Would like to see some opinions and advice given by our leaders throughout galus (or before), on when it is time to leave a country, and how to decide where to go. What sort of situation or signs would warrant a Jew getting out of the country he is in, because of anti-semitism taking over, and deciding which country would be best to flee to.

This is not specifically about coming of Moshiach, or arguments for making aliyah to Israel.

  • "This is not specifically about coming of Moshiach, or arguments for making aliyah to Israel." Do you mean to preclude such answers or intend simply that you are also seeking a broader spectrum of answers? Feb 20 at 14:52
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    @Deuteronomy I would like to focus the question. If there is an answer that involves Moshiach or Aliyah, it is fine so long as it fits as an answer to the question as stated. If it throws away the question and makes a case for moving because of Moshiach or advocates for Aliyah in general, without the context of the question then that is what I seek to avoid.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 20 at 15:02
  • Thanks for the clarification Feb 20 at 15:07
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    When WW2 broke out this question was commonplace. Some Gedolim said to run and some said it will pass. In fact, the Mir Yeshiva itself, which ended up running to Shanghai, was due to the pressure of the talmidim, while the Hanhalla felt they should stay in Vilna. It is very subjective based on the exact situation of each individual.
    – Chatzkel
    Feb 20 at 16:41
  • @Chatzkel What took place leading up to and at the beginning of the Holocaust, was a completely different time and situation that was unique to then only. The confusion and poor advice of so many not to leave was because of a decree from G-d blocking the good judgement of the leaders of that generation. This is the first sign mentioned explicitly in Sefer Avkat Rochel by Rabbeinu Makir be Abba Mori. Feb 20 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


This is a great but difficult question - difficult because it will vary so much by individual. It is well known that there are plenty of reasons to make alyah to Israel (this book is an excellent compendium of all Torah sources on the topic), however many rabbanim advise to wait until one can ensure an economically and spiritually stable lifestyle for their family before moving.

To take two examples from gedolei hador who postponed leaving

  • the last Rebbe of Lubavitch never left New York, feeling that he had a role to play in the US and could not leave
  • R Moshe Feinstein left Russia only after living through much persecution from the authorities and realizing there was no other alternative. When asked years later why he stayed so long (despite terrible hardships, incl. being expelled from his home and his wife not being able to use the local mikve for years because of his standards), he explained "he was the only practicing Rav remaining in his area and he saw it as an obligation to stay and guide the Jews of his and neighboring towns" (from this biography)

At the same time, everyone should be asking themselves what sort of Jewish lives their children will be having - we personally left Europe because of this and the attraction of Israel.

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    Thanks, however this doesn't quite answer the question, unless the answer is "if you are a Rav who is highly useful/needed, you should always stay in galus, and if not, you should always consider moving to EY if you can make it work - regardless of antisemitism"? I.e. my question is a non starter?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 20 at 16:33
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    @RabbiKaii Based on some very recent things that have come to light, I am tempted to respond to your question. But hold back because it will not be received well here. Generally, if you, as an individual, see and recognize your surroundings to be a danger to your life, you should depart in an orderly manner. See Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 116:5, Chosen Mishpat, siman 426-427. As to where to go, the Rebbe stated explicitly that for Jews, the safest place in the world is the state of Israel. That was true 30 years ago during the Gulf War and is still true today. Feb 20 at 18:02
  • @RabbiKaii Some of the best questions are those which are hardest to answer. I think it is a very difficult question to answer in general. But yes the place of Jews is in Israel and many rabbanim think every Jew should aspire to be there when it becomes possible for them, based on their individual circumstances. For some, there are good reasons to stay behind. As I wrote, your kids' lives and how you can give them the best chances should factor in big-time in your thinking (but the latter is my personal opinion).
    – mbloch
    Feb 21 at 4:07

What's the problem? If you feel that where you live is dangerous for your welfare, provides few opportunities for improvement, or does not allow you to pay the bills, then go somewhere else. The Talmud says:

If you experience bad luck in one place and don’t move to another place, you have only yourself to blame if your fortunes do not improve. [Bava Metzia 75b, and Or HaChaim on Genesis 12:1]

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