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Holy War in JudaismThe Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea$
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Reuven Firestone

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860302.001.0001

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Nahmanides’ Critique, and Other Thinkers

Nahmanides’ Critique, and Other Thinkers

(p.127) Chapter 8 Nahmanides’ Critique, and Other Thinkers
Holy War in Judaism

Reuven Firestone

Oxford University Press

Nahmanides criticizes Maimonides for omitting the commandment to conquer the Land of Israel from his enumeration of God’s commandments. To Nahmanides, conquest of the land is an eternal command that is not restricted to the conquests of the ancient Israelites but applies in every generation. But the divine command to “conquer” can be fulfilled also by moving to the Land and settling it peacefully. Control of the Land of Israel must remain in the hands of the People of Israel. The command to conquer and possess the Land of Israel is not bound by time but is in force forever, but it is not necessarily through military triumph that one fulfils one’s divine obligation of conquest. Alternatively, settling it by establishing Jewish communities and developing the Land fulfils one’s obligation.

Keywords:   Nahmanides, Megillat Esther, Yitzhaq Leon b. Eliezer, settling the land

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