Can you tell me about the word Aliyah? In which part or Tora, Talmud or another book we can find the word? I am doing research about the use of this term in the Zionist literature.

Answer:

The word Aliyah comes from the root meaning “going up” (la’alot). With regard to the Land of Israel, the Bible uses the expression of “going up” (Jer. 16:14-15), from which the Talmud derives that the Land of Israel is the ‘highest’ of lands (Kiddushin 69b). The Talmud therefore writes that a husband or wife is able to make his spouse accend with him to the Land of Israel (Ketubot 48a). These are the possible sources from which the term aliyah, going up (to Israel) was coined.

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4 Responses to “The Word “Aliyah””

  1. Thank you for your answer about the word Aliyah. As I understand this word is a religious one, and my next question is: How the religious jewish people see the use of this particular word in the Zionist ideology? Is the same when a secular jew arrive to Eretz Israel to a religious jew makes Aliyah or are a diference between them?

    Toda

    Manuel

    • Like many words in the modern Hebrew dictionary, the word has become accepted, even within the religious community, as part of the lexicon. In this case, the modern meaning, of immigration to the land of Israel, does not detach the word from its traditional use (though the word aliah can also refer to a spiritual elevation), so that this isn’t a bad case of secularization of a traditionally religious or spiritually meaningful word.

  2. Rabbi. thank you for the answer. But let me add another question in our chat. You said that “even within the religious community” the word Aliyah is accepted, but I know that some of them are criticals about the use of the word Aliya as sinonimus of migration. What`s your opinion about this?

    Toda Raba

    • Some, in the religious community, object to the Modern Hebrew language’s ‘hijacking’ of various Hebrew words and giving them new meanings. In this case, the objection is slight, because the modern meaning is close to the conventional, traditional meaning, and the word is commonly used among all communities to mean immigration to Israel (or to the Land of Israel).

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