On 24th June 2014 the fifth in the series of memorial shiurim was held at the home of Miriam Crosbie. (I am still awaiting the notes from aprevious shiur by Miriam Fenster). The shiur was given by Yehudit (Yvonne) Elgavi, a fascinating and erudite speaker who spoke to us about “Jerusalem and Babylon”.
Yehudit explained to us how the split between Babylon and Jerusalem developed, which in turn became the schism – relevant to this day – between the Diaspora (Babylon) and Israel. She told us how the Israeli Jews looked down upon those from the Diaspora (again, a phenomenon we still see today!), and yet the Torah learning and the Talmud written in Babylon (Talmud Bavli) became the accepted standard in Judaism. Yehudit brought many examples of these attitudes between the two communities which prevailed throughout the ages.
She also emphasised that despite the supremacy of the Bavli learning, it was accepted more or less everywhere that the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael was supreme and took precedence over everything else, even if living conditions and even the Torah learning were not of the highest quality.
We can see from Jane z”l herself who made the choice to live in Israel through a conscious decision. She left her loving family and a comfortable life in Australia to embark on a new adventure and a Torah-imbued Zionist life in Israel, thereby fulfilling the supreme mitzvah of יישוב ארץ ישראל – living in the Land of Israel.
May we all be blessed through Jane’s קיום מצוות and merit to continue living in this wonderful country of ours.
Below are the notes from Yehudit which I have uploaded.
Update: Yehudit asked that I add this note:
The subject of the shiur that I gave was part of the topic studied during the year at Matan Raanana, taught by Oshra Koren, in a series dealing with social issues in the Talmud and Halachic sources. Credit must be given to Oshra as the guiding light in this series.