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Jun 24, 2018

Interesting Psak: Eilat is Chutz Laaretz

The psak of Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef is really nothing now, as from a halachic perspective everybody knows Eilat has the status of Chutz Laaretz, even though for many things it is considered similar to Eretz Yisrael (such as shmitta, such as truma mand maaser).

So what did Rav Yosef say?

According to Kikar, Rav Yitzchak Yosef criticized the rabbinic organizations that commonly make their conferences in Eilat. He said that because it is chutz laaretz, the only allowance for traveling to Eilat would be some direct benefit of "zikui harabim" in Eilat that requires one to be in Eilat. For example, Rav Yosef said, he himself went to Eilat, but that was to give a shiur on kashrut, as part of a kashrut conference that took place there. When there are local rabbinic conferences, nothing to do with Eilat, they shouldn't go to Eilat for the conference.

My question is, he justifies his trip saying he gave a shiur there. But why did his shiur have to be in Eilat? What did it have to do with Eilat? It was part of a rabbinic conference that could have been held anywhere else in the country. And if it was ok simply because he gave a shiur, at these other rabbinic conferences that he is referring to that he is saying are not justified in going to Eilat, do they not have any shiurim? And if they don't, why say it is assur to go to Eilat - why not say to make sure to give a shiur at the conference while in Eilat? How does this work exactly?

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  1. The brother R'Dovid Yoseph reportedly, argues with him on this,though he is a minority opinion

  2. Why would Eilat be considered chutz la'aretz? It is all part of EY Hashleimah. It's a vacation spot, so why can't lectures or events take place there. Instead, there are abominations taking place in Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh.

    1. Many interested parties (historians and Poskim, mostly) are of the opinion that the borders of EY in the time of either Beit Hamikdash did not extend that far south, which means that for Mitzvot pertaining to EY, it doesn't count. This would include leaving EY, as per the Rambam.

  3. Rafi, I don't understand your questions. The shiurim were for the local population. The conferences could have been anywhere.

  4. Eilat being a city in the State of Israel has a local Jewish population. I understand even there religious observance is increasing, and many religious people vacation there. So without getting into the argument if it is part of EY, conferences should be held there.

  5. I am not sure what you are asking. He is criticizing those who hold conferences there, saying that they should be held elsewhere. At the same time, when there is a conference there, it is zikkui harabbim to speak there to teach them Torah. What is difficult?

  6. I don't understand. If it's "not part of Eretz Yisrael", why do the laws of shmitta etc. apply there? Or don't they?


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