The Obligation to Settle the Entire Land of Israel
An examination of the Rebbes public addresses reveals that one of the most essential aspects of ensuring the safety of the Land of Israel and its inhabitants, is settling the entire land with Jews. This applies especially to those places which are the subject of dispute among the nations of the world. The Rebbe explains:
1) why it is so important to settle the entire area of The Land of Israel;
2) which parts are most in need of Jewish settlement;
3) what the result of such activity will be. The Rebbe even specified how to implement this settlement and how the settlements should look. All this and more, in the following pages.
The Obligation to Settle the Land
In a letter dated Cheshvan 22, 5738 (1977) the Rebbe wrote:
Perhaps you are aware of that which I spoke about on Motzoei Shabbos Lech Lecha regarding the absolute necessity of settling all the territories simultaneously. This should at least be done in the places which are under dispute by the nations. In my opinion, it is clear that this is the only way to cause the enemies of Israel to give up their evil plans, when they see that we really mean it.
The Rebbe concludes his letter by saying:
If you share this outlook, surely you will raise the greatest possible commotion. Even though it would have been preferable to build these settlements immediately at the same time that the first one was established nevertheless, it is better to do it now, late, than to continue taking two steps back, and then one step forward. I deliberately changed the order, because unfortunately the politicians are even afraid of the method of taking one step forward, and then two steps back.
In his address of Pesach Sheini, 5738 (1978), the Rebbe said that there is an immediate need to populate the entire eastern border of the Holy Land, adding: "This is literally a matter of security for three-and-a-half million Jews!"
The Rebbe always mentioned in his addresses the saying of the Sages, "Action is the main thing." He also mentions this saying in connection with the indivisibility of the Land of Israel, which is an important and fateful issue. In his public address of 13 Tishrei 5738 (1977), the Rebbe stresses that action is the main thing with regard to the integrity of the land.
The entire Land of Israel should be populated, along its entire boundaries. This is similar to that which is said regarding Torah and mitzvos just as we must perform the actual physical act, so must it be regarding the integrity of the Land of Israel the physical act is necessary: to settle the entire Land of Israel!
The Correct Way to Settle the Land
In order for settlement activity to succeed, the Rebbe makes a few recommendations, and describes the conditions which must be present at the time of the settlement:
1) Not to be provocative: In the above mentioned addresses, the Rebbe said that one must not announce to the gentiles that we are going to settle the whole territories in order to show them that we are not afraid of them. If we display arrogance, it will arouse their desire to show us their arrogance in return. Rather, one should proceed without such declarations. It is worthwhile publicizing that we are still in exile, since the redemption has not yet arrived (not even "the beginning of the redemption").
2) To do it quietly: There are two ways to settle: The first, with noise and publicity. That is, writing about it in the newspapers, accompanying the activity with jeering pronouncements etc. The second method is doing things quietly.
All the problems begin, said the Rebbe, when people conduct themselves in the first manner. But when people conduct themselves using the second method, things pass peacefully. Even though this method of settlement activity may not be to a certain politicians liking, he knows that he has no choice because if he makes an issue of it, there will be a commotion. He has enough trouble as it is, and doesnt need this on top of it.
The Rebbe added that this, in fact, was how things turned out:
Until now, they settled this area or that area; it was no secret, and everyone knew about it. As long as they kept quiet and didnt make noise about it, then when some wished to make a commotion about it in this capital city or that capital city, everyone pretended they didnt know anything about it. A promise was made to investigate the matter, and establish a commission of inquiry, and hold a meeting, and in this meeting they would decide that they need to make another meeting. And that is the way they would have continued until Moshiach came. It could have continued that way, and will continue that way, because "The word of G-d stands forever" the Land of Israel belongs to "the eternal nation" as an "eternal inheritance," since it was given by "Eternal G-d."
The Rebbe also said this in his address of Motzoei Shabbos Lech Lecha, 5738 (1977):
The main thing is that they should not announce this loudly, so that the settlement in the territories should be without commotion and tumult. The only thing which is truly important is the actual settlement itself!
In the talk of Motzoei Shabbos Mishpatim of the same year the Rebbe again stressed:
If they would only settle the entire Land of Israel speedily, without all the stormy noise but rather in a "still, quiet voice"as G-d Himself walks. Certainly this is the way of true peace and they surely have it within their capability to do it in this way.
3) Simultaneously: We have already mentioned the Rebbes comment about "the absolute necessity of settling all the territories simultaneously at least those places which are disputed by the nations." That is, that the reality dictates that we must settle all the territories at once; and at the very least, those places that are the subject of dispute.
4) The deeds of the fathers are a lesson for the children: In the above-mentioned public address, the Rebbe explains that settlement should be done in the same fashion as that of Avraham in the Land of Israel. That is, just as when Avraham traveled the "length and breadth of the land," he would "build there an altar to G-d," so must it be today. When we settle the Land of Israel, we should establish in each new place:
a) A place of Torah learning: for this is the dwelling place of G-d, since "from the time of the destruction of the Temple (until the coming of Moshiach; because only then will the Third Temple be built, and not before this, as clearly stated in the Rambams ruling), G-d does not have any place in His world except in the four cubits of halachah."
b) A place for prayer: This is similar to what was mentioned above, since prayers take the place of the sacrifices (altar), and synagogues are "small Temples."
c) Mikvah: Besides the fact that this is an absolute necessity for all Jewish women, it is also relevant to men: In order for our prayers to be acceptable, there must be purity (as in the Rambams famous ruling, that even though immersing in a ritual bath is not a prerequisite for prayer, nevertheless, "tevilas Ezra was never abolished"), particularly according to the explanation of the Alter Rebbe, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe.
d) There is a special need to establish Yeshivos where Torah is learned, as the Rebbe said in his address of 13 Tishrei 5738 (1977): "They should settle as many places as possible, and the settlement should be complete with yeshivos for learning Torah. Since learning brings to action, the students will be even more inspired to perform the mitzvos in the best manner possible. Through the voice of Yaakov which will be heard in the synagogues and study halls, there will be a greater manifestation of "the L-rd your G-d walking among your camp."
The Rebbe Answers All Criticism
The Rebbes emphatic words regarding settlement of the entire Holy Land elicited many reactions and denunciations. Here are some of the answers which the Rebbe gave in replying to the detractors.
There were those who agreed that the optimal situation would indeed have been to immediately settle all the territories which had been liberated. However, they claimed, since they were not settled then, it is an impossible goal today. Similarly, there were those who said that since promises had already been made not to settle those places, it is impossible to do so now.
The Rebbe answered these assertions in his address of Motzoei Shabbos Mishpatim, 5738 (1978). The Rebbe calls the first claim a deception. Yes, it would have been preferable to settle the entire land immediately when the territories were liberated, but it is still possible to settle them today.
Regarding the second claim, the Rebbe said:
As to their claim that they promised someone etc. this claim lacks all foundation, since one cannot promise something which does not belong to him; the land is something which belongs to the Holy One, and He gave it to every Jew, and to all of the Jews as an everlasting inheritance; thus, it belongs to the Jews forever. In any case, the gentile to whom they made this promise, does not believe that the Jews will truly honor it. Of course, this stems from the fact that the nations themselves reneged on the conditions they established, and broke their word on several occasions. This leaves a wide opening for the Jews to do as G-d wishes."
Settlement Forestalls Pressure
In his address of Pesach Sheini, 5738 (1978), the Rebbe spoke of the need to settle the entire Land of Israel, explaining:
It is true that "the guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers," but G-d wants people to also act within the framework of nature, at least with the minimal effort required to move ones little finger. This is what He teaches us in the Torah: When the Jews hear that gentiles want to come to a city "to take straw and chaff," if it is a city from which it "would be easy for them to conquer the land," the Jews are to "go out and face them with weapons and even desecrate the Shabbos." In such a case we have a promise that the pressure placed upon the Jewish people to concede, will be nullified as we have seen many times when we stood fast.
The Rebbe spoke in a similar vein in his address of Motzoei Shabbos Mishpatim mentioned above:
All of the anguish and suffering which the Jews experience as a result of the negotiations is totally unnecessary. When they act swiftly and quietly, all the pressure will be forestalled, because the nations will see a fait accompli, an irreverable act of the Jewish court that the Land of Israel is an everlasting inheritance of the immortal nation.
The Rebbe adds that not only will the nations cease theit pressure, but will ultimately even assist us, as the Rebbe says on Motzoei Shabbos Chaye Sara, 5738:
Settlement of all parts of the Land of Israel will even affect the nations, to the extent that they will even assist us. They will also "feel" (since their mazal will see) that the existence of Esau is only for the purpose of helping Jacob. This will be a preparation for the ingathering of all Sons and Daughters of Israel shleimus haAm to the whole the Land of Israel, in the coming of (and through) Moshiach, after which "G-d will extend your boundaries" and the Land of Israel will be expanded, with the addition of the lands of the Keini, Knizi, and Kadmoni.
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