Expanding and Solidifying Jewish Settlement in the Land of Israel

Arie Morgenstern

in Hastening Redemption

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780195305784
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784820 | DOI:
 Expanding and Solidifying Jewish Settlement in the Land of Israel

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The Perushim believed that redemption of the Land would precede redemption of the nation, and saw themselves as fulfilling a divine mission in settling and developing it. They actively favored broad-based immigration and economic development of the Land in fulfillment of the commandment to settle it, and their community organization (kolel) undertook to provide housing and other services for the immigrants. Zevi Hirsch Lehren and the Clerks’ Organization disagreed with this radical idea, and there was a profound gap between his traditional view of redemption as a heavenly phenomenon, entailing radical changes in the ways of the world and the Perushim’s idea of redemption as an extended natural process. The increasing Jewish population of Jerusalem, especially during the reign of Muhammad Ali in the 1830s, led to overcrowding, and Jews began to live outside the old Jewish quarter, beginning with the short-lived Jewish settlement in the Bab al-Hota neighborhood. Efforts were made to develop and diversify the community’s economic base, reducing reliance on the haluqah (charitable allocations from outside the Land) but also extending haluqah funding to people other than full-time Torah students — a step opposed by Zevi Hirsch Lehren. Among the leading immigrants to come with plans for pursuing business opportunities in the Land were Eliezer Bregman and his family. Bregman and Lehren had an extended adversarial relationship, grounded in their fundamentally different ideas about how the redemption should be brought about. The Perushim also pursued ambitious plans for agricultural development. The project secured the support of Moses Montefiore, but ultimately failed because of the inability to secure needed legal changes before the overthrow of Muhammad Ali in 1840.

Keywords: Jewish Quarter; Bab al-Hota; Eliezer Bregman; Moses Sacks; Zevi Hirsch Lehren; Israel of Shklov; Moses Montefiore; haluqah; kolel; Land of Israel

Chapter.  16560 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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