Living in the Land of Israel
Haham Eliezer Papo, Sarajevo (Ottoman Turkish Empire) 5545 / 1785
greatness of the beautiful Erets Yisrael is well known. Since God's
glory is manifest in Erets Yisrael, you should always direct your
eyes and heart there, and strive to establish your home
is a great mitzvah for children to enable their parents to move to
Israel. This honor is worth more than thousands of pieces of gold
and silver. Each person should likewise help other Jews who wish to
settle in Israel.
God has blessed you with adequate wealth, you should assist all those
who wish to move to Erets Yisrael and send funds to people living
is inappropriate, however, for poor people to beg for money to enable
them to settle in Israel. God knows that their intentions are good.
Therefore, if we see that someone is distraught at not being able
to settle in Erets Yisrael, we should help him to the best of our
ability without waiting for him to beg our assistance.
who reside in Erets Yisrael are considered our responsibility. It
is an act of kindness and charity to write to the Jews of Israel and
to send them gifts, according to our means.
to Israel brings blessing to one's soul. The holiness of the Land
and the respite from worldly troubles help one to attain spiritual
tranquility. One who merits to go to Erets Yisrael is holy and exalted.
in Erets Yisrael, the sanctuary of God, imposes special responsibilities.
Your days and nights there should be devoted to studying Tora and
serving God. The power of prayer in that wonderful Land is great,
sustaining the lives of Jews everywhere.
who dwells in Israel should always be happy in the knowledge that
he is constantly fulfilling the mitzvah of living in the Holy Land.
All sufferings and inconveniences should be taken lightly when compared
to the great mitzvah one is fulfilling by being there.
is from Haham Papo's Pele Yoetz (An Encyclopedia of Ethical
Living) which is available in all Jewish bookstores. The Pele Yoetz
was first printed in Constantinople, Turkey in 5585 /1825 CE. It was
popular among both Sephardim and Ashkenazim across Europe and Asia.
The work has been printed in Hebrew, Ladino, Judeo-German, Arabic
(Rabbi) Eliezer Papo was a major exponent of the musar tradition.
Born in Sarajevo in 1785 into a Ladino speaking home, Haham Papo
became an outstanding rabbinic scholar, deeply devoted to piety
and spirituality. He authored books of halakhah, homiletics, and
musar, and was profoundly committed to kabbalah as well. Haham
Papo served as rabbi of the community of [Ottoman] Selestria (Bulgaria).
He died in 1826 at the age of forty-one. Haham Papo stressed the
need for sincere piety and saintliness. He generally felt that
Jews should devote themselves to fulfilling Gods commandments,
without worrying too much about the problems of this world. It
was the world-to-come which has ultimate value; it was that goal
to which Jews should direct their lives.