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B'siyata d'shmaya - With the help of Heaven


On Living in the Land of Israel

by Haham Eliezer Papo, Sarajevo (Ottoman Turkish Empire) 5545 / 1785 CE

The 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

It 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.

If 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 there.

It 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.

Those 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.

Traveling 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.

Being 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.

One 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.


This 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 and German.

Haham (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 God’s 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.