Ask the rabbi

  • Family and Society
  • Settling the Land of Israel

Leaving Israel and family to go to Uman


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Elul 17, 5779
Many people are coming to Uman for Rosh HaShana, leaving Israel and their families going abroad. What’s your opinion about that?
All agree that one is meant to celebrate the holidays, including Rosh HaShana, with his family, and this is an essential part of Jewish festivals and Jewish family life. In addition, one isn't supposed to leave the Land of Israel unless he's going to do a mitzvah. Rav Kook writes that although there is a source indicating the benefit of praying to God by the graves of Tzaddikim, it's not a mitzvah, and it's better to pray in Hebron or Bethlehem where the Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives, are buried. The saintly Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach used to pray in the military cemetery Har Herzl in Jerusalem, explaining that those soldiers who gave their lives for Israel are the holiest tzaddikim. On the other hand, if there is a particular person who will pray with more intensity by going, it can be considered a form of a mitzvah, and he personally would be temporarily allowed to leave the Land of Israel, but should bring his family with him!
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