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Shabbat Parashat Ki Tisa | 5770

Ein Ayah: Rav Yehudas Opposition to Personal Aliya

(based on Berachot 3:51)


[It is fascinating to see how the ultimate Religious Zionist glorifies the approach of the Amora whose views are the basis of the Neturei Karta philosophy. Rav Kook attributes to Rav Yehuda a purist approach to one of the philosophical approaches most dear to Rav Kook himself.]


Gemara: Rabbi Abba was avoiding Rav Yehuda, as the former wanted to move to Eretz Yisrael, whereas Rav Yehuda posited that whoever makes aliya from Bavel violates the positive commandment of: “They will be brought to Bavel, and there they will remain until I will recall them, says Hashem” (Yirmiya 27:22).


Ein Ayah: It is a principle of the most complete levels of avoda (service of Hashem) that personal shleimut (completeness) and the desire for it do not compare to one’s part in the shleimut of the klal (whole). Only one who is dedicated to the shleimut of the klal is a real chassid, for it is based on what wisdom dictates, without the emotional element of self-love (causing one to want to personally succeed spiritually). Moshe epitomized this high level. Hashem told Moshe that Bnei Yisrael should be destroyed and the chosen people would reemerge through him, yet Moshe said that if Bnei Yisrael would not be spared, “Erase me from the book You have written” (Shemot 32:32). Among great people there are different levels of dedication to this distinction between personal shleimut and that of the klal, as it is impossible to rid oneself totally of the concern for personal shleimut.

Eretz Yisrael certainly adds shleimut, as the nation who lives there has sin removed and its air breeds wisdom. However, Rav Yehuda, whom Shmuel said was almost beyond human (Nidda 13a), was on such a high level that personal shleimut was of no value to him in the face of shleimut of the klal. Rav Yehuda saw Eretz Yisrael as the spring of salvation for the shleimut of the klal. That is why he felt that the individual had no right to enjoy the light of the Land’s shleimut before it came time for the klal to benefit from it. This in turn required a Heavenly decision to redeem them, whether it be via miracle or naturally. In any case, he posited that one had to wait for the klal to make it to Eretz Yisrael before personally doing so.

Rav Yehuda felt that if individuals would curb their spiritual desires to move to the Land, it would help hasten the klal’s salvation via Divine Providence. That way the prayers regarding return to Eretz Yisrael would be ones of the klal, which, because of their higher level, would be more likely to be accepted. Even if one were to say that Hashem will redeem us through natural steps, it would still need to be preceded by beseeching Divine mercy and an element of strengthening spiritual virtues. If an individual is unable to fulfill his spiritual passion to make it to the Land to which our eyes and hearts are tied, it will cause the national efforts to be strengthened.  According to Rav Yehuda, whenever there is a step that could remotely impact on the klal’s chances, an individual must not make even his loftiest spiritual goals a factor.  However, all other righteous people throughout the generations, with all their greatness, would not withdraw their personal quest for shleimut to the extent that it would prevent them from coming to the Land to benefit from its light due to some remote drawback. Especially since the higher the level of individuals, the higher the level of the klal, other scholars felt that it was proper for great people to stream to Eretz Yisrael when possible.


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This week’s Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
R' Meir ben
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld

Hemdat Yamim is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.


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