seemingly
disproportionate emphasis placed on the remembrance of the Exodus in the
commandments of the Torah. As most people are aware, there are quite a
few mitzvot that are described by the Torah as having been given to us
specifically in order to preserve and commemorate the Exodus.

His thesis is the following: at the time of the Exodus there were
conflicting ideas concerning God among thinking human beings. One stream
of thought rejected the idea of God's existence and the notion of a
created universe altogether. Another believed that there was a God,
and He did indeed create the universe, but He has no notion of what is
taking place within it. He exists in the nature of Aristotle's first
cause. A third stream believed that God not only created the universe
but also knows what is going on but He doesn't care to interfere in the
affairs of the world. Only a tiny fraction of mankind gave credence to
a world run by Divine providence.

Reference is made to all these strands of thought in the Parsha:

"And on that day I shall set apart the land of Goshen on which My people
stands, that there shall be no swarm there; so that you will know that
I am God in the midst of the land." (Ibid. 8:18)

Orev, the plague of the mixed swarm of animals, establishes that God
pays attention to detail, and that Divine Providence is capable of making
distinctions between peoples and territories at will.

"Moses said to him, 'When I leave the city, I shall spread out my hands
to God; the thunder will cease and the hail will no longer be, so that
you shall know that the earth is God's.'" (Ibid. 9:18)

The plague of Barad, the fiery hail, was sent to establish God's ability
to alter creation at His whim.

"For this time I shall send all My plagues against your heart, and upon
your servants, and your people, so that you shall know that there is
none like Me in all the world." (Ibid. 9:14)

This is a reference to the plague of the death of the first born, which
established God's absolute control over all life.

The essence of Nachmonides' thesis is that God wanted to refute all the
false positions regarding His existence and His attributes as a prelude
to the Exodus -- not to prove anything to the Egyptians -- but to lay
the foundations of proper belief among the Jews. He needed the Exodus
to supply Him with a people who would maintain their firm belief in a
world directed by Divine Providence as an axiom of life. As we pointed
out in previous essays, the spiritual energy that powered the Exodus
was the fact that it leads directly to the acceptance of the Torah at
Sinai. In the absence of total clarity on the part of the Jewish people
regarding the existence of God and the true nature of His Attributes,
the prospects for long term Torah observance were bleak at best.

But God had no intention of repeating the miraculous intervention in
human affairs that was the hallmark of the Exodus process. Proving His
existence repeatedly is antithetical to His policy of allowing man the
liberty of selecting for himself through his own free will directed
intelligence how he chooses to interpret the world. God's idea was to
transform the remembrance of the Exodus experience [and therefore the
proof of His existence] into a free will exercise.

The mechanism of the transformation is the provision of the Mitzvot
through which the Exodus is commemorated.

If we assume that God designed the mitzvot to really work, actually
producing the results that they were designed to accomplish, which is not
an unreasonable assumption in light of the fact that God designed both
the mitzvot and the human beings who perform them, then it becomes quite
clear how preserving the proofs of God's existence and the knowledge
of His attributes becomes a matter of free will. God simply tied the
remembrance of the Exodus to the performance of mitzvot.

Any Jew who takes the free will decision to wear his phylacteries,
(Tefillin), or to put a Mezuza on his door and observe the commandments
of Passover and Tabernacles or any other Mitzvah that was given to
commemorate the Exodus, is always able to retain the proof provided
by the miracles of the Exodus as part of his living consciousness. But
all others will eventually forget or come to doubt the veracity of even
these unforgettable events.

As we know from the Holocaust, the memory and impact of extraordinary
historical incidents fades rapidly indeed. Because the Holocaust was such
an impossibly unlikely event, some people find it difficult to give it
credence a short half century after it was concluded, and this in spite
of the extensive records and even pictures available. If this is true
of the Holocaust how much more does this apply to the Exodus. The Exodus
lives on only in the mitzvot that commemorate it.

We can make use of this thesis of Nachmonides to reach a deeper level
of understanding concerning the revelations of the Exodus and the power
of Mitzvot in general.

Most people picture God as a kind of pure intelligence. After all,
Jewish tradition teaches that He is incorporeal. He can't really feel
things and experience emotions. It is inconceivable to imagine Him being
swept away or overwhelmed by the heat of the moment.

If we really ponder this deeply, our impression is largely attributable
to the fact that we always experience contact with God through the medium
of nature and never directly. When He answers our prayers and heals the
sick relative, when we land the job or arrive safely at our destinations,
there is always a natural process involved. If we believe that our good
fortune comes in answer to our prayers, we look at these phenomena as
God altering nature for our benefit.

For us human beings the process of altering nature always requires careful
planning and the application of often complex technologies. Strategic
planning or developing technologies always requires the objective
application of intelligence. As we can only relate to things on our own
terms, we tend to impute our own methodology and approach to God.

We relate to the Exodus in terms of problem solving. In our terms God
had a problem. He thought it through, applied the technology of the
plagues and out popped the solution, the Exodus.

This view is incorrect. To accomplish the Exodus, God did away with
nature altogether. Some of the plagues are obviously not altered natural
phenomena. There is no natural way to make fiery hail or thick darkness
or to kill people without any sort of trauma or disease. These phenomena
represent outright violations of natural law rather than altered natural

With the concealing curtain of nature out of the way, human beings not
only had a vision of God, but were able to perceive God Himself. The
difference is striking. You can't go into a room to commune with a
vision. Visions are not alive. They merely represent something else which
is alive. By removing the concealing curtain of nature, God allowed human
beings to experience contact with Him as a living personality. They could
get to be familiar with his personality, character and emotions. They
could learn to relate to Him in human terms.

"God spoke to Moses and said to him, 'I am Y-HVH. I appeared to Abraham,
to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shaddai but with My Name Y-HVH I did not
make Myself known to them.'" (Exodus 6:2-3)

Explains Nachmonides: the name E-l Sha-ddai personifies God as the power
that bends nature to His will. Thus, while natural processes have no
inherent correlation to moral merit, God bent natural law and forced
Mother Nature to pour out Her bounty on the Patriarchs.

They were well fed when the rest of the world went hungry, they were able
to emerge victorious in battle against enormous odds, and they all grew
enormously wealthy. In short they led magically successful lives. All
the blessings of the Torah are of this nature and come under the name
El Shaddai.

Y-HVH personifies God as the source of all being. This aspect of God
becomes visible only when nature gets out of the way and the entire
universe can be clearly perceived as nothing more than Divine Energy. This
aspect of God was revealed in the Exodus. Moses never refers to God as
El Shaddai because the level of interaction with God that his prophecy
introduces can only be enunciated by the Name Y-HVH.

We can bring this idea down to earth a little by asking one of the
classic questions concerning prayer. If we accept the proof of God
supplied by the Exodus as Nachmonides suggests, and take it as fact that
God is not only all knowing but that He also cares about our situation,
we are going to have a problem with prayer.

For we are then compelled to assume that God is aware of our particular
needs and problems, and they concern and even trouble Him. Since God
controls everything, it follows that the things we lack and the problems
we are struggling with must be understood as His carefully thought out
response to our free will decisions or as the testing ground tailor
designed to fit our particular individual characters. We are exactly
in the situation that we need to be in for our maximum benefit. So why
are we asking God to change it? Even more to the point, why do we expect
Him to respond to our prayers? Do we know better than God how the world
ought to function? How do we expect to change His mind?

The answer: we relate to God in our prayers as though He were a being
with emotions and character. We do not relate to Him as a problem
solver. In terms of emotions and character it is easy to see how prayer
might be extremely effective. We all react to what people do in terms
of how we feel about them. A and B are both unkind to C. I like A very
much and I really dislike B. I will find excuses and explanations for
A's unkindness. In my mind A is a kind person because I like him. His
unkindness towards C does not stem from a defect of character but from
some circumstance.

But I will not apply this standard to B. After all, I really don't
like B. He is a negative character in my judgment. When I see B being
unkind I attribute it to defects in his character not to the accidents
of circumstance.

If I could relate to God as though He had character and emotions,
then I could attempt to get close to Him just as I attempt to forge an
emotional relationship with people I like and admire. Just as feelings
are reciprocal as a general rule in human relationships, and the way
I feel toward someone is generally a mirror image of the way they feel
towards me, so it is with God.

As I dedicate my being to God in prayer and bring myself closer to Him,
He also grows closer to me. As God's attitude toward me as a person
changes, the way He perceives and relates to my situation automatically
alters. Instead of regarding me objectively and figuring out the
appropriate life-situation for me from a problem solving perspective,
He regards me as a close friend and considers my situation and actions in
the way one perceives the situation and actions of those who are dear to
Him. If my prayer is affective, God will treat me with affection instead
of objectivity.

The Exodus is a giant step forward and upward in the way God relates to
us. God Himself defines His relationship with Abraham as being purposeful
rather than personal. When God was about to destroy Sodom, He decided
to tell Abraham about it first, and he shares His deliberations about
this need for prior disclosure with us:

"And God said, 'Shall I conceal from Abraham what I do, now that Abraham
is surely to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of
the earth shall bless themselves by him? For I have loved him, because he
commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way
of God, doing charity and justice, in order that then God might bring
upon Abraham that which He had spoken of him.'" (Genesis 18:17-18)

God Himself thus defines His relationship with Abraham as based on
historic purpose. Abraham will instruct his children to keep the ways
of God and accomplish God's design in creation, and in return God loves
Abraham and shares His intentions with him and consults with him about
matters of historic importance. This type of historic purpose based
relationship is the opposite of personal. Each side is committed to the
achievement of a common goal, and is respectfully consulted as long as
he remains committed to working out his share of the common task.

The Exodus is more. In the miracles of the Exodus God committed Himself
to a relationship with the Jewish people that has no connection with
the historic process and is based on love itself. The very point of
the miracles of the Exodus is that they weren't needed to accomplish
the historic purpose of releasing the Jewish people from the Egyptian
bondage to honor God's promise to Abraham. In shaping a miraculous Exodus,
God was informing us, the Jewish people, that He was ready to commit
to a relationship that was based on mutual affection rather than just
mutual interest.

This gives us an insight into all mitzvot. Mitzvot should not be regarded
exclusively from a problem solving perspective. While no doubt the
mitzvot are also designed to fulfill the historic purpose of the Jewish
people and establish the Dominion of God on earth, they are much more
than that. The mitzvot were also given to us as a means of maintaining
the personal contact with God that was established through the miracles
of the Exodus. The Mitzvoth are a demonstration of our love for God and
of His affection for us. The entire mighty universe is out there for
Him to take an interest in, but He takes joy from watching a Jew put on
His phylacteries.

But if this is true of Mitzvot in general, how much more does this apply
to those that were given specifically to commemorate the Exodus. As the
Exodus represents the initiation of the relationship with God for its
own sake, just because He loves us and we love Him, the Mitzvot that
commemorate it and keep this feeling alive are the most intense focus
of this mutual affection. Keeping the Exodus alive is the engine that
drives Jewish life.

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Message: 4
From: "Marty Bluke" <marty.bluke@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 10:12:40 +0200
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Is it ...Galut

The Meshech Chochma on the tochacha in Bechukosai that every galus
follows a certain pattern. The last stage is when the the people
living in Galus think Monsey, Boro Park, etc. are Yerushalayim. After
that it is all downhill. Unfortunately, I see that attitude in many
communities in the US. Many people have absolutely no thought of
moving to EY, they say why should I? We have yeshivos, shuls, etc.
here. I can be a very good Jew here in America just as good as in

I have no quarrel with anyone who seriously evaluates moving to EY and
for various reasons does not. However, those people who never think
about it and just dismiss it out of hand are doing exactly what the
Meshech Chochma and others warned against.
Areivim mailing list

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Message: 5
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <remt@juno.com>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 14:36:47 GMT
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Is it ...Galut

<The Meshech Chochma on the tochacha in Bechukosai that every galus
follows a certain pattern. The last stage is when the the people
living in Galus think Monsey, Boro Park, etc. are Yerushalayim. After
that it is all downhill. Unfortunately, I see that attitude in many
communities in the US. Many people have absolutely no thought of
moving to EY, they say why should I? We have yeshivos, shuls, etc.
here. I can be a very good Jew here in America just as good as in

I have no quarrel with anyone who seriously evaluates moving to EY and
for various reasons does not. However, those people who never think
about it and just dismiss it out of hand are doing exactly what the
Meshech Chochma and others warned against.>

     This is reading into the Meshech Chochma more than he wrote.  His commentary was not a pro-aliyah manifesto.  What he was bemoaning was not the presence of Jews in galus, but rather their losing the feeling and awareness of being in galus, not of being in Berlin, but of saying that "Berlin is Yerushalayim."  I doubt that the Jews of Monsey or Boro Park are guilty of forgetting that they are in galus. Would that the same could be said for all Torah-observant Jews.

Click for free info on masters of IT degrees and make up to $200K/ year.

Areivim mailing list

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Message: 6
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2008 12:10:50 +0200
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Is it...Galus

I wrote:
> >>In the time of Ezra, the Jews who made aliyah were attacked by the
> >>Samaritans while the former were building the Beis Hamikdash, and
> >>surely Klal Yisrael would have been statistically "safer" if a major
> >>community were to stay behind in Bavel.  Yet, (as I showed yesterday)
> >>the Jews who stayed behind in Bavel are considered to have committed
> >>an aveirah in not moving to EY (to the extent that they are blamed for
> >>the churban Bayis Sheini).

On Jan 4, 2008 7:22 AM,  <torahmike@gmail.com> wrote:
>      This is absolutely false. You do not just ignore all realities on the
> ground and move to Israel no matter what. You are accusing all of the
> gedolim from bayis sheini until now, who lived in galus, including Rambam,
> Rashi, the Ba'alei Tosfos, Everyone! of violating 'Behadi Kavshei..." or
> some such.

I do not believe that one should ignore all realities on the ground.
I believe (like Rav Shach and RYBS, against the Minchas Chinuch) that
mitzvas yishuv EY is not docheh pikuach nefesh.  Until modern times,
it was very dangerous to live here (see Tosfos Kesubos), and therefore
people were patur from making aliyah for that reason.  In addition,
one could argue that until modern times, Hashem indicated to us
through the way he governed history that the "3 shevuos" were in
effect and that he desired that the Jewish people stay in galus as a
punishment for their sins.  However, in modern times, Hashem kicked us
out of Europe, gave us a Torah community in EY which is the strongest
in the world, and generally indicated to us that the galus is coming
to an end.  R. Menashe Klein, an Hungarian, wrote in Mishneh Halachos
chelek 15 siman 213 that he believes that R. Yonasan Eibeshutz was
correct when the latter wrote that the 3 shevuos were binding and
forbade us from going to EY, but nevertheless, Hashem in bringing the
Holocaust and causing the flowering of the community in Israel has
indicated to us that R. Y. Eibeshutz position is not relevant to the
current situation.  (I can send this fascinating tshuva as an
attachment to those who are interested.)

Before, you seemed to agree that it made sense for individuals to move
to Israel, and argued simply that it was necessary for a community of
Jews to live in chutz la'aretz so that we can have two machanos.  Your
argument is an novel one and you cannot bring any proof from rishonim,
who had an individual ptur from making aliyah.

>      I don't know  how you can possibly compare us to those who violated the
> words of the Navi Ezra. Ezra is not around telling US to move to Israel!
> It's the difference between violating and not violating divrei navi.

According to Ramban and most rishonim who wrote on the topic, there is
mitzvah de'oraisa to move to EY.  There were heterim during the 2000
years of galus not to live in EY (danger, Hashem showing us that He
wants us to remain in galus).  Those heterim no longer apply.  You
don't need a divrei navi when there is a mitzvah de'oraisa.

Shabbat Shalom from the Blessed Land of Israel,
Areivim mailing list

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Message: 7
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 13:38:00 +0200
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Is it ..Galus

R. Mike has suggested a novel idea regarding the mizvah of yishuv
ha'aretz?that even when there is no p'tur to an individual of making
aliyah (i.e., there is no pikuach nefesh, and it is possible to make a
living in EY), the Jewish people as a whole must keep a she'eris
ha'pleita out of EY?to have two machanos.  The only precedent he
brings is that of the *family* of Yaakov when he was in *chutz
la'aretz*.  I submit that this precedent has no relevance to the
Jewish nation living in EY for the following reasons:

1)	Yaakov was facing imminent destruction in his fight with Eisav, who
was approaching with a force many times the size of his family.  That
was a true case of pikuach nefesh, which is not the case today in EY.
(RYBS says that pikuach nefesh is docheh yishuv EY?see
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n053.shtml#13 and
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol15/v15n059.shtml#01 ).  The fact is
that completely non-religious Jews come to live in Israel and do not
believe that they are "risking their lives."  (Compare to
RMFeinstein's tshuva about smoking: if many people engage in a
somewhat risky activity and consider it a reasonable risk, Hashem does
not judges those people based on their z'chuyos and chovos and does
not cause them to die simply because they have entered a makom
sakanah.  See what I wrote at
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n162.shtml#02   While I
disagreed with Rav Moshe with regard to individuals, I believe that
the tzibbur in EY has more of a right to rely on hashgacha pratis.  In
any case, the risk of the tzibbur in EY getting completely wiped out
c"v is much lower than the risk of cancer to smokers).
2)	It is true that if one diversifies one's assets, one lowers the
overall risk.  (See
.)  Therefore, even at the time of Yehoshua and Ezra, one could have
argued that the Jews should have some outpost in Chu"l, so as to
reduce the chances of the Jewish people being destroyed, c"v.
Nevertheless, it is quite clear from Chazal and Rishonim (and chumash
as well) that when mitzvah of yishuv haaretz is in effect, the entire
Jewish people is supposed to be living in EY.  Therefore, it is clear
that Hashem does not want us to be making "she'eris ha'pleita"
3)	If you think about it, any nation could enhance the chances of its
survival by sending colonists to live abroad.  But did any sovereign
nation (e.g.--Belgium or Holland--both small, weak countries) ever
think that way?  Hashem wants us to live as a sovereign nation in EY.
Thinking about she'eris ha'pleita in the current context comes from a
mindset of those who do not live in a sovereign nation.

In addition, the gemara states that there will not be a further galus
once the Jews return to their land and the land gives forth its fruits
((Sanhedrin 98a--ein l'cha ketz megula m'zeh).  The idea that there
will be just two exiles from our land (Bavel, Rome) is pervasive in
gemaras and rishonim.  This means that there is a promise with regard
to the *community* as a whole and there is no need to maintain a
second yishuv in America.

In answer to specific comments:
<torahmike@gmail.com> wrote:
>       You do not just ignore all realities on the
> ground and move to Israel no matter what.

I never said that.  On the contrary, I wrote that people as
individuals may have good reasons not to make aliyah (e.g., those with
teenagers or those who will not have a good klitah).  I was responding
specifically to your argument that it is important to maintain a
strong Jewish *community* outside of EY.

> You are accusing, ipso facto, all of the
> gedolim from bayis sheini until now, who lived in galus, including Rambam,
>  Rashi, the Ba'alei Tosfos, Everyone! of violating 'Behadi Kavshei...";

Actually not.  I said that before the UN vote (or maybe Balfour
Declaration), it was quite possible that the 3 shevu'os were
applicable, and that Hashem wanted all but yechidei segula to remain
in galus because of our sins.  The Mishneh Halachos writes that that
changed as a result of the Balfour Declaration/UN vote, as well as the
Holocaust in which Hashem kicked us out of Europe (implying that the
galus is ending).  In addition, the dangerous conditions of living in
EY (as well as the difficulty of parnassa) constituted a ptur of
yishuv haaretz.  So I have no taanos against the rishonim.

Also, the Avnei Nezer (tshuva at
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/faxes/Avnei_Neizer_YD_454.pdf ) explains
why all the gedolim did not make aliyah (their sustenance would derive
from their followers in chutz la'aretz, and that would not constitute
yishuv haaretz, which requires deriving one's sustenance from EY), and
those reasons do not apply today.

> I do not remeber  any of the Rishonim starting Zionist movements and encouraging mass aliyah.

Actually, 100 Baalei Tosfos, as well as Ramban, made aliyah, and R.
Yehuda HaLevy tried to do so.  And that was when there was most
probably a ptur of living in EY.

>    Hyou can possibly compare us to those who violated the
> words of the Navi Ezra. Ezra is not around telling US to move to Israel!
> It's the difference between violating and not violating divrei navi.

See Kuzari 2:21-22 (I can send this as an attachment) who specifically
states that in his time, he was ashamed for the Jewish people who did
not return to their Land and did not learn from the their mistakes in
the time of Ezra.

If you believe that there's a chiyuv and that this is a central focus
of Judaism (see Rambam Hil. Melachim--and note that RMFeinstein was
explicating the Rambam),  then rejecting Hashem's gift to us of the
opportunity to return home is not that different than what happened
with Ezra (when conditions were much worse than they are now).  (See
my explanation of RMFeinstein at
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol25/v25n002.shtml#07 ).

Moreover, I don't think that it says in Ezra that *Ezra* told the Jews
in Bavel that they should return to EY.  It simply says that *Koresh*
gave the Jews permission to go to EY (which is analogous to the UN's
announcement--see Gra on Zohar Chadash p.27 who says that the second
galus will end with a governmental announcement just like that of
Koresh).  It is just the gemara (that I quoted in the name of Resh
Lakish) that the second Bais Hamikdash was destroyed because the
majority of Jews stayed behind.  Returning was the *obvious* thing to
do when galus is over.  See also
http://www.lookstein.org/resources/ravandreligiouszionism.htm and
Sefer Eim HaBanim S'maicha (summary at
http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/hungary/document/57.htm ).

>     The meraglim -
> were challenging an explicit one-time havtacha from Hashem. There
> is no comparision to nowadays, when clearly people are killed in Israel all
> the time, unfortunately.

According to Ramban, the mitzvah of yishuv EY today is the same one
that applied at the time of the meraglim.  The mitzvah of yishuv
haaretz is independent of any promise that the Jews will conquer the
Land without any opposition from the inhabitants.  And in fact, in
Sefer Shoftim, the navi blames the Jews for not conquering certain
parts of EY (due to their encountering opposition from the

Hashem has not promised *individuals* that they will not be killed in
Israel.  But that is not an excuse for individual Jews not to come to
EY.  Living in most parts of EY does not constitute halachic pikuach
nefesh, and therefore there is no ptur not to come.

Your argument, however, was not about individuals but about the
tzibbur.  And I have shown that there is no makor that the tzibbur
should be concerned for she'eris ha'pleita when there is no pikuach

Kol tuv,
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