Project Genesis

The Land of Israel


Jewish Presence in the Land of Israel

Question: How can it be that the Torah states that we have to live in exile until the coming of the Messiah, yet still we are living in Israel today? Is it now a sin to live there or not?

Answer: There is no one who believes that the State of Israel is the fulfillment of the Final Redemption—not even the most fervent Religious Zionist. The prayer said by some on behalf of the State of Israel describes the land of Israel as “reishit tzmichat geulateinu”—“The first flowering of our redemption,” but not it’s completion.Nevertheless, it is important to note that Jews have always lived in the land of Israel. From Rabbis of the Mishna and the Jerusalem Talmud, to Nachmanides and the mystics of Tzfat, to our time, there has never been a single year since 70 CE in which Jews did not live in the land of Israel.

Even among those who condemn the founding of the State (e.g. the Satmar group and those called Neturi Karta, to mention the most extreme cases), they will still live in the land of Israel; they just don’t acknowledge the validity of the State of Israel.

Just think—when the Messiah comes, those of us outside of the land of Israel will have a journey to make; yet those living there will just get on a bus!

Rabbi Yosef Friedman

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