If a stranger lives among you in your land, you shall not treat him poorly. The stranger that lives among you shall be like a native-born person, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
(לט) וְכִֽי־יָמ֥וּךְ אָחִ֛יךָ עִמָּ֖ךְ וְנִמְכַּר־לָ֑ךְ לֹא־תַעֲבֹ֥ד בּ֖וֹ עֲבֹ֥דַת עָֽבֶד׃ (מ) כְּשָׂכִ֥יר כְּתוֹשָׁ֖ב יִהְיֶ֣ה עִמָּ֑ךְ עַד־שְׁנַ֥ת הַיֹּבֵ֖ל יַעֲבֹ֥ד עִמָּֽךְ׃ (מד) וְעַבְדְּךָ֥ וַאֲמָתְךָ֖ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִהְיוּ־לָ֑ךְ מֵאֵ֣ת הַגּוֹיִ֗ם אֲשֶׁר֙ סְבִיבֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם מֵהֶ֥ם תִּקְנ֖וּ עֶ֥בֶד וְאָמָֽה׃ (מה) וְ֠גַם מִבְּנֵ֨י הַתּוֹשָׁבִ֜ים הַגָּרִ֤ים עִמָּכֶם֙ מֵהֶ֣ם תִּקְנ֔וּ וּמִמִּשְׁפַּחְתָּם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמָּכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר הוֹלִ֖ידוּ בְּאַרְצְכֶ֑ם וְהָי֥וּ לָכֶ֖ם לַֽאֲחֻזָּֽה׃ (מו) וְהִתְנַחֲלְתֶּ֨ם אֹתָ֜ם לִבְנֵיכֶ֤ם אַחֲרֵיכֶם֙ לָרֶ֣שֶׁת אֲחֻזָּ֔ה לְעֹלָ֖ם בָּהֶ֣ם תַּעֲבֹ֑דוּ וּבְאַ֨חֵיכֶ֤ם בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אִ֣ישׁ בְּאָחִ֔יו לֹא־תִרְדֶּ֥ה ב֖וֹ בְּפָֽרֶךְ׃ (ס) (מז) וְכִ֣י תַשִּׂ֗יג יַ֣ד גֵּ֤ר וְתוֹשָׁב֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ וּמָ֥ךְ אָחִ֖יךָ עִמּ֑וֹ וְנִמְכַּ֗ר לְגֵ֤ר תּוֹשָׁב֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ א֥וֹ לְעֵ֖קֶר מִשְׁפַּ֥חַת גֵּֽר׃ (מח) אַחֲרֵ֣י נִמְכַּ֔ר גְּאֻלָּ֖ה תִּהְיֶה־לּ֑וֹ אֶחָ֥ד מֵאֶחָ֖יו יִגְאָלֶֽנּוּ׃ (נד) וְאִם־לֹ֥א יִגָּאֵ֖ל בְּאֵ֑לֶּה וְיָצָא֙ בִּשְׁנַ֣ת הַיֹּבֵ֔ל ה֖וּא וּבָנָ֥יו עִמּֽוֹ׃ (נה) כִּֽי־לִ֤י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ עֲבָדִ֔ים עֲבָדַ֣י הֵ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־הוֹצֵ֥אתִי אוֹתָ֖ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם אֲנִ֖י ה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃
(39) And if your "brother" has gotten so poor that he sells himself to you, you shall not make him work like a slave. (40) As a hired servant, and as a settler, he shall be with you; he shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee. (44) And as for your male and female slaves, who you may have: from the nations that are around you shall you buy slaves. (45) Moreover you may acquire slaves from among the children of other nations that live among you, of them may you buy, and of their families that are with you, which they have given birth to in your land; and they may be your possession. (46) And you may pass them down to your children after you, to keep as a possession: of them may you take as slaves forever; but from your family, the children of Israel, you shall not rule one over another. (47) And if a stranger who is a settler with you has become rich, and your brother has become poor beside him, and sells himself to the stranger who is a settler with you, or to the offshoot of a stranger’s family, (48) after he is sold he may be redeemed; one of his family members may redeem him; (54) And if he is not redeemed then he shall go out in the year of jubilee, he, and his children with him. (55) For to Me the children of Israel are servants; they are My servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Questions on sources 1-2
1) The Torah seems to clearly differentiate between a person who is part of our community (the convert mentioned in source 1) and a foreigner who is living among us (source 2). Which category do you think an illegal immigrant would fit in?
2) In a society like ours without slaves, what obligations do we have to people from the nations around us?
3) Should there be a difference between an immigrant who wants to be fully part of our society (wants to be a citizen) as opposed to one who has no interest in fully joining our society?
תורת כהנים, בהר, פרש' ו' פרק ח'
וכי תשיג יד גר ותושב עמך מי גרם לזה
שיעשיר דיבוקו עמך ומך אחיך עמו. מי גרם לזה שיעני? דיבוקך עמו
Midrash Torat Kohanim, Behar, 6:8
“And if a stranger who is a settler with you has gotten rich...” What caused them to grow rich? Their attachment to you.
“and your brother has become poor...” What caused your brother to become poor?
His/your attachment to the stranger.
Questions on Source 3:
1) Why do you think that Torat Kohanim takes such a strong position against foreigners?
2) Torat Kohanim argues that foreign residents cause members of a society to become poor. Do you think that this is true?
Encyclopedia Mikrait, vol. p. 546-547
Not all of the “strangers” in the Bible are identical. Various sources tell about members of non-Israelite nations who joined the tribes of Israel who left Egypt...But the greater number of the “strangers” mentioned are from a different origin. It makes sense that the people who lived in the land who David and Solomon used as porters and stone-cutters ... “they were all survivors from the Amorites, Hittites, Perezites, Hivites, and Jebusites who were not from Israel, their descendants who remained after them in the land who the Children of Israel were not able to annihilate them, and Solomon used them for forced labor until this day” (1 Kings 9:20-21)... It appears that the vast majority of “strangers" in Israel were the former residents of the land that the Children of Israel were not able to get rid of (as the Torah commanded them to do). Since the stranger was poor and lacking all, God loves them and protects them. The Torah was careful to protect them and has many mitzvot about paying their proper wages, not oppressing them, letting them rest on Shabbat, including them in the joy of holidays, and giving them a part of the ma’aser. And even though the stranger was of low status, they were free people and they could sue for offences in court, and the Torah and the Prophets proclaim and warn to judge their cases fairly.
(4) Let my outcasts live with you; As for Moab, be a protector for him from the robber.’ For the milking has come to an end; the udders have vanished; the tramplers have ceased from the earth (i.e. you no longer are obligated to get rid of them).
(א) כִּי־יִמָּצֵ֣א חָלָ֗ל בָּאֲדָמָה֙ אֲשֶׁר֩ ה' אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ נֹתֵ֤ן לְךָ֙ לְרִשְׁתָּ֔הּ נֹפֵ֖ל בַּשָּׂדֶ֑ה לֹ֥א נוֹדַ֖ע מִ֥י הִכָּֽהוּ׃ (ב) וְיָצְא֥וּ זְקֵנֶ֖יךָ וְשֹׁפְטֶ֑יךָ וּמָדְדוּ֙ אֶל־הֶ֣עָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר סְבִיבֹ֥ת הֶחָלָֽל׃ (ג) וְהָיָ֣ה הָעִ֔יר הַקְּרֹבָ֖ה אֶל־הֶחָלָ֑ל וְלָֽקְח֡וּ זִקְנֵי֩ הָעִ֨יר הַהִ֜וא עֶגְלַ֣ת בָּקָ֗ר אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־עֻבַּד֙ בָּ֔הּ אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־מָשְׁכָ֖ה בְּעֹֽל׃ (ד) וְהוֹרִ֡דוּ זִקְנֵי֩ הָעִ֨יר הַהִ֤וא אֶת־הָֽעֶגְלָה֙ אֶל־נַ֣חַל אֵיתָ֔ן אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹא־יֵעָבֵ֥ד בּ֖וֹ וְלֹ֣א יִזָּרֵ֑עַ וְעָֽרְפוּ־שָׁ֥ם אֶת־הָעֶגְלָ֖ה בַּנָּֽחַל׃ (ו) וְכֹ֗ל זִקְנֵי֙ הָעִ֣יר הַהִ֔וא הַקְּרֹבִ֖ים אֶל־הֶחָלָ֑ל יִרְחֲצוּ֙ אֶת־יְדֵיהֶ֔ם עַל־הָעֶגְלָ֖ה הָעֲרוּפָ֥ה בַנָּֽחַל׃ (ז) וְעָנ֖וּ וְאָמְר֑וּ יָדֵ֗ינוּ לֹ֤א שפכה [שָֽׁפְכוּ֙] אֶת־הַדָּ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה וְעֵינֵ֖ינוּ לֹ֥א רָאֽוּ׃ (ח) כַּפֵּר֩ לְעַמְּךָ֨ יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־פָּדִ֙יתָ֙ ה' וְאַל־תִּתֵּן֙ דָּ֣ם נָקִ֔י בְּקֶ֖רֶב עַמְּךָ֣ יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְנִכַּפֵּ֥ר לָהֶ֖ם הַדָּֽם׃
(1) If one is found slain in the land and lying in a field of the land which the LORD your God gives you to possess, and you don't know who killed him (2) then your elders and judges shall come forth, and they shall measure the distance to the cities which are closest to the victim. (3) And it shall be, that the city which is closest to the slain man, the elders of that city shall take a heifer of the herd, which has not yet done any field work in its life. (4) And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer to a rough valley, which may neither be plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley. ...(6) And all the elders of that city, who are nearest unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley. (7) And they shall say: ‘Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. (8) Forgive, O LORD, your people Israel, whom You have redeemed, and do not allow innocent blood to remain in the midst of Your people Israel.’ And the blood shall be forgiven them.
וא"ר יהושע בן לוי אין עגלה ערופה באה אלא בשביל צרי העין שנאמר (דברים כא, ז) וענו ואמרו ידינו לא שפכו את הדם הזה וכי על לבנו עלתה שזקני ב"ד שופכי דמים הם אלא לא בא לידינו ופטרנוהו ולא ראינוהו והנחנוהו לא בא לידינו ופטרנוהו בלא מזונות לא ראינוהו והנחנוהו בלא לוייה
R. Joshua b. Levi also said: The need for the heifer whose neck is to be broken only arises on account of an unseen person, as it is said: "Our hands have not shed this blood." But would anyone have reasonably thought that the elders of a Court of Justice themselves are murderers?! The meaning is, [The man found dead] did not come to us for help and we dismissed him, we did not see him and let him go — i.e., he did not come to us for help and we dismissed him without supplying him with food, we did not see him and let him go without escort
Questions on sources 4-7:
1) Why do you think the Torah includes laws about helping strangers, including trying to help even people wandering through the city?
2) Why do you think we are supposed to protect nations of people who we were told in the Torah to wipe out?
אמר רב הונא בריה דרב יהושע פשיטא לי בר מתא אבר מתא אחריתי מצי מעכב ואי שייך בכרגא דהכא לא מצי מעכב
Rav Huna the son of Rav Yehoshua said: It is quite clear to me that the residents of one town can prevent the resident of another town from setting up in competition in this town, but not, however, if he pays taxes to the town where his new business is; and that the resident of an alley cannot prevent another resident of the same alley from setting up in competition in his alley.
מרדכי מסכת בבא בתרא פרק לא יחפור רמז תקיזק
בר מתא אבר מתא אחריתי מצי מעכב ואי
כתב אביאסף ...שייך בכרגא דמתא לא מצי וז"ל ראיתי בפירוש ר"ת ואי שייך בכרגא דמתא שרוצה להיות שייך בכרגא לתת עמהן ולישא בעול כמו בני העיר מכאן ואילך לא מצי מעכב ויהיה כבני העיר ולהכי נהגו לגזור הקדמונים חרם על ישוב שע"י חרם כופין ולא מן הדין כדפרישית
Mordechai, ad loc, sect 517
“The citizen of a city can prevent the citizen of another city from immigrating to their city, but if they pay taxes they can’t prevent them...” The Aviasaf wrote, “I saw in the explanation of Rabeinu Tam ‘if they are included in the king’s taxes,’ means that if they want to be included in the king’s taxes, to pay together with them and to carry the burden like the people of the city from here on in, they cannot prevent them (from living in the city), and they will be like the people of the city. And this is why early [authorities] needed to excommunicate people who settled in a place, because they had no official legal mechanism to prevent people from immigrating other than to decree that any person who immigrates will not be accepted as part of the community.
שאלה לא"א הרא"ש ז"ל יהודי שרוצה ללכת לכפר לדור שם להרויח וא"ל אנשי רותו כפר קמפסדת לחיותינו ורוצים להרחיקו מעל גבולם. תשובה אין יכולין למנעו דלא קאמר תלמודא אלא אדם הדר בעיר הזאת ובא להעמיד רחיים או חנות במקום אחר ואינו שייך במס שלהם יכולן בני אותה העיר לעכב עליו אבל דבר פשוט הוא שאדם יכול לגור בכל מקום שירצה ואין בני העיר יכולין לעכב עליו וכי קנו אותו הראשונים בחזקה:
A question to my lord and father the Rosh: A Jew who wants to go to a town to live there to earn money. And the people of the town say, “You are decreasing our livelihood,” and wish to distance him from their border. Answer: They cannot prevent them for the Talmud only talks about a person who lives in a different town and is coming to set up a mill or a store in a different place and they are not included in their tax, the citizens of that town can prevent them, but it is an obvious thing that a person can live wherever they want and the citizens of the town cannot prevent them, for did the original settlers acquire the land through legal acquisition?
בית יוסף שם
מהרי"ק בשורש (קצ"ד) [קצ"א] האריך מאד בדינים אלו וכתב שזה שכתב הרא"ש
בתשובה שאדם יכול לדור בכל מקום ואין בני העיר יכולים לעכב עליו שירצה פשיטא שרוצה לומר שאין בני העיר יכולים לעכב עליו על פי בית דין אבל אם תגבר יד בני העיר לסגור דשא באפיה הן על ידי השר הן על ידי שום מונע פשיטא שהרשות בידם ולא יחלוק על זה כי אם העיקש והפתלתול אשר לא ידע ולא יבין ולא הגיע עד כאן לשונו.
Beit Yosef on the Previous Source
The Mahari”k, in ch. 191 extensively discusses these rulings and writes answers like the Rosh, that a person can live wherever he wants and the citizens of the town cannot prevent him. It is obvious that he meant to say that the citizens cannot prevent them by way of Beit Din, but if they are able to close the door in their face whether by way of the secular authorities or by way of any block, it is obvious that they have that option. And the only person who would disagree with this must be stubborn and twisted, uncomprehending and unfit to rule.
Questions on sources 8-11
1) Is there consensus among the Rishonim (pre-16th century rabbis) about whether we are obligated to allow people to live in our community?
2) According to the Beit Yosef (source 11), how are we able to prevent people from living in our communities? Is that fair?
3) What do you think inspired the Beit Yosef to say this? Is it fair to rely on sources of authority outside of the Beit Din to resolve communal problems?
ערוך השלחן חו"ם קנ"ו
... נחלקו רבותינו במי שבא להתיישב ורצונו מעתה לשאת בכל משאות העיר ובכל הצרכים שלה אם יכולים אנשי העיר מלעכב עליהם מדינא דגמ' די"א דיכולים לעכב משום דחזקת ישוב של העיר שייך ליושבי העיר ויכולים לעכב על אחרים וזהו דעת רש"י ז"ל והרבה מראשונים וי"א דזה מ' שהבאנו בסעי' ו' שיכולים שאמרו בגלעכב כשאינו שייך בכרגא שבעיר זהו
כשאין רצונו ליכנס בעול העיר אבל כשרצונוליכנס בכל המסים ובכל הצרכים אין יכולים לעכב עלידו דבמה קנו יושבי העיר חזקת ישוב העיר וזהו דעת רבינו תם והרא"ש ז"ל מתקנת קדמוני קדמונים שגזרו על חזקת ... והטעם מפני שבימיהם היה הישוב יש מישראל מרופה מאד והגוים הפראים הגלו אותם ממקום למקום וברבות הישוב מישראל רבו הבלבולים ותקפו הצרות ולכן גזרו כן כמ"ש המהרי"ק שורש קצ"א משא"כ עתה שהממשלה הרוממה מנחת לבני ישראל להתיישב בכל מקום שרוצים לא יש להבין להורות שייכא תקנה זו כלל ומזה ולדון בכל מדינה ומדינה לפי העניין ואף לדיעה האחרונה:
Aruch HaShulchan on the previous source, Sec. 12
...The Medieval authorities disagreed about one who wishes to settle and they want to be included from this moment in the taxes of the town and in all of its needs, if the citizens of the town can prevent them from the law of the Talmud. For there are those who say that they can prevent them because they are the citizens and thus have the authority over who settles in a town. And this is the position of Rashi and many Medieval authorities. And there are those who say that when the Gemara said that they can prevent a person who is not included in the town's taxes, this is when they don’t want to be included in the taxes of the city, but when they want to be included in all of the taxes and all of the needs, they cannot prevent them, for how did the citizens get the power to decide who settles in the town? This is the position of Rabeinu Tam and the Rosh ... It is among the decrees of the earliest authorities about the presumption of authority on settlement. And the reason is that in their time the Jewish settlement was extremely unstable and the barbarous non-Jews banished them from place to place and in many Jewish settlements chaos and disaster was prevalent and therefore they made these decrees as the Mahari”k wrote. This is not true today when the enlightened government allows Jews to settle wherever they want and these decrees are not appropriate at all. And therefore we should understand and teach and rule in every land individually even according to the second opinion (that people who are willing to pay taxes should be accepted).
Questions on source 12:
1) The Aruch HaShulchan argues that the ability of a society to prevent people from joining their community only applies in times when communities are unstable and cannot handle an influx of immigrants. Do you agree with him that this consideration no longer applies today?
2) Are our communities stable enough to handle unlimited influxes of immigrants?
3) Should we be able to prevent people from joining our community if we are afraid that they will make us less safe (economically or physically)?
Operation ‘Welcome Sudanese’ Begins in TA
David ben Yacov, Arutz Sheva Israel International News, 7/21/11
A parlor meeting entitled ‘Welcome the Sudanese’ will take place in the posh North Tel Aviv neighborhood of Neveh Avivim in the first week of August.
This is a continuation of the ‘Ramat Aviv First’ initiative by MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), which seeks to make liberal Israelis in upper class neighborhoods aware of what it is like to have African infiltrators (illegal immigrants) living near their home.
The MK claims that liberal "do-gooders" protesting deportation of foreign workers or infiltrators do not have to deal with them in daily life, as do people in poorer areas where schools are overrun by non-Jews without a clue about Judaism and crime rates have jumped. At the parlor meeting, local residents will be invited and requested to share in the burden of Sudanese absorption and ‘adopt’ Sudani refugees. “A democratic society of equality and tolerance that embraces foreigners’ is not just a slogan. These are values to live your life by.” Posters carrying this message will be put up in the Ramat Aviv neighborhood prior to the parlor meeting.
The local residents of Ramat Aviv are called upon to act and not merely talk. The ads directed at the Ramat Aviv population pose a (possibly tongue-in-cheek) humanistic challenge: “Embrace the Sudanese in Ramat Aviv and hold them close. Be a role-model for the whole country, so that all Israelis will know that in Ramat Aviv you mean what you say. You are a liberal neighborhood that welcomes the foreigner.”
The residents are requested to ‘adopt’ one Sudanese infiltrator per family. Ben-Ari intends to personally phone and invite most of the locals to the meeting. His office says that this will be a test for the residents of Ramat Aviv, particularly for those of them who speak out for Sudanese rights.
Much of what is referred to as the Israeli secular ‘elite’ lives in North Tel Aviv. Ben-Ari is addressing this clique of liberal-minded politicians, doctors, lawyers, thespians and celebrities who have been quoted saying that the state must look after the thousands of African refugees who crossed the border with Egypt, and are seeking refuge in Tel Aviv and elsewhere. Ben-Ari wants them accommodated in nice areas and not in slums.
As part of this initiative, Ben-Ari recently purchased dozens of tickets to the ‘Gordon’ swimming pool at the Tel Aviv marina, a pool frequented by the aforementioned group, to be used by Sudan refugees. The tickets were honored by the pool administration, and the foreigners got a refreshing swim
Questions on sources 13-14
1) Do you think that politicians are right to be scared for their safety (and that of their constituents) by allowing people to come into the US from war-torn countries?
2) Do you agree with MK Michael Ben-Ari that people supporting illegal immigrants should be forced to live close to them and interact directly with them? What do you think that he (a far-right politician opposed to these immigrants) is hoping to prove through this program?
3) Should the country that a person is coming from play a role in our willingness to accept this person when they come to our country to start a new life?