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"I Hope I Get An Upgrade On My Flight To Israel"

It is well known that there is a concept called a mitzva and a concept called hechsher mitzva. A mitzva is an act such as having children which is INHERENTLY a mitzva. A hechsher mitzva is an act that facilitates a mitzva. An example of this would be marriage [according to some, others maintain that getting married is a mitzva]. Marriage facilitates the mitzva of having children.

A hechsher mitzva can sometimes adopt the status of a bona fide mitzva. When? In a case where it is impossible to fulfill the mitzva without the hechsher. In such an instance the hechsher mitzva is "upgraded" to a mitzva. [Tosaphos Yeshanim ksubos 31, Piskei Tosaphos Zevachim 69]

Sometimes it is not clear if an act is a mitzva or a hechsher mitzva. Living in Israel is a mitzva. What about TRAVELING to Israel in order to live there. The "nefesh b'nefesh" flight. Is it a mitzva or merely a hechsher mitzva?

You guessed it. Machlokes. The Tashbetz holds that even the trip to Israel is a mitzva. The Rashbash says that the trip is merely a hechsher mitzva. Once you arrive the actual mitzva begins.

Rav Shlomo Yosef Zevin the great gaon and editor of the Talmudic Encyclopedia had trouble understanding the Rashbash. How can he say the the trip to Israel is only a hechsher mitzva. It is impossible for a person living outside the land to fulfill the mitzva of living there without first taking the trip. That means that traveling to Israel MUST be a bonafide mitzva and not merely a hechsher [based on the priciple we mentioned before]. So how can we understand the Rashbash.

Please help Rabbi Zevin [and me].

P.S. There is another interesting machlokes. Does traveling have one or two l's. Traveling or travelling - you make the call.

Is it possible to say that Yishuv e"Y is in itself a heachsher mitzvah turned mitzvah, because it allows us to do the mitzvot hatluiot baaretz?

Would the trip then be a "twice removed " action, which would siqualify it as a mitzvah itself.

sorry, i meant disqualify it as a mitzvah itself, and not"siqualify"it.

Dear Wise

I don't know if you are old but you are definitely wise.

The consensus of the Poskim is that living in Israel is a mitzva. It is also a hechsher for the mitzvos hatluyos báretz but that doesn't detract from its mitzva status. It only adds.

Thanks for weighing in with your comments.

I'm pretty sure its 1 L

trav·el -eled, -el·ing or (especially British) -elled, -el·ling

thanks to Dictionary.com

Besides the obvious answer that not all ראשונים will agree to תוס ישנים and פסקי תוס, I would suggest something else, though I do not know enough about the מצוה of living in א"י to assert its veracity.

If the מצוה is not physically living in the land per se but יישוב הארץ (e.g., supporting those who do live there), then it's possible to fulfill that מצוה without actually living there. In that case, even though one expression of the מצוה is living on the actual terrain and getting there requires travelling, other expressions of the מצוה do not require travelling. Logic dictates, then, that travelling is not indispensible to fulfilling the מצוה.

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  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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