Ask The Rabbi

Staying Mainly in Spain

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Spain, Staying out

Gershom P. Barros wrote:

Is it true that Jews today may no longer take up residency in Spain due to the inquisition that took place in 1492? If so, what is the status of Germany? Are Jews allowed to take up residency in Germany after the most recent attempt at genocide?

Dear Gershom P. Barros,

It's well known that following the expulsion of Jews from Spain, the rabbinic authorities of that generation prohibited establishing residence in Spain. Opinions vary as to whether this ban applied to all Jews, or only to those actually expelled from Spain.

Some authorities maintain that the ban against entering Spain was actually a Torah prohibition: Ferdinand and Isabella decreed that any Jew found in Spain must chose Christianity or death. Hence, entering Spain meant pretending to be Christian, which is forbidden for a Jew to do. In effect, therefore, the Torah itself - not a rabbinic ban - forbade the return to Spain.

According to this view, there is no prohibition nowadays against living in Spain, since today you can live there and practice Judaism. (The Inquisition was not officially revoked until last century.)

In conclusion, most authorities do permit living in Spain today. As far as I know, no similar ban was ever issued against living in Germany.

Sources:

  • Contemporary Halachic Problems, Vol. 1 (Rabbi J. David Bleich), published by Ktav, pp. 206-209

 
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