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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@saber.towson.edu> Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2000 23:28:10 -0400 (EDT) Subject: A New concept for the Aliyah discussion: OBLIGATED vs PIOUS I have just sifted thru 30 Mail Jewishes and read all the postings on Aliyah (including my own). I felt that something more should be said (since everyone felt strongly and was going around in circles) but it wasn't clear WHAT to say(Since both sides had strong arguments). I finally decided to add the point of the difference between OBLIGATED acts and PIOUS ACTS ("beyond the letter of the law"). It is certainly a mistake for those who feel aliyah is NOT OBLIGATED to try and DENY all the EXCELLENT arguments offered by those who are ADVOCATING ALIYAH. Indeed it makes their case look bad if they disagree with all the benefits that DO come from aliyah. But the real issue is WHY certain acts are OBLIGATED while certain ACTS are only PIOUS (beyond the letter of the law but not obligated). Clearly the fact that PIOUS acts have IMMENSE BENEFITS is NOT a reason to obligate them. Let me list some of the areas other than aliyah that this affects. It is pious (but not obligatory) to (a) give as much as possible to charity (b) to study Torah as often as we are free (c) to devote as much free time we have (when we are not studying) to the synagogue (d) to try and do outreach to as many people as we have free time for (e) to go to Israel (according to those legal opinions that we are not obligated if the 'earning a living' situation is different). My point here is that halachah has gone out of its way to tell us that certain acts are NOT OBLIGATORY. That means in particular that if **I** want to study all day or give alot to charity that is fine but other people should not be pressuring me to do so (because the act is a PIOUS one but NOT OBLIGATORY). The same goes for ISRAEL. Halachah makes it clear that lack of ADEQUATE EARNING OF A LIVING is valid reason not to be OBLIGATED to go. Of course there are wonderful benefits in going and of course many people who want to make it, have. The point to emphasize is that going to Israel under such circumstances (where a person judges that the LIVING standards are not the same) is a PIOUS ACT not an OBLIGATORY act--it is therefore wrong in the eyes of halachah for other people to pressure such a person into going or to make him feel guilty about not going. I don't believe the above answers all questions that have been raised on aliyah but I believe that it helps avoid some of the more unpleasant arguments that have arisen in the past 100 issues Russell Jay Hendel;Phd ASA; RHendel@Towson.Edu Moderator Rashi Is Simple http://www.shamash.org/rashi/