Please tell me the definition for ‘galut’.

Does the word ‘Diaspora’ really give the full flavor and meaning?

Answer:

The word diaspora, which refers to the Jewish communities outside Israel, does not convey the true and deep meaning of galut.

Galut, in essence, refers to the existential condition whereby the Jewish People, and the world together with them, is in an imperfect, flawed state. Galut is not just a geographical condition, but rather embraces every facet of life, every element of existence. In the words of the Vilna Gaon, the state of galut is a state of “death,” as though the soul leaves the body. In a kabbalistic sense, galut is used in terms of galut of the Shechinah, the Holy Presence that, when the world is in its ideal state, rests within and among us (in the Jerusalem Temple).

We are very used to life as it is today. However, it must be realized that we remain in a condition of living that is non-ideal, and that the end of the galut will bring with it a great change, as described by the prophets, in the function of the world (although according to Rambam, the actual nature of the world will not change).

Galut thus means the condition whereby Israel is detached from its land, and implies a fundamentally non-ideal condition for the nation and for the world. Although today, there are many Jews living in Israel, over which we must thank and bless, the fact that the world has not reached the ideal conditions of the messianic era demonstrate that the galut period has not yet ended.

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