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Exiles who don’t make it back to Israel

Rabbi Ari ShvatTevet 5, 5775
251
Question
Is returning to Israel from exile also mean that the a Jew in exile resolved to go at first but for some indefinite eventually did not return for good or only those Jews who were in exile but set foot on the Land of Israel?
Answer
There's actually an interesting debate among halachic authorities whether the mitzva of settling the land of Israel (Bamidbar 39, 59) is only fulfilled by those who settle here permanently (which is the literal meaning there), or is there certain merit, for those who cannot live here permanently, even for those who come to visit and even set foot on the Holy Land. The Mishna Brura cites the 2nd opinion that it’s somewhat of a mitzvah even to visit Israel (248, 28), but nevertheless, regarding the ingathering of the exiles (the 3rd and final return), all agree that permanence in Israel is an essential part of the issue, and wanting, visiting or touring isn't enough.
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