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Rav Yehuda and going to Israel


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Sivan 26, 5781
Rav Yehuda in the Gemara held that no Jews should leave from Bavel to go anywhere, including Eretz Yisrael. His ideal would be that ALL Jews would either stay in Eretz Yisrael or Bavel until Mashiach. Since almost all Jews lived in either one of those places in his time, he couldnt have believed in Yishuv Haaretz or anything like that, since ideally he wanted no one to move anywhere. Should his opinion influence our thought on Yishuv Haaretz and Aliyah today? Should we say that maybe Yishuv Haaretz and forming a state arent very big parts of Judaism?
As you will see in the many commentaries on that gemara and the Rambam, many try and understand that difficult opinion of Rav Yehuda, and it makes for an interesting theoretical symposium. But since his opinion is not cited by almost no poskim, and to the contrary, was rejected by the Shulchan Aruch and Rama who have been universally accepted as THE deciders, and as is clear from the Pitchei Tshuva (Y.D. 75, 6, who's role is to cite and summarize all halachic authorities) that "all of the poskim, rishonim and achronim, hold like the Ramban" on this issue, who writes that yishuv and yerushat Eretz Yisrael are a Torah commandment in all generations, there is absolutely no practical ramification to Rav Yehuda's statement. The more gemara that will study bezH, the more you will see that individual "way-out" opinions can be found on many issues (such as the opinion "there is no mashiach for Israel"), and you shouldn't let them confuse you. Talmud study is complex, and includes such controversial or maverick opinions, but halacha is much more decisive, and we must not confuse the two subjects, who's content and study are significantly different.
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