Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller Gives Talk
Today, Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, director of the UCLA Hillel, spoke to YCT students today at lunch about the two major opinions in Jewish tradition about conquering ארץ ישראל (the land of Israel). His lunchtime שיעור, entitled "The Land of Israel: קדושת הארץ (holiness of the land) - Sanctified Matter or Mythic Space", presented the opinions of רמב"ם (Maimonides) and that of רמב"ן (Nahmanides) as against each other, stemming from the Rambam's omittal of settling the land of Israel and the Ramban's specifically pointing out the need for it, in addition to the latter's comments on ויקרא י"ח:כ"ה (Lev. 18.25).
He went over some sources, including some of Rav Kook's pieces, which seem to follow in line with the Ramban's thinking upon this matter.
Basically, Ramban thought that Israel is the place to be living and doing מצוות (the commandments) and that there is an eternal commandment to conquer and to live on the land, whereas Rambam thought that the commandment to capture the land of Israel was only in force for Yehoshua's time, etc., but not nowadays.
Rabbi Seidler-Feller's ending point was that some people think that we absolutely have to conquer Israel, whereas he wants to show that it's an open conversation, if only at least between the Rambam's and the Ramban's positions.