Rav Avigdor Miller on Leaving Eretz Yisroel
There is a statement in the Gemara that “Anyone who lives outside of Eretz Yisroel it’s as if he has no G-d” (Kesuvos 110b). Can you explain that to me?
The statement, “Anyone who does not live in Eretz Yisroel is like he has no Hashem,” you have to know that it’s a maamar of agadata, it’s a figure of speech. And it doesn’t mean today – it means in the times when Eretz Yisroel was the place of Torah.
When a man lives in a place of Torah, in a place of kedusha, and he leaves that place and goes someplace else, so it’s like losing part of his closeness to Hashem.
The truth is if a man forsakes Bavel in the time when Bavel was at its prime, when it was a place of Torah in the days of Rava, and he settled in a different place, so they put him in cherem! ההוא גברא דאזל מפומבדיתא לבי כובא – A man left Pumpedisa and settled further out, so שמתיה – they put him in cherem. Because you can’t forsake a place where you could make progress in Torah, where you’re close to Hashem, and go and settle in the suburbs among gentiles and among half Jews and quarter Jews and one-third Jews! You have to live close to Hashem! Close to Hashem means close to where there are real Jews! And that’s why it’s considered like forsaking Hashem!
But if a man goes to Eretz Yisroel and he moves into Tel Aviv, he’s much better off being in Boro Park and Williamsburg or maybe here in Flatbush. I once spoke to a rosh yeshiva. We were talking about going to Eretz Yisroel and he said, “It depends where you go.” He came from Eretz Yisroel, this rosh yeshiva and he said to me, “It depends where you go!” Just Eretz Yisroel without an address, it’s senseless! You have to know where you’re going! It’s like moving to Chicago.
So therefore, if you forsake Eretz Yisroel means when it’s Eretz Yisroel! It means when they don’t draft your daughters. If they draft your daughters, run away because she’ll become a harlot! That’s what the draft is for. Jewish girls in the army become prostitutes without pay. If you don’t believe it, read that notice that we have hanging on the wall in the lady’s section written by an Israeli general. He wrote the history of the Israeli Defense Force and he writes in his book that most Israeli girls get their first experience in sexual intercourse in the army. It’s written by a general. And so to go to Eretz Yisroel to have your daughter drafted doesn’t pay.
If you’re an old man and you’re going to Eretz Yisroel to have your body cut up by the doctors and to have your kishkes thrown in the garbage can, it doesn’t pay. Better to die here and go to a funeral parlor on Coney Island Avenue. Even an irreligious funeral parlor won’t throw your kishkes in the garbage can if you give them instructions.
But there, instructions won’t help! The doctors laugh in your face. You can leave in your last will and testament, you tell the doctors, “Don’t mistreat my body,” they’ll laugh at you.
And which country is as liberal in abortions as Eretz Yisroel? The most liberal country!
And so living in Eretz Yisroel when it was still Eretz Yisroel, that certainly meant you were closer to Hashem. And to move away from Eretz Yisroel when it was still Eretz Yisroel certainly meant you were moving away from Hashem.
TAPE # 179 (July 1977)