I know that sounds strange coming from me. It isn't easy for me to write it. In fact, I went to my rabbinic mentor this week to get ammunition in my debate against Fishman. He is one of the well known and respected leaders of the UltraOrthodox world in Brooklyn. When I explained the reason for my visit I received the surprise of my life. He said that Fishman was right, that living in Israel was a mitzvah beyond all measure, and that anyone who could go there certainly should. When I asked him why he didn't announce this publicly he smiled and said, "Do you want me to be banned by the other rabbis?" He also answered that one is not allowed to teach something that a majority of the community cannot observe, and this is the case with aliyah since it is not practical for many families, and his task is to strengthen them in their Yiddishkiet until Moshiach comes, but that anyone who could go to Israel is certainly performing a great mitzvah. My head is still spinning around. But I gathered from his answer that I owe Mr. Fishman an apology for some of the things that I wrote. Also, if I led other Jews astray, I am sorry.A truly great and enlightening talkback.
Monday, February 18, 2008
The Mitzvah of Living in Israel
Tzvi Fishman has been spending a lot of time trying to convince us that there is a mitzvah to live in the land of Israel. One of his readers, Shimshon from NYC, wasn't convinced until he asked his rabbi. Then he wrote a talkback(#46) entitled Fishman is right!: