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Where Should A Jew Live?

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#1 Kshaniv



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Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:13 PM

Here's what the Rambam writes:

דרך ברייתו של אדם להיות נמשך בדעותיו ובמעשיו אחר רעיו וחבריו, נוהג כמנהג אנשי מדינתו, לפיכך צריך אדם להתחבר לצדיקים וליישב אצל החכמים תמיד, כדי שילמד ממעשיהם, ויתרחק מן הרשעים ההולכים בחושך, כדי שלא ילמד ממעשיהם... וכן אם היה במדינה שמנהגותיה רעים, ואין אנשיה הולכים בדרך ישרה, ילך למקום שאנשיה צדיקים ונוהגים בדרך טובים. ואם היו כל המדינות שהוא יודעם ושומע שמועתן נוהגים בדרך לא טובה כמו זמנינו, או שאינו יכול ללכת למדינה שמנהגותיה טובים, מפני הגייסות או מפני החולי, ישב לבדו יחידי, כעניין שנאמר ישב בדד וידום. ואם היו רעים וחטאים שאין מניחים אותו ליישב במדינה אלא אם כן נתערב עימהן ונוהג במנהגם הרע, יצא למערות ולחוחים ולמדברות, ואל ינהיג עצמו בדרך חטאים. כעניין שנאמר מי יתנני במדבר מלון אורחי

How does this apply to us nowadays? Do the words כמו זמנינו also apply to these times? And if yes, does he literally mean that since people nowadays don't behave well we should sit home alone or dwell in caves?

Finally, beyond mikvah, kosher and minyan what should a Jew look for when deciding for the best place to live in?

#2 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:05 PM

The Satmar Rebbe once mentioned this Rambam to the Chazon Ish, asking why, according to what it says, we should not all move to the desert.

The Chazon Ish said that nowadays the Yeshivos are "deserts."

When looking for a place to live, you should consider the following:

עשה לך רב וקנה לך חבר

משנה מסכת אבות פרק ו
י) אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בֶּן קִסְמָא, פַּעַם אַחַת הָיִיתִי מְהַלֵּךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ וּפָּגַע בִּי אָדָם אֶחָד, וְנָתַן לִי שָׁלוֹם, וְהֶחֱזַרְתִּי לוֹ שָׁלוֹם, אָמַר לִי, רַבִּי מֵאֵיזֶה מָקוֹם אָתָּה, אָמַרְתִּי לוֹ, מֵעִיר גְּדוֹלָה שֶׁל חֲכָמִים וְשֶׁל סוֹפְרִים אָנִי, אָמַר לִי, רַבִּי רְצוֹנְךָ שֶׁתָּדוּר עִמָּנוּ בִּמְקוֹמֵנוּ וַאֲנִי אֶתֵּן לְךָ אֶלֶף אֲלָפִים דִּנְרֵי זָהָב וַאֲבָנִים טוֹבוֹת וּמַרְגָּלִיּוֹת, אָמַרְתִּי לוֹ אִם אַתָּה נוֹתֵן לִי כָּל כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב וַאֲבָנִים טוֹבוֹת וּמַרְגָּלִיּוֹת שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם, אֵינִי דָר אֶלָּא בִּמְקוֹם תּוֹרָה

Now consider: This place that R. Yosi ben Kisma did not want to live, people from there went and offered R. Yosi a lot of money to live in their town. How bad could they have been if they were willing to offer a lot of money to get a Godol HaDor to live in their town? Yet R. Yosi still considered it not a "Makom Torah."

A Makom Torah is a place where you can find Torah - being taught and being learned. In that town, the people knew they lacked Torah and were willing to pay for it. They had the right intentions, but the lack of Torah in that town disqualified it as a place for R. Yosi.

It is wonderful to influence others, but your first concern is to find a place that will not negatively influence you.

After that, the most important thing to look for is a place where you can learn the most Torah.

#3 Kshaniv



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Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:24 PM

Thanks for the generous response.

About the second criterion, how does this apply to baalei batim? Nowadays, every Jewish community has shuls with seforim, daf yomi shiurim, and the occasional speech. If a baal habayis has a shiur in the morning and another at night, or perhaps a chavrusah at his local shul, how does he, a baal habayis, assess where we can learn more torah?

#4 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:44 AM

He should consider what he needs to learn, what kind of speeches he needs to hear, from what kind of people, and with what kind of people. And take it from there.

Example: For Baalei Batim to spend their precious learning time on Daf Yomi is only permitted B'Dieved, meaning, we allow it because it's better than nothing but that's not what they should be spending their time on. See here.

You want a place that you can grow. You want to be associated with people who are growing - usually, but not always, the best choice is a Yeshiva.

And growing with others is a much better choice than growing alone in a vacuum. You want to be part of a Chaburah of מבקשים. You want to be among not just people who learn their scheduled learning; you want to be among people who value learning, and wish they were able to do more of it.

You need to consider the learning that will be best for your growth. Imagine yourself as you want yourself to be in 5 years from now. Then find a place that will help you make that image into a reality.

#5 forever613



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Posted 08 January 2014 - 10:07 AM

A woman who is working as a professional full-time and then taking care of the kids- how does she continue to go up higher every day? A man has his rebbe, chaburah, learning, and 3x a day davening to rely upon, but for a woman, days can go by where she hardly interacts with other frum people/rebbetzins/people she can grow with, outside her home. What is the ideal for such a woman?

#6 taon



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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:46 PM

Try to get a hold of Rav Scheinberg's Heart to Heart Talks, or similar sefarim aimed towards women. Rebbetzin Heller, Rebbetzin Samet, etc. I dont know much about this, but im sure they have suggestions.