Shabbat Parashat Ki Tisa| 5763
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l
Financial Sacrifice to live in Eretz Israel- Part III-Based on Eretz Hemdah I, I, 7
We saw last time that the gemara felt that it is not logical that the Torah would require one to spend a third of his money for a mitzva. The Rosh continued this reasoning, saying that one shouldn't spend more than a fifth and need not put out äåï øá (great sum of money) on a mitzva and that Rabbeinu Yerucham said that one should be prepared to spend a tenth, as by tzedakah.
The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 656) questions the source of Rabbeinu Yerucham's tenth, and the Biur Halacha (ibid.) understood that it should be more (up to a fifth). However, it seems that the tenth we find by tzedakah may be too stringent for other mitzvot for the following reasons: 1) The nature of the obligation of tzedakah is that there is a minimum outlay to fulfill the mitzva properly, whereas other mitzvot do not necessarily require any expense. 2) The Divine promise to compensate for tzedakah outlays does not seem to exist by other mitzvot. Therefore, it should not be simply assumed that one is obligated to give a tenth for mitzvot. Indeed, the gemara, cited by the Rosh (Bava Kamma 1:7), says that the 1,000 zuz whichRabbanGamliel spent to get an etrog was more than halachically required. As Rabban Gamliel was a nasi and a wealthy man, that sum was probably not a fifth or even a tenth of his net worth. Rather, if a certain sum of money is objectively considered äåï øá for a given mitzva, then even a wealthy man is not obligated to pay it. The monetary value of äåï øá does depend on societal considerations to set it. Additionally, a poor person is not required to exceed a tenth of his resources for a mitzva,even if it is an objectively reasonable sum, unless the monetary amount is part of the obligation (i.e. the 5 shekalim of pidyon haben).
[As we mentioned in part I] it is possible that the great mitzva of inhabiting Eretz Yisrael, which is equivalent to the entirety of the mitzvot, requires one to spend all his money, if he will be able to support himself (which is a requirement to fulfill the mitzva). [Ed. Note – perhaps we can suggest a further reason to expect a larger than usual expenditure for inhabiting Eretz Yisrael. Besides the value of the mitzva, one would not pay more for an etrog than for a lemon. Therefore, to pay an unusually large and oppressive amount of money may be unnecessary. In contrast, it is common for people looking for a place to live to spend exorbitant amounts of money because of location (for accessibility, view, good neighbors, etc.). Why then shouldn't the mitzva value of living in Eretz Yisrael be considered the most important factor in choosing a location, causing the estimation of äåï øá in this realm to jump?].
Summary: If by making aliyah, one will need to be impoverished until he needs handouts to survive, he is not obligated to do so and it is forbidden. However, if the situation is not that dire, it is not altogether clear how much he must spend. He must certainly pay up to a tenth and may spend up to a fifth, as we find by other mitzvot.
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