Saturday, April 16, 2011

How is an Israeli Jew supposed to celebrate Pessach while being abroad and vice versa ?


When a Diaspora Jew is traveling in Israel during Pessach, how then is he supposed to celebrate the holiday ? By keeping only one Seder and the first and the eight day or stick to the Diaspora custom ?

On the other hand, how is an Israeli Jew celebrating Pessach when he lives in Galut ?

Some years ago, I worked in a Jerusalem office run by Poskim (Halacha experts) and we had to deal with such questions on a daily basis. Especially before Pessach, Shavuot and Sukkot, as you can imagine.The Poskim answered as follows:

A Diaspora Jew traveling or even living in Israel on a temporarily basis who has no Aliyah papers in his hands, has to stick to his custom and keep the holiday in a manner he used to do in the Diaspora. Meaning, he has to have two Seders (Sedarim), keep the first and second day of Pessach, as well as the seventh and the eight day.

An Israeli Jew living abroad has to take over the Diaspora custom after living abroad for more than three years.

In the book "Celebration of the Soul" - The Holidays in the Life and Thought of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook - by Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neriah, I found the following explanation:

As soon as a Jewish tourist asked Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook (1865 - 1935) whether he should keep the additional holiday also in Israel, the Rabbi told him to consider moving to Israel. Every Jewish soul is connected to the Eretz Israel. Every Jew who has visited the Holy Land has got a taste of the special holy atmosphere. The tourist may leave Israel but his heart desires the return to the land of his forefathers.


  1. By the way, even Jews living in Eretz Yisroel are in golus, and in a certain way we can even argue that their golus is deeper than the "diaspora"'s golus.

  2. Generally speaking, a Ben Chutz La’aretz who visits Israel for Yom Tov must observe two days of Yom Tov just as he does at home. This is very common, and, in fact, there are numerous Minyanim arranged in Israel for visitors from the Diaspora on the second day of Yom Tov.

    However, Rav Shelomo Zalman Auerbach ZT'L, in his work Minchat Shelomo (vol. 1, 19:7), makes an important exception to this rule. He writes that if a Ben Chutz La’aretz has a residence in Israel, and he has made it his practice to spend all Shalosh Regalim (Pessach, Shavu'os and Sukkes) in Israel each year, then he observes only one day of Yom Tov. Even though he lives outside Israel throughout the rest of the year, he nevertheless has the status of an Israeli resident with respect to Yom Tov. Since the distinction between an Israeli resident and a Diaspora resident in this regard is relevant only on the Shalosh Regalim, and this individual spends all Shalosh Regalim in Israel, he is considered an Israeli resident and thus observes only one day of Yom Tov. This is also the ruling of Chakham Ovadia Yosef Shelita, in his work Chazon Ovadia (p. 152). Recently, some people who always spend the Shalosh Regalim in Israel posed this question to Rav Shelomo Amar Shelita, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, and he instructed them to follow this ruling and observe only one day of Yom Tov. (They also asked Chakham Ovadia, who, needless to say, followed his ruling in Chazon Ovadia and instructed them to observe just one day.)

    Rav Shelomo Zalman Auerbach ZT'L was asked whether this ruling would apply to somebody who does not own a residence in Israel, but rents a hotel room for all Shalosh Regalim each year. He replied that in this situation, too, a person is considered an Israeli resident and would observe only one day of Yom Tov, since he always spends the Shalosh Regalim in Israel.

    Chakham Ben Sion Abba Shaul ZT'L, in his work of responsa (vol. 3, p. 225), disagrees with this ruling of Rav Shelomo Zalman ZT'L. In his view, a person’s status is determined based upon his primary residence, and therefore even if one always visits Israel for the Shalosh Regalim, he is considered a Ben Chutz La’aretz and must observe two days of Yom Tov, since his primary residence is outside Israel.

    In any event, in light of the ruling of the aforementioned Halachic authorities, those who always visit Israel for the Shalosh Regalim observe only one day of Yom Tov, while generally those who visit Israel from the Diaspora for Yom Tov must observe two days.

    Some halachic authorities discourage that practice of leaving the Diaspora to spend the shalosh regalim in Israel.

  3. B"H

    Maybe sometimes we are in a spiritual Galut but me, growing up in Germany where there isn't too much Yiddishkeit around, I can definitely say that I am glad to live in Israel. Here I am mainly among Jews and don't have to justify myself why I don't eat this but eat that. I can be Jewish without everyone staring at me.

  4. Obviously, my comment was not aimed at you at all. I was refering to the general secular Israelis who think that living in EY is enough of yiddishkeit, it's enough to be a good Jew, and that Torah and Mitzvos are secondary, the only valuable "mitzvah" being yishuv ha'aretz, while the truth is that living in EY implies a greater responsability as far as Torah is concerned. In that sense, they are in a greater golus than those living in the diaspora. It's proven that most secular Israelis are more sensitive to the Torah's message when attending a Beis Chabad outside EY than in EY, because being in Israel, in Eretz HaKodesh, they don't feel that something is lacking in their Jewish identity. They feel it when they are far from the homeland. I'm not talking about the people like you who came from a country or a city without yiddishkeit and discovered it when being in Israel, but the general Israeli secular attitude toward the Torah. And when I hear about Israelis who don't even know what Shabbes is, it says it all! In the religious world, we say it like that: When we were in Europe and we were asked "how are you?", the answer was "Boruch Hashem!", but in Israel, when you ask someone "how are you", he answers "Kol Beseder". You can easily see and understand the difference. That is one of the signs of their deep golus. Physically they are in the Holy Land, but spiritually, they are nowhere. And it's the sad side of the story.

    You can read a very deep sicha given by the Rebbe on that subject, how the Zionists have deepened the golus with their ideology and are preventing the geuoloh, on the following links:

    Don't read the whole stuff, the relevant parts are the paragraphs 19 to 21 (י"ט-כ"א)

    A Kosher and Frilichen pessach, and may we be zoyche to have the TRUE and COMPLETE Redemption, very soon and in our days, with the coming of Moshiach, NOW!

  5. B"H

    I didn't felt aimed at but just wrote my opinion.

    You are right with the spiritual Galut and everything but, living in Israel, you also have to concentrate on the positive side. Otherwise you wouldn't make it.:-)))

    Chag Sameach, as Israel says today !!!