In this week's portion, Matot, we learn that the tribes of Gad and Reuben wanted to remain on land on the east side of the Jordan, and not settle in the Promised Land. (Moses granted that, with stipulations.) We also know from Midrash Tanchuma, Beshalach 1:4 that 80% of the Israelites stayed in Egypt and died in the plague of darkness.

Was there ever a clear commandment from God that all Israelites had to settle in Eretz Yisrael?

  • Why do you say that land east of the Jordan is not the Promised Land? sefaria.org/Genesis.15.18?lang=bi – Joel K Jul 13 '20 at 11:04
  • Yes, but in the context of Matot it is not the Promised Land. Remember, Moses is right there and he is not supposed to be allowed in the Promised Land. – Maurice Mizrahi Jul 13 '20 at 11:30
  • @JoelK I don't want to put words in Maurices mouth but, despite your very good source showing otherwise, the general impression of the narrative is that it was meant to be not part of the promised land. For example, in the previous parsha (pinchas 27:12) the pasuk makes it seem that the general area was not the intended promised land. "The LORD said to Moses, “Ascend these heights of Abarim and view the land that I have given to the Israelite people." see sefaria.org.il/Numbers.27.12?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en – Geltman Jul 13 '20 at 11:32
  • @Maurice, I did this 2x in one day. While I searched for a source, you submitted what I was writing up. Do not think I am copying you. – Geltman Jul 13 '20 at 11:33
  • Honestly, I don't care if you are. :-) – Maurice Mizrahi Jul 13 '20 at 11:39

Yes, there is a mitzvah to go and live in the promised land.

However, in gemara moed katan 14a, there is a dispute as to whether one my leave eretz yisroel (and presumably to live outside of eretz yisroel). Rava holds that it's ok for livelihood purposes but not for "greater profit".

The Ibn Ezra points out that the lands yazer and gilad were good for pasture lands. The pasuk ibid points out that reuven and gad had a lot of cattle and thus they'd need such lands.

So apparently they justified not living in eretz yisroel for their livelihood (cattle) based on Rav's opinion.

  • 1
    If the only heter to live in ever hayarden is for parnassah, why can't a husband force his wife to make aliyah from ever hayarden to yehuda or the galil? sefaria.org/Ketubot.110a.21?lang=he&with=Rashi&lang2=he – Joel K Jul 13 '20 at 13:21
  • "When the LORD your God has cut down before you the nations that you are about to enter and dispossess, and you have dispossessed them and settled in their land," That is not a commandment. – Maurice Mizrahi Jul 13 '20 at 14:43
  • Here is the Rambam's list of 613 mitzvot: jewfaq.org/613.htm. Where do you see a commandment to live in Eretz Yisrael? – Maurice Mizrahi Jul 13 '20 at 14:49
  • @MauriceMizrahi See Ramban’s glosses to Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvot - ‘Forgotten positive commandments’ number 4 – Joel K Jul 13 '20 at 15:00
  • @MauriceMizrahi sefaria.org/Numbers.33?lang=bi – Joel K Jul 13 '20 at 15:05

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