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Jews in Galut


Rabbi Jonathan Blass

28 Iyyar 5763
It is said by many rabbis I know that in truth there is no point for Jews living in the Galut to follow the Mitzvot, and that keeping the Mitzvot is merely practice for when we come to Israel. As a Rabbi living in Israel, I would like to know how you feel about this concept. Do you believe that your following of the Mitzvot is real, while ours is actually not? Do you believe in this concept at all?
The mitzvot are binding on Jews in the Galut and a Jew who performs a mitzva in Galut is unquestionably keeping a Torah precept. It is not like a child before Bar Mitzva who keeps the mitzvot only because of “hinuch”. The Sifri (Devarim 43) explains, however, that the reason why the Torah commanded Jews to keep the mitzvot even in Galut is so that the mitzvot not be forgotten when the Jews return to Israel. The intent of the Torah is that the mitzvot be kept in Israel and therefore the Torah commanded that they be performed in Galut as well. There were Gedolei Yisrael who wrote that because of this the value of keeping mitzvot in Israel is greater than that of keeping the same mitzvot in Galut.
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