With increasing anti-Semitism worldwide, a group of mainstream rabbinical figures have joined forces to encourage the “ingathering of exiles.”
By United with Israel Staff
Following last week’s Torah reading of “Lech Lecha (Go For Your Own Sake),” when God commands the patriarch Abraham to leave his country of birth and go to the Land of Israel, a growing group of respected educators and rabbis made videos encouraging Jews to return “home.” The series, like the organization, is titled, “Bring Them Home.”
Though there are numerous biblical dictates and Torah sources stating that Jews should live in the Land of Israel, presently there are more Jews living outside of the Land. This is expected to change within the next few years, and Bring Them Home strives to encourage the process.
“You shall possess the Land and dwell in it, for to you have I given the Land to possess it.” (Numbers 33:53)
“Possess the land that Hashem your God is assigning to you.” (Deuteronomy 11:31)
The Talmud makes a fascinating statement about living in Israel.
“A person should always dwell in the Land of Israel, even in a city inhabited mostly by heathens, and he should not dwell outside the Land, even in a city inhabited mostly by Jews, for anyone who dwells in the Land of Israel is like one who has a God, and anyone who dwells outside the Land is like one who has no God.”
What Are Jews Waiting For?
Most of the presenters stem from the US and all are Orthodox. Each moved to Israel and agreed to speak on camera about the mitzvah (Torah commandment) of living in Israel and its importance.
Rabbi Zev Leff, educator and author who heads the anglo-based community of Moshav Matityahu, explains in his video that although there are many factors to consider before moving to the Holy Land, one is definitely fulfilling a mitzvah by doing so. At the bare minimum, he says, one must speak to his or her children about settling in Israel and learning about the Holy Land.
Noting that our ancestors would have come in flocks had they had the opportunity, Leff says we must take advantage of this unique time in history when we are able to do so.
World-renowned speaker and educator at Neve Yerushalayim College in Jerusalem, Rebbitzen Tzipporah Heller teaches that the Land of Israel is the place that provides meaning to the lives of Jews and a stronger connection to God.
Noting that in the past six months alone, 450 terror attacks were averted by Israel’s security forces. she says that “this is God intervening because He wants us in Israel now.”
Israel is the place where Jews become a nation, Heller adds, “The holy language of Hebrew” is spoken in the Jewish State and bus signs light up with “Shabbat Shalom” and “Happy Holiday” before the Jewish festivals.
Rabbi Danny Myers, spiritual leader of Congregation Menorat HaMaor in Ramat Beit Shemesh, and Rabbi Mordechai Machlis of the city’s Yeshivat Lev HaTorah and spiritual director of Jerusalem hospitality project, both referenced the prophet Isaiah (60:4): “Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: they all are gathered together, and come to thee; thy sons come from far, and thy daughters are borne on the side.”
They stress that people do not always notice the miracles happening right before their eyes. The fact that Jews have a state to return to and people are thriving in Israel is a sign that these are special times.
Calling today’s situation “grand and powerful,” Myers beseeches Jews to “step forward and come home.”
In his video, Rabbi Chaiim Soloveitchik of Congregation Ohr Shalom, also in Ramat Beit Shemesh, says that no matter where a Jew is born, Israel is home. “The future of the Nation of Israel is in the Land of Israel,” he affirms.
A Powerful Call to Action
In addition to publicly declaring that now is the time for Jews to move to Israel, the group also signed a letter, written in Hebrew, calling for Jews living in the Diaspora to expedite the process and find their way “home.”
The letter starts with “a call from great Torah leaders,” stating that it is a biblical commandment to settle the Land of Israel and quoting some of Judaism’s greatest sages.
“Therefore, for this reason, at this time, we issue a sacred call to you, those who live abroad, to arouse yourselves, to expedite [your affairs] and examine every possibility you have of immigrating to the Land of Israel, and to educate your sons and daughters on the virtue of living in the Holy Land and to assist them with whatever you can to immigrate and live in the Holy Land.”
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“…for the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land… a land of wheat and barley, vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey” (Deuteronomy 8:7-8)