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Is visiting Israel a Mitzvah? (visiting as opposed to living)

Just some points I would hope an answer to cover:

  • Was it a mitzvah back then?
  • Is it still a mitzvah nowadays?
  • Does the mitzvah apply throughout the year, or only during שלש רגלים?
  • Is the mitzvah specifically for visiting Yerushalayim, or does anywhere in Israel suffice?
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By mitzva do you mean one of the 613 (plus d'rabanan ones), or do you mean a kiyum (or chiyuv) of halacha? –  msh210 Jun 10 '11 at 15:16
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@msh210 What's the difference between the two? I probably mean the former. –  yydl Jun 10 '11 at 19:27
    
well, revering one's parents is one of the 613 mitzvos. Not sitting in one's father's seat is a chiyuv of halacha (which happens to be an element of revering one's parents, but that's neither here nor there). Are you asking whether the mone hamitzvos (those who list mitzvos) count visiting Israel as one of them? –  msh210 Jun 12 '11 at 5:48
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is no specific Mitzva to visit Eretz Yisroel, however (Kesubos 111a) walking 4 (Amos) cubits in Eretz Yisroel is a Mitzva. In addition there are many Mitzvos that can be done exclusively in eretz Yisroel.

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"There is no specific Mitzva to visit Eretz Yisroel, however (Kesubos 111a) walking 4 (Amos) cubits in Eretz Yisroel is a Mitzva." Hiyyuv or Kiyyum? –  Seth J Oct 19 '11 at 19:32
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There is a mitzvah to live in Israel. The Ramban states that this is 1 of the 613 mitzvos of the Torah. Other rishonim consider it as a mitzvah also, but perhaps not 1 of the 613. It applies nowadays according to almost every view.

Visiting any place in Israel can be considered a partial fulfillment of that mitzvah. There is an additional mitzvah to visit the Beis haMikdash during the 3 regalim, but this would not apply nowadays.

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Do you have sources to support your second paragraph? I believe there are those who hold that a)the Mitzvah is to visit Yerushalayim, not just the Beith HaMikdash and/or b)it applies even though there is no Beith HaMikdash, just that c)some hold there is a Petur (exemption) all the while the Beith HaMikdash is not extant. –  Seth J Oct 19 '11 at 19:37
    
I know there are some famous Rabbanim (though who escapes me at the moment) who specifically travel to Yerushalayim for the Regalim to fulfill 'Aliyah LeRegel (pilgrimage requirement), as well as those who specifically DON'T travel to Yerushalayim for the Regalim, to avoid the prohibition of "Lo YeRaeh ... Reikam" (do not come empty-handed, ie., without the Ḥagigah (Festival) offering one is required to bring in the Beith HaMikdash). –  Seth J Oct 19 '11 at 19:40
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