According to Nahmanides, residing in the land of Israel is equivalent to the performance of all of the other mitzvot. In his critique on Maimonides’ (Rambam , 1135 – 1204) list of the 613 commandments (Sefer Hamitzvot), Nahmanides lists settling in the land of Israel as one of the positive commandments that Maimonides failed to enumerate. He wrote: “Because this mitzvah of living in the land of Israel, which the sages extol to the point that they said that all who leave it to live outside the land should be deemed as performing idolatry”, and concludes that it is “a mitzva for all generations, which obligates every individual even during a time of exile”.
Outside the Land of Israel, the harmonious vision of a unified world cannot be fully revealed. There, a fragmented worldview reigns, emphasizing division and isolation. A grim sense of existential estrangement pervades all aspects of life. Any attempt to reveal the hidden unity of the world is hindered by the ‘impurity of the lands of the nations.’ In other words, the lands outside of Israel suffer from the foul odor of idolatry. The Sages wrote that Jews living outside the Land are “idol-worshippers in purity” (Avodah Zarah 8a). In other words, they are unintentionally influenced by the cultural environment of the foreign countries in which they live.
The Sages wrote that “The air of the Land of Israel makes one wise” (Baba Batra 158b). Eretz Yisrael is bound to the spiritual life of Israel, the Torah; and the essence of the Torah’s wisdom is the inner truth of a united reality. The special atmosphere of the Land of Israel instills greater awareness of the world’s unified foundation. For this reason, obliteration of idolatry is especially important in the Land of Israel.
Now with all the above said I was harshly reminded I just the last two days of how ‘impurity of the lands of the nations’ also affects the actions people who live here in Israel too. In one case someone took great exception to a video I posted by Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi titled “The truth about Rabbi Nachman of Breslov zy”a”
The video was immediately branded as Loshon Ha’Ra by a staunch follower of Breslov. However, taking time to see the video I must admit that it is not Loshon Ha’Ra at all. The video did not belittle Rabbi Nachman but rather addressed the foolish nonsense that is said to have been said by Rabbi Nachman. In essence what Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi said was that any group that insists that being in the group and believing in the unique teachings of the group as the only way to G-d is a cult and is propagating idolatry. The same cultic behaviors found in Christianity and Islam where the examples he chose to make his point.
On a personal note, only a couple of years ago I was slapped in the face by a Chabadnik for not believing in Rabbi Schneerson as the messiah and only way to G-d. Granted the Chabadnik was a bit drunk owing to it being Purim but is this not the point of Purim that the booze lets out the secrets of the heart? The secret of the heart in this case is that this Chabadnik believed in Rabbi Schneerson as the messiah and only the way to G-d. This type foolishness I run away from it is idolatry and has cult written all over it!
Idolatry unfortunately is still prevalent today both inside and outside of the land of Israel but obliteration of idolatry is especially important in the Land of Israel now more than ever! How can it be justified that being in Uman is more important than being in Israel for Rosh Hoshana, especially if one lives in israel? How can it be said that Rabbi Nachman of Breslov says he can offer salvation to anyone who visits his grave in Uman, other Rabbis are rubbish in comparison to himself and that he can pull someone out of Gehinom by their peyot and save them? People go there for these promises that even Moshe himself is unable to promise? Its time to throw out this type of rubbish from the truth!!