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The Talmud in Barachot 43a states the following:

אמר ליה רב חסדא לרב יצחק האי משחא דאפרסמון מאי מברכין עלויה א"ל הכי אמר רב יהודה בורא שמן ארצנו א"ל בר מיניה דר' יהודה דחביבא ליה ארץ ישראל לכולי עלמא מאי א"ל הכי אמר רבי יוחנן בורא שמן ערב

R. Hisda said to R. Isaac: What blessing is said over this balsam-oil? — He replied: Thus said Rab Judah: 'Who createst the oil of our land', He then said to him: Leaving out Rab Judah, who dotes on the Land of Israel, what do ordinary people say? — He replied: Thus said R. Johanan: 'Who createst pleasant oil'.

(Soncino translation)

Apparently Rav Yehuda loved the Land of Israel so much that it caused him to change the text of a blessing, and we therefore cannot cite him as evidence. Yet some twenty pages earlier (Berachot 24b) we find the following about Rav Yehuda:

רבי אבא הוה קא משתמיט מיניה דרב יהודה דהוה קא בעי למיסק לארעא דישראל דאמר רב יהודה כל העולה מבבל לא"י עובר בעשה שנאמר בבלה יובאו ושמה יהיו עד יום פקדי אותם נאם ה

R. Abba kept away from Rab Judah because he wanted to go up to Eretz Israel; for Rab Judah said, Whoever goes up from Babylon to Eretz Israel transgresses a positive precept, since it says, They shall be carried to Babylon and there shall they be, until the day that I remember them, saith the Lord.

(Soncino translation)

Is it meant to be ironic that the very amora who loved Israel so much is the one who holds that it is forbidden to go up to Israel?

Is this a mere coincidence?

Was one of these in some way the cause the other?

  • Interesting +1. But I'm a little perplexed by what you mean by one causing the other. Certainly his love of the land was not the cause of his opinion regarding not leaving Bavel as he had a drasha telling him to stay in Bavel. The other way, to say the love of the land was caused by some type of mayim genuvim seems a bit bizarre. – user6591 Feb 16 at 15:36
  • @user6591 I mean that either his love of Israel on some level influenced his view to forbid going there, or that his view that it is forbidden to go there on some level influenced his love/beracha. While it might seem bizarre, I am posting an answer with some sources along these lines. (For a sneak preview you can see where I cited the sources in the Daf Yomi chat room starting here.) – Alex Feb 16 at 15:41
  • Is this different from simply asking: "Why did Rav Yehudah forbid making aliyah to Yisrael?" – Harel13 Feb 16 at 15:57
  • 2
    @Harel13 Yes. This is specifically asking if Rav Yehuda's two rulings are related to each other. – Alex Feb 16 at 16:07
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R. Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov in his commentary to the passage on 43b writes as follows:

מהראוי להתבונן מהיכן שפט זה דר"י אמר כך משום חביבות א"י שהיה לו ביותר מכל העולם וגם אם תלוי הדבר בחביבות א"י הנה אם יארע עוד איש שיקר בעיניו חביבות א"י ישתנה הדין ויברך כמו שברך ר"י וזה לא שמענו מעולם ונראה דאמר כן משום דר"י ס"ל כל העולה מבבל לא"י עובר בעשה דכתיב בבלה יבואו ושמה יהיו עד יום וכו' אע"ג דההוא קרא בכלים כתיב הנה ר"י לקח אותו לאסמכתא וטעמיה משום חביבות א"י דאין מהראוי לאדם להשתדל לעלות לא"י ולראות אותה בחורבנה וכד מנוולא נפשה לגבי שבאי עד אשר יפקדנה הש"י ונראה אותה ככלה תעדה כליה הנך רואה מה יקר בעיני ר"י שבחא דא"י עד שאסר לראות אותה רק בשבחה ובקישוטיה משא"כ אנן דלא קיי"ל כותיה בזה אין לפסוק כן

It is proper to understand whence he judged this that Rav Yehuda said this because of his love of the Land of Israel that was more than the rest of the world. And even if the matter is dependent on love of the Land of Israel, behold if it occurred [that there was] another man for which Israel was so beloved in his eyes then the law would change and he [too] would bless as Rav Yehuda blessed. But this we have never heard!

It would appear that he said this because Rav Yehuda holds that anyone who ascends from Babylon to the Land of Israel violates a positive commandment, as it is written (Jeremiah 27:22) "They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be, until the day etc." Even though the verse is talking about vessels, Rav Yehuda took it as an allusion. And his reason was [his] love of the Land of Israel, for it is not proper for a person to strive to ascend to the Land of Israel and to see it in its ruin and disgraced by her captors, until God will remember her and she will appear as a bride adorned with her ornaments.

Behold you see how precious the praise of the Land of Israel was in the eyes of Rav Yehuda, to the point that he forbade seeing it except in its praise and adornment. As opposed to us who don't hold like him in this [regarding going to the Land of Israel], we shouldn't rule like him [regarding the blessing].

R. Meir Simcha of Dvinsk in his letter about Israel (included in the commentary made up of his various writings to the passage on 24b) similarly drew a connection between these two passages:

ואמרו עליו שאני רב יהודה דחביבא ליה ארעא דישראל והיא הנסיבה כי אחרי שלא היה היכולת בידו לפי שיטתו בהלכה לעלות לארץ השתוקק תמיד להגות בארץ ולשים זכרונה על לבבו

And they said of him "Rav Yehuda is different because the Land of Israel is beloved to him". And this was the circumstance that since he did not have the ability – according to his halachic ruling – to ascend to the land, he was always yearning to think about the land and to place its memory on his heart.

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