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  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • Torah Teachings

Returning to Egypt

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Rabbi Jonathan Blass

10 Shevat 5763
Question
Deut 17:16 says to never return to Egypt again. Does this mean never go there to live or or earn money or work or temporarily for your gain or what exactly are the conditions. Is this on an individual basis or as a Nation. Please elaborate on this verse.
Answer
The injunction obligates the individual not to establish permanent residence in Egypt (Sefer HaChinuch 500). The Radbaz (4, 73) who lived in Egypt nearly five hundred years ago writes that this was permitted because those who lived there saw themselves as temporary and planned to make Aliyah at the first opportunity. There are those who explained that the injunction applies only when the Jewish Nation resides in Israel (Shut Avnei Nezer Yoreh Deah 454 63 quoting the Ritba) and others who limit the injunction to times when Egypt was home to descendants of the original Egyptians from the time of Pharoah.
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