All Israelis are “Settlers”

In Parshat Re’eh, we read over and over again about the mitzvah of “Yishuv Eretz Yisrael”, the commandment to live in the Land of Israel:


Devarim 11:31: “For you shall pass across the Jordan to come to inherit the Land that HaShem your God is giving you; you will inherit it and you will dwell in it (viyshavtem bah)”.


Devarim 12:10: “When you cross the Jordan and settle in the Land (viyshavtem bah) that HaShem your God is apportioning to you and He has granted you peace from all of your enemies around and you will live secure (viyshavtem betach)”.


Devarim 12:29: “When HaShem your God will have eliminated the nations whom you are coming there to inherit from before you; and you inherit them and dwell in their Land (viyashavtem biartzam)”.


In Sifri Re’eh we read the story about Rabbi Eliezer ben Shamua and Rabbi Yochanan HaSandlar who left Israel to study Torah. When they got to Tyre, they remembered the Land of Israel and began to cry. They tore their clothing and read the above quotes about settling the Land of Israel. They went back to Israel and proclaimed that the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel is equal to all of the other mitzvoth put together.


We learn in the Gemara in Pesachim 50b: “Rabbi Yehuda said in the name of Rav: A person should always engage in the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvoth even though it is not for its own sake (lo lishma) because from learning Torah and performing a mitzvah not for its own sake, he will eventually come to learn Torah or perform a mitzvah for its own sake (ba lishma)”.


Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazar Mimodzitz explains that a person should live in the Land of Israel even if it is not “lishma” (for its own sake) since the more time that he spends in the Land of Israel and feels the holiness it will eventually become “lishma” for its own sake.


What we learn from here is that every Israeli whether they realize it or not is actually a “settler”, observing the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel.