(The full extent of the territories promised to Jews by G-d)
Update: see the link and the quotes from a sicho below.
Each person can establish his own personal Israel, a place where G-dliness is revealed, no matter where he lives. Once, when a Chassid asked the Tzemach Tzedek whether he should go on Aliyah, the Tzemach Tzedek answered: “make Israel here.”Also, an interesting summary of the Rebbe’s sicho regarding the fulfillment of the mitzva of yishuv Eretz Yisroel:
This statement is supported by a statement of the Meiri (whose name means “the illuminator”; his commentary sheds light on many questions, particularly on the topic of Teshuvah, about which there are many arguments between commentaries). Commenting on the Talmud’s prohibition to leave Israel, and also Babylonia (which in Talmudic times was a Torah center), he writes that any place which possesses Torah and Yiras Shamayim (fear of heaven) is like Eretz Yisrael and one is forbidden to depart from it except under certain circumstances.
Each Jew has a mission to make his portion of the world, wherever it is, a land of Israel, a land which desires to fulfill G-d’s will. If he meets with opposition, he must know that the name Israel was given over to Yaakov, because “he struggled with angels and with men and prevailed.” No matter what the challenge, a Jew has G-d’s blessing and promise of success and therefore, will not be affected by those who scorn him.
The Rambam explains that one way that we will know that Mashiach is the true Redeemer, is that he will gather together the Jews from the four corners of the world. This indicates that Jews have what to do in the four corners of the earth until Mashiach comes. The understanding of Chabad Chassidus is that wherever a Jew lives, whether in Australia, New Jersey [r"l], or any other city or country, his mission is to bring G-dliness and Yiddishkeit into that part of the world. That is a tremendous shlichus (mission) — to bring kedushah, holiness, into every part of the world, not just Israel. So there is a mission for Jews in the Diaspora until Mashiach comes. When Mashiach comes, then we’ll come to Israel. [...]I want to point out that the above sentiment is clearly different from the excuse that some people give that they are not “on such a madreiga” as to learn Kabbala or Chassidus. Their excuse is a clear nonsense, since learning Kabbala and Chassidus is an obligation for every Jew (or, in the very least, clearly enhances and changes qualitatively all of his learning and performance of mitzvos). And Chassidus Chabad was created by our Rebbeim specifically “for the masses”.
The Rebbe points out that Israel is on a higher spiritual level than the Diaspora even now, after the destruction of the Temple. Many people do not truly think about what this means when they're living in New York or Miami Beach, before they make the decision to come here. Living in Israel means that you are taking on a responsibility to behave on the highest level of Yiddishkeit, because you’re in the King’s palace.
Israel is regarded as the King’s palace, and there are certain rules of conduct in the King's palace which do not necessarily apply in some far-away corner of the kingdom. The question that anyone who wants to come to Israel must ask himself is: am I ready to make sure that while living in Israel, will I do my utmost to learn and practice, as is expected of someone who lives in the King’s palace? If you’re not ready to do that, then what are you coming to Israel for, to come and pick oranges on a kibbutz? That is not why Eretz Yisrael was given to us.
In Israel a person has to be on a higher level. He has to be much more careful with his mitzvos, as well as having many more mitzvos to fulfill, such as terumah and maaser, shemittah, etc. So a person who truly feels that he is on a high level in his or her fulfillment of mitzvos may consider coming to live in Israel. But for those who are not yet on such a high level, they might well be better off living outside of Israel, until they improve their Divine service. Only then should they even consider coming to live here.
Briefly, the decision to come to Israel should not be taken lightly; it’s a very serious decision, and these are some of the factors to consider before buying a ticket.
Of course, there is also this to consider:
When a person lives in the Diaspora, and looks upon his living there as a makom keva, a permanent place, because he has a good job and a nice home, etc., and because he hears that in Israel it’s hard to make a living, then he’s like a person who has no G-d. However, if this person lives in America, or England, or Australia, but his whole life is based on the feeling and the understanding that he constantly prays and wishes for Mashiach, so that the moment Mashiach comes he is ready to come to Eretz Yisrael, to the Beis HaMikdash, then that person is not permanently settled and locked in his exile.I think an important question is: what is the purpose for which a person lives on the day-to-day basis? Is it for the physical pleasures and accumulation of riches and trinkets or for the service of Hashem? And even if he does, in his everyday life, pursue such things as a successful career, higher income, or even the superficial things like a bigger house — are these things for himself, or, again, has he made them (or at least is he trying to make them) into tools for his service of Hashem?
The first factor to know is: how does a person look at his life in galus? When people are inculcated with this desire and longing for Mashiach, then it’s clear that America, etc., is not their priority; their priority is Mashiach and coming to Israel. Those people are not in the category of those that dwell permanently in the Diaspora. Therefore, the second half of the statement, “it is as if he worships idols”, does not apply to them. All of the people that stay in the Diaspora, (although they know of the holiness of the Land of Israel) — because they have a duty or mission to perform there, are also serving G-d, just as if they were in Israel.