Building New Israeli Settlements – The Opinion of the Gaon – according to Kol Hator

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To Build New Settlements in the Territories Liberated by Israel After the 6 Day War

The Opinion of the Gaon – according to Kol Hator

Question: Perhaps one should not build settlements right now because of the mitzvah to protect Jewish lives from danger?

Answer: One of the Torah giants of our generation was asked, on the basis of what did the disciples of the Gaon of Vilna, risk their lives to make aliyah and to settle in Israel?

He answered that the Vilna Gaon held the opinion of the Ramban that the mitzvah of settling the land of Israel is to be observed in our time and in the manner spelled out in Kol Hator.

And thus wrote a disciple of the Vilna Gaon, Rabbi Hillel Rivleeas (Rivlin) in the book Kol Hator (chapter 1,section 9) concerning the (Biblical) verse “And you shall drive them out and dwell in it”. “Our Rabbi the Vilna Gaon says (Aderet Eliyahu, Deut.11) ‘In merit of expelling those of the land you shall dwell in it and by what means shall you expel, by Chzka, Chzka that is to say, building and planting in accordance to the general procedure for property acquisition’….
‘And at a time of need with Chzka, (vocalized this time differently, by the Hebrew vowel sign Kametz)’….

“And the second definition of ‘You shall expel by Chzka’, in the words of our Rabbi (with the vowel sign
Kametz) is in accordance to the viewpoint of tractate Kiddushin 26, in accordance to the (Biblical) verse ‘And you shall dwell in the cities that you have seized’; and the ultimate goal of our work in the ingathering of the exiles is the war of Hashem against Amalek , for this is the primary task of Yehoshua in the spiritual level/role of Messiah son of Yosef . A war against Amalek in all aspects against all the enemies of Israel and against Armilus official (alternate translation, spiritual guardian) of the Erev Rav, to remove the spirit of impurity from the land and to raise the assemblage of Israel and the Divine presence below, from the ground and the opening of the battle against the War of Gog and Magog in the first redemption at the front of the coming of the Messiah that makes us righteous – Messiah son of Dovid , May he speedily come”.

Regarding the war against Amalek it is further explained in chapter 6 section 6, that the war against Amalek is of 3 types. A] Amalek in the heart, this is the evil inclination and the evil character traits. B] The general spiritual force of Amalek, this is the destructive force of accusation, adversary of Israel, this is S”M and his host whose main strength is in the gates of Jerusalem, at the time that her land is desolate. C] The physical Amalek,( not defined here as a particular ethnic group, but rather) containing (elements of) Eisav, Yishmael, and Erev Rav, as our Rabbi has explained in “you shall expel by Chzka”.

( See further within the chapter , regarding the pragmatic restraints on the use of military force, (for example, by fighting in the manner mentioned in Isaiah 28:6) during the period of “6 hours” of the sixth millennium [comment 53 on chapter 1.] )

( And in the fifth chapter)
“Assistance of Heaven in general, and in particular in a miraculous way, comes measure for measure. In accordance to the measure that a man measures out, it is correspondingly measured out to him by heaven. That is to say that in accordance to the measure that the mitzvah was performed by man through natural efforts, in the same manner comes assistance from heaven, the level in correspondence to level, on the base of 499 and a half from the left and 499 and a half from the right (Kabbalistic terms, used to explain the Biblical verse, “The least one shall become [or alternately translated reach] a thousand”) in accordance to the explanation of our Rabbi the Vilna Gaon in many places ( and in particular in his work Yahel Ohr, Sod Barak Hashachar ).
And if the questioner shall ask, ‘and how can we act at the outset and all the more so endanger ourselves on the basis of half by natural means, half by miracle, behold we do not at the outset rely on a miracle.’ Yet the calculation is thus, that the miraculous side goes up by many percentage points from a number of causes and in what is related to the activities of Ikva Demashicha, the footsteps of the Messiah, and all the more so in activities performed by the community. It turns out, that the accounting, in accordance to the Vilna Gaon, is that the miraculous assistance of heaven is many times greater than measure for measure, and at times the heavenly assistance goes up to a thousand times (the naturalistic strivings)……”

Author’s comment: For a better background concerning the above mentioned mitzvah, see: 1]Mishna Brura comment 24 to chapter 304 2]Chazoan Ish on Shviit, siman 24 and 3]Rashbam to Gen 22:1

Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, a student of the Vilna Gaon also wrote about the conditions that bring Divine Assistance. See the article on this web site:* Divine Assistance 

Appendix: New addition: 8 Elul, 5783

The Biblical book of Numbers (Bamidbar) Ch. 31 as translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan states:

12) They brought the captives, the plunder, and the spoils to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the entire Israelite community, [who were] in the Western Plains of Moab, on the Jericho Jordan.

13) Moses, Eleazar and all the community princes went out to greet them outside the camp.

14) However, Moses was angry at the generals and captains who were the officers returning from the military campaign.

15) “Why have you kept all the women alive?” demanded Moses.

16) “These are exactly the ones who were involved with the Israelites at Balaam’s instigation, causing them to be unfaithful to God in the Peor incident, and bringing a plague on God’s community.

Ramban asks, why was Moses angry? Ramban provides 2 possible answers.

His first answer says that Moses thought the army would leave no survivors once he told them to take revenge against Midian, like the vengeance against Amalek and the vengeance against the seven nations.

When Moses saw the nation was too concerned about war booty, he gave in to them and allowed “B’dieved” (after the fact) that certain survivors (mentioned in the Biblical text) be taken.

We see from Ramban’s first answer that the vengeance against Amalek ideally can be extended to other nations that are not the biological Amalek.

Ramban’s second answer provides an alternate answer why Moses did not coerce the nation to take complete vengeance, like the vengeance against Amalek and the vengeance against the seven nations. See there for details.

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