There appear to be several halachot that are based on "a majority of Israel". For example:

Mishnah Berachot 54a:

הרואה מקום שנעשו בו נסים לישראל אומר ברוך שעשה נסים לאבותינו במקום הזה


The Talmud there qualifies this:

אמרי אניסא דרבים כולי עלמא מיחייבי לברוכי אניסא דיחיד איהו חייב לברוכי

The answer [is that] for a miracle done to a large body it is the duty of everyone to say a blessing, for a miracle done to an individual he alone is required to say a blessing. (Soncino translation)

Rabbeinu Yonah there defines a ניסא דרבים as a miracle that was done for all or most of Israel:

כלומר שנעשה לכל ישראל או לרובן

So let's imagine that a major miracle occurred. How would we know if it meets the threshold of "most of Israel". Are we expected to travel the entire world to figure out the Jewish population and then calculate whether the miracle occurred to > 50% of that number? Are we just supposed to assume that it was not "most of Israel" unless it is glaringly obvious (e.g. millions of Jews were together such that it is virtually impossible that this is not the majority)? Or is perhaps the threshold of "most of Israel" not exactly precise and it does not actually require a technical majority? Or perhaps it only refers to certain Jews (e.g. those living in the Land of Israel)?

Are there any sources that discuss the parameters of "most of Israel", or how we would go about determining if the threshold was reached?

Note that an answer need not address the specific case above. There are other situations where this could be relevant as well. For example, the Sefer Hachinuch writes by a bunch of mitzvot that they are applicable בזמן שרוב ישראל על אדמתן – when the majority of Israel is in its land (e.g. Mitzvah # 95).

  • 1
    Very interesting question. I recently asked a Rav something similar. The laws of Yovel/shmitta will become d'oraita when rov Israel lives in Eretz Israel. The Rambam also mentions regularly the status of non-Jews in Israel will change when this happens. I asked if the Rabbanut in Israel was thinking of this every shmitta cycle to make the right determination in due time. Apparently they do but I have yet to find more detail on who/how – mbloch Mar 10 '18 at 18:48
  • Why do you think an אמדנה is not enough? If the Israeli CBS says so wouldn't we believe? Do you think a one-by-one counting is required>? – Al Berko Sep 13 '18 at 17:03
  • @AlBerko Isn't that part of the question? What would be enough to qualify as determining the majority? If you have reason to believe that the answer is Israeli CBS then you can post that as an answer. – Alex Sep 13 '18 at 17:59
  • As we're reaching the tipping point of the majority of the Jewish nation residing in the Holy Land B"H, Can you give some more examples of serious and practical Halachot that depend on that? Like if it happens say the next year? – Al Berko Sep 13 '18 at 19:10
  • 1
    @mbloch A source for rov and ma'aserot can be found in Rambam hilchot Shemitta and Yovel, I think. Also, the part of the sefer Yechave Da'at regarding ma'aserot discusses it. From memory, for ma'aserot to apply d'oraita, over 50% of all Jews must live in Israel while the Beit Hamikdash stands. Other than that, the requirement is rabbinic. – chacham Nisan Sep 14 '18 at 9:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .