Moving to Israel Because it's Safer There?

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    I find it disturbing that some people use FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) as a selling point to encourage others to move to Israel. Or to describe Chutz L’aretz as “golus” (which it is), as if Israel is not in golus (it is also in golus). The truth is that for whatever reasons the vast majority of Gedolim throughout golus didn’t move to Eretz Yisroel. They live in Chutz L’aretz. And the fact is that living in Israel is not necessarily safer than living in America. Both are in golus.

    That being said, there are many maailos to living in Eretz Yisroel. Yet, one must be aware that once one permanently moves to Eretz Yisroel (or if he always lived there), he is generally halachicly prohibited from moving out of Eretz Yisroel. There are valid reasons to move to Eretz Yisroel and there are valid reasons not to move to Eretz Yisroel.


    This is how Rav Yaakov Shapiro shlita explained it when asked how the gzeira min hashamayim for the Jews to be all over the world and (at least according to some) there is a mitzvah “yishuv eretz yisroel” — how do both of them work together.

    “Because of the Gezeiras HaGalus it is destined that Klal Yisroel as a whole will not live in EY until Mohsiach comes. Instead, they will live all around the world, including Eretz Yisroel as well. The question is how this works in face of the Mitzvah of Yishuv EY. There are different possibilities suggested. Either the Mitzvah of Yishuv EY is simply nullified because of the Gezeiras HaGalus (the Ritva holds that even the Laav to live in Egypt is nullified because of the Gezeiras HaGalus, which means Jews have to live all over the world), or that the Mitzvah of Yishuv EY is not nullified but we are all ?????? ?? ?? ?????? because of the Gezeiras HaGalus. (According to this second approach, if somoene does live in EY he would still get the Mitzvah of Yishuv EY, because the Mitzvah is still in effect but there is an exemption of ???? which exonerated someone who does not live in EY – the Ramban himself can hold like this – that there is no obligation to live in EY nowadays but there is still a Mitzvah to be had if you do).

    Also bear in mind that the Gezeiras HaGalus is not like the Gezeirah of the Dor Hamidbar, which was a prohibition to enter EY. The Gezeiras HaGalus is not like that. Rather, it is simply a decree from Hashem that we will be spread across the earth. Meaning, even if there is a Mitzvah to live collectively in EY, things will happen so that we will not all end up there. So for example, it was not always possible to go at all times and from all places to EY. The Gezrias HaGalus can cause that to happen. Plus, there are circumstances that would exempt someone from living EY even if he could do so, for example, if he cannot have Parnasah there, or if he is not on the level to go there ??? ???? for the right reasons.

    When I was a teenager I asked Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky ZTL why all the Gedolim do not up and move to EY. He said because they need to take care of the Jews in Chutz La’Aretz. He also told me back then that it is harder to bring up children there, especially girls, and you cannot put your children’s chinuch in danger to live in EY.

    So Hashem’s ????? ????? is simply part of His running of the world, part of His Hashgacha, and one way or another, Hashem will employ His Hashgacha by creating circumstances to enable its fulfillment.

    The Gezeiras HaGalus may remove the individual’s obligation of Yishuv HaArtez – either totally eliminating it altogether or taking precedence over it. The difference between the two is if a person does live in EY, whether he gets the Mitzvah of Yishuv HaAretz for living there. If the Mitzvah merely takes a back seat to Gezeiras HaGalus a person living in EY not in violation of the Gezerias HaGalus would get a Mitzvah for doing so, even though he was not obligated to do so. If the Gezeiras HaGalus eliminates the Mitzvah, then even if someone lives there not in violation of the Gezeirah, he gets no Mitzvah for doing so.”


    How is it harder to bring up children in EY? Why especially girls?


    Acording to some Rishonim (the RAMBAM, for instance) not only is the mitzva of yishuv eretz Yisroel chal b’zeman hazeh, but also the mitzva of kibush Eretz Yisroel.

    P.S. The majority of Jews have lived in Chutz L’Aretz since Galus Bavel.


    One makes aliyah because it’s a mitzva to do so, just like any other mitzva in the Torah. That’s really the only reason to come.


    splenda, I appreciated your post. Thanks.


    For all the good reasons to move to EY, and there are many depending on the situation (i.e. it’s not necessarily for everyone), I don’t think physical safety is necessarily one of them.


    Statistically, EY is the most dangerous place in the world for Jews to be. However on the other hand, it is definitely true that in most frum areas, life can be much more pleasant than in chu”l. Here in Gateshead you have to be very careful with the goyim – just on Thursday evening a violent robbery was committed (goyim on goyim) right in the middle of the Jewish area of town. (That being said, I also remember an even more violent robbery of a money-changer in his own home in my former frum neighborhood in Yerusholayim.)

    It is certainly true that one can walk around most areas in EY and generally feel safe, even with an outwardly Jewish (chareidi) appearance, whereas in EY the risk of physical attacks is much bigger. In the last couple of weeks there have been several attacks by chilonim against chareidim, but it pales in comparison to the number of attacks chareidim face in Europe. In fact, because of that reason, I always go ‘undercover’ when I go anywhere outside of the frum area of town. I never felt I needed to hide my Jewishness anywhere in Israel (except for Arab areas which I wouldn’t enter anyway).

    So while statistically, EY may be more dangerous, the type of danger is different. In chu”l the danger comes from drunk goyim attacking you with baseball bats. In EY the danger comes from missiles – maybe some day nerve gas or nukes. All we can do is ask Hashem to keep us safe.

    ED IT OR

    hey gatesheader, I just saw an article on the chronicle online about a gang of raiders running amok around gateshead, it mentioned a yiddishe name too…..

    yerusholayim is definitely the place to live (one day I will be zoiche)

    Avi K

    The attacks in Brooklyn, Highland Park, Lakewood and Belgium bely this. Not to mention the high cost of a frum lifestyle – especially in the US. Not to mention cultural assimilation and outright intermarrriage. Both Rav Soloveichik and Rav Moshe say that aliya is a least a mitzva kiumit and Rav Ovadia says that it is an absolute obligation – and sharply criticizes those who do not do so.

    I do not know who this person is or what exactly Rav Yaakov said to himThe Gra is quoted in Kol HaTor as saying that in the time just before Mashiach the chet hameraglim will attack the guardans of Tora with blinders. This was also stated by Rav Eliahu Guttmacher in a letter printed at the beginning of Em haBanim Semeicha and Rav Chaim Eliezer Vax in Nefesh Chaya at the end of Responsa 1 (see Torat Eretz Yisrael by Rav David Samson pg.249-250 footnote 29).


    as for the first writter, I don’t think pple really come to Israel anymore cause of fear and uncertainty. pple come cause they really want to build there home here.


    I am not a crime expert but there is more and more crime in the states, depending on where you live of course. I am reading in my newspaper more crimes than ever, it may have to do with cutting number of police. this sort of crime does not occur as frequently in Israel

    I think that the life of being amongst Jews throughout the country gives a different religious experience. It is a psychological difference, here in the states, I feel like I don’t belong here that this is not my country. There I feel that I am in the land HaShem gave me.

    I wish that i had the courage to move back to tell you the truth. It is easy to just shrug and say, it’s too hard to pack and move.

    It’s hard to say ‘someday’ i will be there will time marches on.

    Avi K

    I jusyt googled the name and discovered that there are several Rav Yaakov Shapiros. When quoting him one should specify which one is meant.


    adams, I think your points are actually all reason why people should NOT move to Eretz Yisrael.

    The crime committed by the savages in Eretz Yisrael is far, far worse and devastating than whatever you read in the paper in chu”l.

    Your second point has at least 2 problems, in my view. One is that when a Jew acts improperly, that “camaraderie” affects you much more in Eretz Yisrael than in Chutz LaAretz precisely because in Chutz LaAretz every child is ingrained with the understanding that we are an am muvdal viKadosh, which is much harder to pull off in Eretz Yisrael when the other guy is a Jew, too. The second problem is that this lessens one’s tzipuy liyishua. Considering that’s one of the three “welcome” questions after 120…other than that, it is nice to be in a much more Jewish area.

    As a bonus concern, the country is Zionist, not Jewish. Since Zionists try to replace Judaism with their kefirah, there are elements of Judaism in Zionism, too. But, practically and emotionally speaking, it is a Zionist society, not Jewish. If you cannot or wish to not differentiate between the two, please see the previous paragraph’s point.

    The chinuch and other issues have already been mentioned repeatedly by various gedolim and modern-day poskim.

    I don’t mean to imply that it’s not for anyone, CH”V. But your reasons are not ones I would use at a Nefesh BiNefesh seminar.

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