THE OATHS OF SHIR HA'SHIRIM [Galus: redemption]
(Rav Yehudah): Anyone who goes from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael transgresses an Aseh - "They will be brought to Bavel, and there they will be until I redeem them".
R. Zeira disagrees. He explains that the verse discusses the Kelim of the Mikdash.
Rav Yehudah holds that another verse forbids people to return - "Hishbati Eschem (I put an oath upon you), daughters of Yerushalayim, with deer or wild goats".
R. Zeira holds that this oath forbids Yisrael to return together, by force.
Rav Yehudah derives another oath from another verse, to forbid an individual to return.
R. Zeira learns that verse like R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina:
(R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): The verses recount three oaths Hash-m imposed: Yisrael should not return together, by force; Yisrael should not rebel against the other nations; and the nations should not subjugate Yisrael too harshly.
Rav Yehudah holds that "If you will awaken, if you will arouse" shows that there were more oaths! (Each of the above three oaths is really two oaths.)
R. Zeira learns the additional oaths like R. Levi:
(R. Levi): The three additional oaths forbid us to reveal the Ketz (time of the redemption), to distance the Ketz redemption), and to reveal the secret to the nations.
(R. Elazar): "With deer or wild goats" - if we do not keep the oaths, Hash-m will make our flesh prey for others, like flesh of deer or wild goats.
(Rav Yehudah citing Shmuel): Just like it is forbidden to go from Eretz Yisrael to Bavel, it is forbidden to go from Bavel (which has Yeshivos that spread Torah) to other lands.
Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 5:12): Just like one may not go from Eretz Yisrael to Chutz la'Aretz, one may not go from Bavel to other lands - "they will be brought to Bavel, and there they will be."
Kesef Mishneh: The Rambam explains that one may not leave Bavel, even to go to Eretz Yisrael. The latter Amora'im in Kesuvos hold like this.
Question (Lechem Mishneh): Rav Yehudah said that the Isur is to go from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael! Why does the Rambam forbid to other lands? If Rav Yehudah forbids even to Eretz Yisrael, and all the more so to other lands, why did the Gemara need to say 'just like... it is forbidden to go from Bavel to other lands'? Rather, it is forbidden to leave Bavel because it is a place of Torah, like Rashi explains.
Rashi (Kesuvos 111a DH she'Lo, cf.): Nevi'im of Yisrael are commanded not to reveal the Ketz. Some texts say that we are commanded not to be Merachek (distance) the Ketz through sins. Other texts forbid to be Dochek (force) the Ketz by praying too much for it. We are commanded not to reveal the secret of the calculation of leap years and months. Some say, this refers to the reasons for Mitzvos.
Rashbash (Teshuvah 2): The Mitzvah to dwell in Eretz Yisrael is not on Klal Yisrael in this exile. Hash-m put an oath on Yisrael not to force the Ketz or alight to Eretz Yisrael b'Chomah. See what happened to Bnei Efrayim, who tried to bring the Ketz early (they left Mitzrayim early, by force, and were killed by Anshei Gas - Rashi Shmos 15:14).
Peas ha'Shulchan (Beis Yisrael 1:15): If the Mitzvah was on all of Yisrael, all would be obligated to alight.
Ramban (ha'Emunah veha'Bitachon 5 DH veha'Chacham): Hash-m hindered our ability, in exile, to arouse love that will cause the redemption - Hishbati Eschem. Our prayers for other matters are fully effective.
Ramban (Sefer ha'Mitzvos, Mitzvah 4 that the Rambam forgot): It is a Mitzvah to inherit Eretz Yisrael, and not to leave it in the hands of others or desolate. The war to conquer Eretz Yisrael is called Michemes Mitzvah.
Megilas Esther: The Rambam holds that the Mitzvah does not apply for all generations. After Yisrael were exiled from their land, there is no Mitzvah until Moshi'ach will come. Rather, it is forbidden - Hishbati Eschem. He holds like Tosfos (Kesuvos 110b DH Hu) that there is no Mitzvah nowadays because we cannot fulfill the Mitzvos of Eretz Yisrael.
Rejection (Ateres Paz OC 10:5 DH Emnam): The Rambam (Ishus 13:20) rules that one can force his or her spouse to alight to Eretz Yisrael even nowadays. Rather, he holds that there is a Mitzvah mid'Rabanan.
Question (Avnei Nezer YD 454:42): Why does Rav Yehudah learn the Isur to go from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael from "they will be brought to Bavel"? We rejected this, and said that he learns from "Hishbati Eschem". If so, the Isur is from any land, not only Bavel! The Hafla'ah explains that "they will be brought to Bavel" teaches that "Hishbati Eschem" refers to going to Eretz Yisrael from Bavel. What is this oath? If Shlomo imposed it on Yisrael through Ru'ach ha'Kodesh, he should have gathered Yisrael to accept it, like Moshe gathered Yisrael when he imposed oaths on them, and similarly in Har Grizim and Har Eval. We do not find that Shlomo did so. Also, it is unreasonable to inform them that there will be exile and put an oath on them. Also, the Nochrim never heard about the oath on them!
Answer (Avnei Nezer 44, cf.): The Zohar asks, how did Hash-m offer the Torah to the Nochrim? Who were their Nevi'im? It answers that Hash-m offered it to the Sar of each nation. It is the root of their Neshamos above. Likewise, Hash-m put an oath on their Sarim. Benos Yerushalayim refers to the Neshamos of Tzadikim. We find that an oath is put on a Neshamah before it enters this world ('be a Tzadik!)
Rebuttal (Tzitz Eliezer 10:1:38 DH v'Yesh (in the Milu'im b'Sof ha'Sefer)): The Rambam (Igeres Teiman) says that Shlomo saw with Ru'ach ha'Kodesh that before Moshi'ach comes there will be many false Moshichim and the afflictions this will cause. Therefore, he put an oath on Yisrael, Derech Mashal (via a parable) not to be swayed by them. Shlomo did not gather the people; it was a warning, not an oath. He said Hishbati Eschem to demonstrate the severity of the matter. This is why the Rambam, in his Mishnah Torah, did not mention the Shevu'os.
Avnei Nezer (48, cf.): Hash-m commanded that the Klei Shares stay in Bavel, for the Shechinah is there. For the same reason, Bnei Yisrael should stay there. However, man is different, for we follow his Da'as. If he intends to return to Eretz Yisrael, it is as if he is not in Bavel. Therefore, a Shevu'ah commands not to intend to return until the proper time. R. Zeira explains that the Isur is to return b'Chomah, but we may return gently, bit by bit. The Poskim do not bring the five Shevu'os, because they do not apply to physical people. Our Neshamos were commanded are not e angel appointed) over each nation. and there they will be until I redeem them". R. Zeira permits leaving Bavel only to go to Eretz Yisrael. The Rambam rules like R. Zeira, but also like Shmuel regarding the Isur to go from Bavel to other lands. This is why Gedolei ha'Doros did not go to live in Eretz Yisrael. We cannot say that there is a Mitzvah, for then everyone would be obligated, i.e. we would return b'Chomah!
Avnei Nezer (56, cf.): If the Nochrim would authorize us, it would be a Mitzvah to alight to Eretz Yisrael. This is only if he can settle among proper Yisraelim. If not, he loses more than he gains. According to the Hafla'ah, who says that the Shevu'ah forbids only going to Eretz Yisrael from Bavel, there is no Isur form other lands, so there is a Mitzvah. Surely, the Isur to go b'Chomah is because it is like a rebellion against the nations. It would seem that we hold like R. Zeira, for the Poskim say that one can force his spouse to go to Eretz Yisrael, and did not say that Bavel is an exception.
Poskim and Acharonim
Chasam Sofer (YD 2:220 DH v'Hinei): Shlomo imposed an oath on Yisrael through Ru'ach ha'Kodesh. A Navi was not sent to tell Yisrael; we are commanded through the verses.
Tzitz Eliezer (10:1:46 DH u'Fuk): The Gra (Perush Shir ha'Shirim 2:7) says that the oath is not to rebuild the Mikdash until Moshi'ach comes.