What halachic sources exist affirming the post-destruction mitzvah of individuals to live in Eretz Yisrael, and what is the nature (obligatory, meritorious) of the mitzvah? This question does not relate to sources denying the present-day mitzvah, such as Va-yoel Mosheh.

This is a fork of What justifications are there for not moving to Eretz Yisrael?

I found Eim ha-Banim Semeichah available online, to get us started: http://www.tsel.org/torah/emhabanim-eng/

  • Eim Habanim Semeichah is not a halakhic source. Apr 17, 2012 at 13:52
  • 1
    The work as a whole may not be one of halachah, but he uses halachic arguments therein. How is this "not showing research effort, unclear, or un-useful?"
    – yitznewton
    Apr 17, 2012 at 14:55
  • I suppose that is a lack of research effort because it is mainly a hashkafic work. Why don't you mention some of the actual halakhic proofs that Rav Teichtal brings? Apr 17, 2012 at 19:06
  • Hacham Yishak writes that it is Miswa nowadays. Aug 25, 2013 at 19:39
  • the Ramban counts it as one of the 613 mitzvahs while the Rambam does not
    – Dude
    Mar 20, 2016 at 1:34

3 Answers 3


See this audio lecture from Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin.

He sets forth that many Rishonim felt that it was a good thing as it enabled many more mitzvas to be performed, and something incentivized by the Talmud (either spouse can demand the family move to Israel), but not necessarily a Biblical "thou-shalt." Maharam Rutenberg writes something to the effect of "if you'll go and do lots of good stuff there, great; but if you'll just sin there, don't bother."

  • 1
    How can one "see" an audio lecture? ;) Downloading now...
    – yitznewton
    Nov 3, 2011 at 17:46
  • Grr, poor 1989 walkman recording. Not much good walking down the street. Will try again on the train today.
    – yitznewton
    Nov 4, 2011 at 17:45

The first place to start is the shita of the Ramban, who writes in parshas Masei (33:53) that it is a mitzvas aseh. He also asks why the Rambam does not count this as one of the 613, which is something that the acharonim debate.

The Megillas Esther holds that according to the Rambam there is no mitzvah bizman hazeh, while The Avner Nezer says that there is according to the Rambam, but it is subsumed within the mitzvah of destroying the seven nations.

There are obviously other acharonim who discuss it, but these are probably the most well known. IIRC I remember reading that Rav Ovadiah says that the shita of the ME was "pushed away with both hands" by the acharonim.

The Rambam himself says in Yad that "A person should always live in Israel" - but he also says that it is permissible to live in other countries.

There is a very good piece by Rav Schachter here.


I will try to expand this answer in the future as I know that the sources are quite numerous.

One such book explaining why one must make Aliyah for Kabbalistic Halachic reasons is a book aplty named Lech L'cha. It was written by a Rabbi in South America who moved his entire congregation to Israel sometime between 1948 and the 1970s.

Some of the many reasons given for the need to make Aliyah include:

  1. One must wait for the Moshiach at the place he will arrive, and not stay at home, showing up late to the Moshiach's corenation. This is an argument against those who refuse to come to Israel until after the Moshiach has arrived.
  2. Prayers said outside of Israel strengthen the angels of the Non-Jewish nations in which those prayers are said, thus increasing the suffering of Exile.
  3. The concept that the Shechina is in Exile along with the Jewish People to help comfort them, and so one is obligated to return to Israel so that the Shechinah may return with you.
  4. An obligation to believe in the Goodness of the land and to not commit the same sin as the spies in the Desert.

He then concludes his arguments by saying:

The Privilege of Being Pushed Out

Whoever has merit, therefore, will be privileged to hear the Heavenly voice crying out, Lech lecha – Go, you, get going from your country and birthplace… to the Land. As is written in the Medrash HaGadol on Parashat Lech Lecha: R. Yehuda son of R. Shimon said in the name of R. Hanina: This is how G-d appeared to Avraham, like one who pushes his friend to "get going." From this we learn that if one who has merit, he will experience something "pushing" him out of the Diaspora and to the Land of Israel.

And then ends with a bracha for one to say every day which is translated as thus:

May it be Your will, the Lord my G-d and the G-d of my fathers, that You might help me, for the sake of the glory of Your name, to love the Land of Israel with all my heart - every season, every day, and every moment. May I similarly always fulfill the commandment of living in the Land of Israel, as is written, You shall dwell in it.

And may I always take delight in living in the Land, and do so with great passion, as a child who misses his mother - just as Avraham Avinu, peace be upon him, longed for the land. I too, one of his offspring: please grant me the merit of this trait as well, so that in its merit, I shall be atoned for all my sins and iniquities, from the day I was born until today, and even for those in my previous incarnations, and even for my having disdained the Land in the desert during the Sin of the Spies – as is written, "They despised the beloved land" – and having thus caused a weeping for generations.

May the difficulties of the journey to the Land of Israel be a 'ransom of my soul,' as is written, "For Your servants hold her stones dear, and cherish her very dust." And grant me the merit of always living in the Land until the arrival of the Righteous Redeemer, may it be speedily in our times, Amen.

And enable me to adhere to the Land with joy and good-heartedness, and may this verse be fulfilled in me: "Who is like Your people in Israel, one nation in the Land." And may the light of the upper holiness of the Land of Israel shape my soul, my spirit, and my life to rise up in sanctity, and to be counted and seen there before the Lord G-d of Israel, with the entire community of Israel.

  • 2
    "Kabbalistic Halachic reasons" - ooh, I think I smell a new JStack question...
    – yitznewton
    Nov 3, 2011 at 15:48
  • 2
    Yes, no different than putting on your right shoe first.
    – avi
    Nov 3, 2011 at 16:16
  • 1
    Probably more territory (incorporation of Kabbalistic elements into halachah) for an academic paper than a SE question, though it's probably already been written
    – yitznewton
    Nov 3, 2011 at 16:32
  • 2
    Here is one such paper :) maqom.com/journal/paper22.pdf Also take note of this blog post from a kabbalist. mekubal.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/kabbalah-and-halakha
    – avi
    Nov 3, 2011 at 16:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .