Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: GALUS & GEULA Category:ERETZ YISROEL Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Wed, 01 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Parshas Shlach: Kotzker Rebbe - Impressions Of Eretz Yisroel

"Uri'isem Es HaAretz Ma Hi... HaTova He Im Ra'a... HaShmeina He Im Razah" (Shlach 13:18-20). Moshe Rabeinu tells the Miraglim to look at Eretz Yisroel to see if it is good or bad, lush or barren. Did Moshe Rabbeinu have any doubts about the great land that Hashem promised?

The Kotzker Rebbe says that the pasuk shoul be read as follows. If upon first glance the land appears bad, please come back and report "HaTovah He" that it is really good. If it appears barren, please come back and say it is lush.

Why? The pasuk explains "ViHischazktem U'Likachtem MPri HaAretz" you must strengthen yourself with emuna and only then enjoy the fruits of the land, because Eretz Yisroel cannot be judged with a quick first impression. But sadly the miraglim did not do that and took their shallow impressions, bereft of any emuna, straight to the hysterical masses.

Wed, 15 Jun 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Behar: Rav Shimshon Pincus - Eretz Yisroel Is a Gift, France Is An Identity Why by the Mitzva of Shmitta does it say that Hashem commanded it at Har Sinai Rashi brings the famous answer and the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh offers a different answer. The Ohr HaChaim says that the mitzva of Shmitta begins, "when you come to the land I give to you". Since it is assur to give a Matnas Chinam to a non-Jew the Torah tells us that Hashem only gave us the land after Matan Torah and a Matnas Chinam was no longer assur.

Rav Shimshon Pincus asks if so how did Hashem give land ,gratis, to all the other nations? He answers that the land the other nations have was not a gift to a group of people. It is the land itself that created that identity. The Italian people did not get a gift of Italy, they become Italian by living there. On the other hand Bnei Yisroel's identity is not drawn from an association with any land. Our identity is that of the people who left Mitzrayim and stood at Har Sinai. Eretz Yisroel? That is a gift that the Jewish nation received from Hashem and not a cause of our being.

Fri, 13 May 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Maharsha - There Is No Point For Some People Come To Eretz Yisroel For Yom Tov

The gemara (Pesachim 8b) says that a person who does not own land has no mitzva to be Oleh Regel, and he may stay home. Why is this? The Maharsha explains that the main mitzva of Oleh Regel is to be happy with your produce that your are obligated eat in Yerushalayim like Bikurim and Maaser Sheini and to gladden the hearts of the poor, the Geirim, and the Levi'im by sharing with them. Only then is your mitzva L'Sheim Shamayim. If you don't own land and cannot make others happy with your produce, there is no point to come for Yom Tov and your presence is not needed.

The gemara continues this idea, says the Maharsha, and explains that this is the reason that Yerushalyim lacks the natural attractions like the sweet Ginosar fruits and the healing hot springs, that can be found in the north of Eretz Yisroel. Coming for Yom Tov to Eretz Yisroel is about being happy with Hashem and gladdening the hearts of the downtrodden. It is not to indulge yourself and to mingle with those who do not need your help!

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayeishev: Only Native Sons Of Eretz Yisroel Will Be Buried There

Yosef lamented to the Sar HaMashkin that he was stolen from his homeland of Eretz Yisroel. The Medrash says that whoever acknowldeges his homeland will be buried there, like Yosef who was eventually brought to burial in Eretz Yisroel. Moshe on the other hand who heard the Yisro's daughters refer to him as a Mitzri and said nothing, was not zocheh to Kvuras Eretz Yisroel.

The comparison between Yosef and Moshe seems odd. Yosef was actually born in Eretz Yisroel while Moshe in fact was born and raised in Mitzrayim. Why is Moshe condemned for not denying that he was a Mitzri? The Iturei Torah brings from Rav Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtza that from the time Hashem promised Avrohom Avinu that his children will receive Eretz Yisroel every Jew should consider himself a native son and citizen no matter where he was born, raised, or lives. Only those will be zocheh to Kvuras Eretz Yisroel!

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Ki Savo: Ponevezher Rov - We Are All Olim Chadashim In Eretz Yisroel
Upon coming to the Bais HaMikdash with Bikurim, we tell the Kohen (Ki Savo 26:3), "Higaditi Hayom Lashem Elokecha Ki Basi El HaAretz", I affirm today before Hashem, that I have arrived in the land.  The Ponevezher Rov once asked when addressing a large crowd, "Is it only new immigrants who are commanded to bring Bikurim and not native born sons?"

He answered that we see from here that even people born and bred in Eretz Yisroel, or those that have been here for a very long time, must have the same excitement as a person who has newly arrived home from the galus.  The feeling of coming home to Hashem's land must not dull over time.  I myself, said the Ponevezher Rov, every time I return to Eretz Yisroel from abroad, it is brand new to me as if I have never been here before. (Shalal Rov)

For those of us to have made our way home, keep appreciating it and don't take it for granted. Wake up every morning and look outside and say, "Wow, I can't believe I am lucky enough to live here!"

Sun, 22 Aug 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Shlach: Rav Shimshon Pincus - Eretz Yisroel, A Land Gone Sour? "U'Ma HaAretz Asher Hu Yosheiv Ba HaTova Hu Im Ra" (Shlach 13:19).  Before the Meraglim embarked on their trip to Eretz Yisroel, Moshe Rabbeinu gives them a list of things they should investigate.  One of them was, is it a good land or not.  The Rekanti asks if hashem promised to take them to "Eretz Tova URichava" (Shmos 3:10) why would Moshe Rabbeinu question that point?  The Rekanti says that he does not have an answer B'Derech Pshat only B'Derech Sod.

Rav Shimshon Pincus says that we can answer that the gemara Brachos (4a) says that Yaakov Avinu was scared of Eisav even though Hashem promised to protect him because he was afraid that his aveiros negated Hashem's obligation to him.  

Similarly Moshe Rabbeinu was afraid that after the Chait HaEigel the land of Eretz Yisroel, who abundance comes from the special Shefa that Hashem bestows it with, may not be good land anymore due to their Chait.  He therefore wanted the Meraglim to check the status of the land to give him and accurate reading of Hashem's love of Bnei Yisroel even after the Eigel.

Fri, 04 Jun 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bichukosai: Bais HaLevi - The Comfort In Eretz Yisroel's Indigestion "VHashimosi Ani Es HaAretz V'Shamimu Aleha Oiveichema Yoshvim Ba" (Bichukosai 26:32).  Rashi says that it is a great favor for Bnei Yisroel that when we are spit out from Eretz Yisroel and sent into Galus, the land will be desolate and our enemies will not be able to successfully inhabit it.  What difference does it make to us if someone else inhabits Eretz Yisroel in our absence or not?  In fact it may even be beneficial to have someone keep it warm, so that when we return it will not be a wasteland and we will not need to build from scratch.

The Bais HaLevi explains that the reason we are sent out into galus is because Eretz Yisroel is the Makon HaShechina and is an acutely sensitive land.  It is completely Kadosh and cannot tolerate aveiros.  If in our absence it remains desolate and uninhabited by others, it is a sign that its kedusha has not gone away, and Eretz Yisroel will not accept any other sinful nation.  This is testimony to the fact that Eretz Yisroel is still waiting for her struggling sons and daughters who linger in the galus.  She is yearning for us to do Tshuva and return home to the loving embrace of her borders.

Fri, 07 May 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Behar: Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh - The Price Of Tea In Eretz Yisroel Parshas Behar starts with the mitzva of Shmita, but instead of the usual introduction Vayidaber Hashem El Moshe it adds "Behar Sinai".  Hashem told Moshe on Har Sinai.  Rashi asks the famous question of "Mah Inyan Shmita Eitzel Har Sinai", what does Shmita have to do with har Sinai?  He answers that this teaches us that every single mitzva and all their details were given on Har Sinai.  The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh asks why did the Torah choose Shmita as an example from all the other mitzvos to teach us this lesson?

He answers that the next pasuk tells us that this mitzva will begin when we arrive to Eretz Yisroel, "Asher Ani Nosein Lachem", the land that Hashem has given us.  The Torah is teaching us that the reason why we received the great gift of Eretz Yisroel, was because we received the Torah on Har Sinai.  Eretz Yisroel is gift that is totally dependent on keeping the Torah.  

Moreover says the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh, the Rambam (Hilchos Zchia 3:11) says that the Lav of Lo Sichanem assurs one to give a free gift to an Akum.  Bnei Yisroel before Matan Torah has a din of an Akum and it was assur for Hashem to bequeath us with the gift of Eretz Yisroel.  Only after Har Sinai were we able to be Zocheh to receive the land of Hashem.

Today we are once again Zocheh to dwell in Hashem's land.  We must remember that this is a gift from Hashem.  And we must also remember that this gift comes with strings attached, namely Kiyum HaMitzvos.  Without that we are not entitled to it.

Tue, 04 May 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Kedoshim: Rav Zalman Sorotzkin - Whose Land Is Eretz Yisroel? "V'Chi Yagur It'cha Ger B'Artzichem Lo Soinu Oisoi", when a foreigner lives in your land do not cause him anguish (Kedoshim 19:33).  The Iturei Torah quotes Rav Zalman Sorotzkin as saying that this pasuk comes to warn us not to be xenophobic like the extremists in of other countries and think that Eretz Yisroel is only for Bnei Yisroel with no foreigners allowed.

Eretz Yisroel was given to Avrohom who was Av Hamon Goi'im.  Every non-Jew who believes in the Hashem of Avrohom and wants to attach himself to Avrohom's children is not a foreigner in the land that was promised to Avrohom.

The pasuk adds the word "B'Artzichem" in middle, to tell us that when a non-Jew chooses to make his home in Eretz Yisroel, do not anguish him by telling him that he is living in a land that belongs to him.  If he respects the Hashem and the children of Avrohom, then it is his land as well.

Fri, 23 Apr 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Eretz Yisroel - The Head Of The Table

Eretz Yisroel is a land that has been claimed and coveted by many nations and religions. It is the focal point of world history. Why has Hashem granted this holy land to the Jews and placed other nations elsewhere?

We can understand this with a Mashal. There once lived a man who was blessed with a son of fine character. The young man married, and in time, he too became a father. As he was preparing for his new son's Seudas Bris Milah, he came to his father for advice. "How should I seat the guests?" he asked. "If I am forced to seat the rich guests in places of honor and leave the poor in positions at the end of the table, I will feel upset because I don't want to embarrass the poor. Wouldn't it be better if I placed the poor up front and place the rich at the far end of the table?"

"Your intentions are most noble, my son", replied the father. "However, if you carry out your plan, none of your guests will be very happy. You see, the custom of placing the rich at the head and the poor at the end of the table is based on common sense. After all, the poor are hungry, and they care more for the food at the end of the table than the honor at the head. The rich, on the other hand, have their own delicious meal at home. When they come to a banquet, they are not seeking nourishment, but honor. This is why it is best to seat them at the head of the table, where they can receive the recognition they crave. So, my son, let the poor sit at the foot of the table, where they can eat undisturbed and out of the limelight. Let the rich sit at the head of the table, where they can receive honor.

 The same differentiation can be made between Klal Yisroel and other nations. The Goyim, like the poor at the banquet, seek only to satisfy their bodily needs. They could accomplish this in any part of the world, not only in the holy land of Eretz Yisroel. Klal Yisroel does not place its emphasis on materialistic satisfaction. Klal Yisroel has always sought the higher spiritual aspects of life. They are to be honored by the other nations of the world. Therefore they have been placed in Eretz Yisroel where the eyes of the world are fixed upon them. In this way their good deeds can be observed by all!

Tue, 04 Aug 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz - The Secret Of Tiny Little Eretz Yisroel The gemara (Beitza 16a) says that Hashem did not reveal the reward for keeping Shabbos to the rest of the nations.  Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz (Yaaros Devash - Drush 10) explains why.  He asks why is it that the other nations did not want the torah.  We know that "Deracheha Darkei Noam", the ways of the torah are sweet.  Each of the other nations had their own laws, and many of them contained inhumane human sacrifice and other cruel rituals.  Why did they reject the torah? 

He answers that one of the conditions of keeping the whole torah is living in Eretz Yisroel.  There are many mitzvos that are only done in Eretz Yisroel.  We also see that the Avos only kept the torah in Eretz Yisroel.  The nations of the world took one look at the tiny size of Eretz Yisroel and felt claustrophobic.  There was no way they were willing to make due with a mere speck on the map.  The notion of limiting their growth and their wealth to the size of Eretz Yisroel coupled with the potential for overcrowding, disgusted them.

However Chazal tell us (Shabbos 118a) that whoever keeps Shabbos will receive a land without any boundaries.  What does that mean?  The gemara in Kesubos (112a) says that Eretz Yisroel is called Eretz HaTzvi, the land of the deer.  A deer's skin once removed cannot fit back on the deer once again.  The reason is because the deer's hide stretches to fit the deer, regardless of the hide's small size.  Similarly, Eretz Yisroel's small natural area, can fit as many people as need be.   The miracle of Eretz Yisroel is that it may be small but it can comfortably hold an unlimited amount of people.

Had the other nations known the true capacity of Eretz Yisroel, when offered, they would have grabbed the torah in a heartbeat.  That is why Hashem did not reveal to them the potential that is unlocked through Shmiras Shabbos.

Mon, 24 Nov 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Eretz Yisroel's Border Patrol And The Leaders Of The Free World In Parshas Lech Licha, Hashem tells Avrohom that he will give his children Eretz Yisroel, "LaAchuzas Olam" (17:8).  Rashi says that Hashem will be our Hashem in Eretz Yisroel.  However says Rashi, a Ben Yisroel who lives in Chutz LaAretz, is as if he doesn't have a Hashem.  The Sifsei Chachomim brings the Maharal in Gur Aryeh, that says that each nation has a Sar, a minister in heaven that oversees the needs of that country.  Eretz Yisroel has no Sar.  Hashem's directly oversees all that goes on within its borders.  A person who crosses the border out of Eretz Yisroel is leaving the direct control of Hashem and subjecting himself to a Sar.

Of course a Sar has no power other than is allocated to him by Hashem.  The ministers all line up at the border of Eretz Yisroel and wait for the spillover of Shefa Bracha that Hashem sends down to the world through Eretz Yisroel.  They then take it back to their nation.  A country's prosperity depends on the power of its Sar in Shamayim.  When Hashem wants to topple a nation, he topples its Sar in Shamayim.  The earthly leader of the nation is in the same mold as their Sar above.  (The Minchas Eluzer of Munktach, in the 1930's, said of Czechslovakia that they are not a legitimate nation, since he knows they have no Sar in Shamayim.  This angered the government to no end.)

As you can imagine the Yehudim of each nation are not first on the distribution list when the Sar divides up its allocation.  We must wait our turn to get the leftovers from what the Sar has obtained.  So while in Eretz Yisroel the Yehudim get their bracha directly from Hashem, in Chutz LaAretz we must subsist on leftovers of the leftovers.

Thu, 06 Nov 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Maharal Tzintz - Who Has A Claim To Eretz Yisroel?

The first Rashi in Chumash asks why does the Torah start with the fact that Hashem created the world, it should start with the first mitzva.  Rashi answers that when the nations of the world says that the Bnei Yisroel stole the land of the Kena'anim, we can answer that Hashem made it and can give it to whomever He wants.

The question raised is, why do the other nations complain, shouldn't it be the Kena'anim who complain?  The Maharal Tzintz in Milo HaOmer answers that Alexander the Great posed the question of, do the Kena'anim have a claim to Eretz Yisroel. He ruled that since Noach cursed Kena'an to be slave to his brothers, and whatever a slave acquires belongs to his master, therefore the Kena'anim have no claim.

However the other nations can claim that Kena'an is an Eved to all his brothers and not just Bnei Yisroel.  Therefore they have an equal right to Eretz Yisroel, Kena'an's land.  To this the Torah clearly answers that it belongs to neither of them.  It belongs to Hashem and He can give it to whomever He wants.

Maybe we see from here that the argument can be made that we do not "own" the rights to Eretz Yisroel.  It always belongs to Hashem.  If and when during the course of history Hashem chooses to let us dwell in it and inherit it, we will merit to do so.  However, Hashem has clearly stated that  our dwelling in Eretz Yisroel is conditional on keeping the Torah and its mitzvos.  During difficult times it is important to know our "claim" to Eretz Yisroel and what we need to do to earn it.  Mostly we need to know who the real landlord and arbitrator is.  Any thoughts?

Thu, 23 Oct 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Yitzchok Hutner Didn't Suffer Enough Hashem said to Avraham, “Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show your.” (Bereishis 12:1) Avraham Avinu had to tear himself away from his land and his family to travel to a land that Hashem did not even name for him. Shortly after he arrived in Eretz Canaan, there was a famine and he was forced to travel to Mitzrayim in search of food. Avraham’s suffering in acquiring Eretz Yisrael was passed down to his descendants. In fact, Eretz Yisrael can only be acquired through suffering. The Gemara in Brachos says, “Rav Shimon Bar Yochai says, “Three wonderful gifts Hakadosh Boruch Hu gave to Yisrael and all of them are given only with suffering, and they are Torah, Eretz Yisrael and Olam Haba.”

The Maharal says that advancing in ruchniyus is impeded by physical luxuries. When one indulges in gashmiyus, his ruchniyus suffers, and the opposite is true as well. The Maharal says that the three things mentioned in this Gemara are three levels of kedushah. Eretz Yisrael is the most kodesh place on earth. Torah is a higher level of kedusha, and Olam Haba is the absolute goal of ruchniyus. It’s impossible to attain these goals without physical suffering or deprivation. The suffering weakens the yetzer hara, and humbles the person, which empowers his neshama to attain his goals in ruchniyus.

Rav Yitzchok Hutner, z’tl, the legendary Rosh Yeshiva of Yasehivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, lived in Eretz Yisrael when he was first married. When he left, he wrote that he had not experienced suffering and therefore felt that he had not been Koneh it (R’ Matis Greenblat).

You can pass on Eretz Yisroel because of the suffering, but if you pass on Torah and Olam Haba also (which according to the Maharal requires even more suffering), what is left?

Mon, 22 Sep 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Meshech Chochma: Yerushlayim, The City Of Perfection “Yerushalayim built up, like a city which is knit together” (Tehillim 122:2).  The very name Yerushalayim alludes to the dual aspects of the city because as the Rabbeinu Bachaye explains, Yerushalayim is plural, like einayim or oznayim.  

Yerushalayim received it name through Avraham Avinu and Shem ben Noach.  The history behind the name of Yerushalayim alludes to its significance.  "Avraham called it [the place] 'Yir'eh,' as it is written, 'Avraham called the name of that place Hashem Yir'eh.' Shem called it 'Shalem,' as it is written, 'Malki-Tzedek, King of Shalem.' The Holy One said: If I call the place 'Yir'eh,' as Avraham called it, then Shem – a righteous man – will be offended. If I call it 'Shalem,' then Avraham – a righteous man – will be offended. So I shall call it "Yerushalayim," as both of them called it: [Yir'eh] Shalem –Yerushalayim."

The Meshech Chochmah elaborates on this and says that Shem had survived the Dor Hamabul, which was a generation so corrupt that it was utterly destroyed.  Shem was in the Teivah where he helped sustain all the animals.  By doing this, he was helping to repair the corruption and negative characteristics which had pervaded the world.  His main challenge was the perfection and completion of the character.  Shem sensed this aspect of completion in Yerushalayim and therefore called it Shalem.        

Avraham Avinu was the one who independently discovered Hashem by exploring all of the knowledge available to him, rejecting what was false, and then concluding through his own intellect that Hashem exists.  His main challenge was clarifying and perfecting his mind through the knowledge of Hashem.  He called Yerushalayim, Hashem Yir’eh because it is the place where all of mankind will recognize Hashem as he first did.

Hashem combined these two names because the two concepts of the perfection of the mind and the character (or heart) are both essential to Bnei Yisrael, and thus, to the city of Yerushalayim, where true perfection can be achieved.

Sun, 14 Sep 2008 03:00:00 +0000
A Reason Not To Come To Eretz Yisroel

Many people dream about moving to Eretz Yisroel but not everyone makes it.  What is holding them back?  The Alshich HaKadosh in Parshas Lech Licha (11:31) shares with us one of the fundamental factors that can torpedo our chances of getting there.  In the episode of Terach leaving Ur Kasdim with his family, there are number of peculiarities.  Why does it say in the pasuk that when they left Ur Kasdim they planned to go to Eretz Yisroel, yet ended up in Charan?  Why does it say they left Ur Kasdim, it is obvious since that is where they lived?  Why does it mention Terach's death before telling us that Avrohom went to Eretz Yisroel?  Avrohom left 60 years before his father's death. 

He answers that the Torah is teaching us that you will only be zocheh to make it to Eretz Yisroel if your reason for wanting to be there is your immense love of the land, Chibas HaAretz (what exactly that means is another importnat discussion.)  Terach was running away from Ur Kasdim after the incident with Avrohom.  Eretz K'na'an was the place where he would seek refuge.  That is why the Torah tells us he left Ur Kasdim and makes sure to point out that although his destination of choice was Eretz Yisroel, he never made it and ended up in Charan.  The ending of this particular lesson is that Terach died in Charan, which is why it mentions this fact in parsha even before we start to discuss Avrohom's personal journey.  Avrohom on the other hand travelled to Eretz Yisroel because of Chibas Ha'Aretz, like it says in the pasuk (12:1) "VaYeitzu Lalaches Artza Kna'an", he went out with only one mission, to go to Eretz Yisroel the land of his dreams.  The end of his story, unlike Terach's, "VaYavo'u Artza Kna'an", he made it there.


Eretz Yisroel (like Moshiach) is not an escape from the Tzorus facing us wherever we may be.  It is a place to come close Hashem.  it is a place we should yearn and strive to get to, no matter how comfortable our situation is where we are now and no matter the difficult situation is in Eretz Yisroel.  Only then do you stand a chance.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Re'eh: Armchair Critic From Thousand of Miles Away

The pasuk lists all the unkosher birds.  Among them are the Ra'a, Aaya, and Dayah.  Rashi says, "The Ra'ah, Aayah, and Dayah are one and the same. Why is it called "Ra'ah"? Because its vision is exceedingly powerful. The gemara in Chulin adds that the Ra'ah can stand in Bavel and see a Nevailah in Eretz Yisroel. Why would a bird with such a gift of vision be considered a non-kosher bird? Oznaim L'Torah explains, one who stands in Bavel - Chutz L'Aretz - and sees a Nevailah in Eretz Yisroel - which means that it sees the faults of Eretz Yisroel thereby not coming to live in the Holy Land, is considered a Tamei!

Many of us live in countries far away from Eretz Yisroel.  Surely each and every one of us has a good justification for being where we are.  It is important not to forget where our true homeland is.  Certainly we should not try to ease our pain, of being sentenced to life so far away, by criticizing life and happenings in Eretz Yisroel.  Even if we had bird's eye vision to accurately see across continents and oceans, still the torah considers this unkosher.  We don't, so we really shouldn't.

Let's look at our own nest and see how we can perfect it.  B'Ezras Hashem, very soon we will be zocheh to transplant our beautiful nest to our true homeland, to adorn the palace of Hashem, B'Bi'as Go'el Tzedek Bimheira BiYameinu Amein.

Tue, 26 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000 Throughout the generations Bnei Yisroel have yearned for Eretz Yisroel.  In one of the most famous and poignant Kinos, Reb Yehudah Halevi expressed his and his nation’s longing for its homeland, “Tzion, Halo Tishali Leshalom Asirayich.”  Members of Bnei Yisroel have not only yearned, but have been willing to undertake long and arduous journeys over deserts and seas to reach Eretz Yisroel.
According to the Maharal, (Netzach Yisroel) this yearning is simply a rule of nature.  An object prefers its natural state.  Chazal say, “There is nothing that does not have its place.” A ball thrown upwards will obey the law of gravity and fall downwards.  Bnei Yisroel’s natural state is to reside in Eretz Yisroel. When Bnei Yisroel are in galus outside Eretz Yisroel, it is in opposition to their natural state, and they gravitate towards Eretz Yisroel.  Bnei Yisroel’s dispersal among the nations of the world is unnatural; Bnei Yisroel is a nation that belongs in its land.
This attraction comes from deep within.  Eretz Yisroel is the place where we can be Mikayem more mitzvos than any other place in the world.  The attraction is our neshama’s yearning for Shleimus, its yearning to fulfill the Mitzvos HaTeluyos BaAretz.  The special set of mitzvos cannot be fulfilled in Chutz LaAretz.  

But even this has deeper roots.  Eretz Yisroel has more mitzvos because it is the land of Hashem.  All the other nations have a Sar, a special minister in Shamayim that represents its land and all its inhabitants.  Eretz Yisroel has no Sar.  Hashem maintains direct control over Eretz Yisroel.  It is the place on earth where we can come closer to Hashem than any other.  Our neshama, which is a “Cheilek Elokai MiMa’al”, yearns to go back to its home.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
MiTzion Michlal Yofi “MiTzion, Michlal Yofi, Elokim Hofia – From Tzion, which encompasses all beauty, Hashem shines forth.”  (Tehillim 50:2)  What is so splendid about the beauty of Tzion - is the Torah referring to physical beauty?  Interestingly enough, Chazal did institute a number of rules pertaining to maintaining the physical beauty of Yerushalayim, such as not establishing garbage dumps or furnaces which would emit large amounts of smoke. (Bava Kamma 82b)  
The physical beauty of Yerushalayim actually encompasses the beauty of the entire physical world: “The wise Shlomo planted different types of trees, as it says, ‘I made for myself gardens and orchards, and I planted in them every kind of fruit tree’ (Kohelet 2:5).  R’ Yannai said, ‘Shlomo even planted peppers in the Land.  How did he do this?  Shlomo was wise, and he knew where the main central foundations of the world were located.  How?  ‘Out of Tzion, which encompassed all beauty, Hashem appeared’ (Tehillim 50:2).  The entire world was perfected from Tzion, as Chazal learn, ‘Why is the point of Har Moriah called Even Shesiya?  Because the whole world was founded upon it’.  Shlomo knew which vein led from Tzion to Africa and he planted peppers there; and they sprouted fruit immediately (Midrash Tanchuma, Kedoshim 10).
Of course, Tzion is the spiritual center of the world in addition to the physical center.  The Beis Hamikdash is the site of the union of all physical and spiritual entities. Physical beauty is only “skin deep” and has no intrinsic meaning, but when imbued with spiritual meaning, takes on true significance.  The physical beauty of Yerushalayim which encompassed the entire world was simply a veil for its spiritual beauty – the Yerushalayim of above and the beauty of the Torah.  Rav Shamshon Refoel Hirsch writes on this possuk, that Hashem appeared out of Tzion, which encompassed beauty, the perfect embodiment of physical beauty appropriate to moral perfection because it is the dwelling place of the Word of His Law.  “Ki MiTzion Teiztei Torah” – the Torah which imbues the physical world with beauty emanates from Tzion.  

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Why is it Always a Joy to Live in Eretz Yisroel? - Ohr HaChaim and Rav Nachman MiBreslo "Vihaya Ki Savo El Ha'Aretz Asher Hashem Elokecha Nosain Licha Nachala"; and it will be when you come to the land which Hashem your G-d is giving you as a heritage. (Devarim 26:1).

The Ohr HaChaim comments on this pasuk that "Vihaya" - and it will be - always refers to simcha.  There is no simcha other than in living in Eretz Yisroel.  This simcha is what the pasuk is referring to in Tehillim (12:6 1-2), "When Hashem returns the captivity of Tzion, we will be like dreamers.  Then our mouths will fill with laughter."

Rav Nachman of Breslov says that the only way to be truly happy is through bitachon in Hashem; simcha and bitachon always go hand and hand.  In fact the very next pasuk highlights the necessity of constantly trusting in Hashem.  "And you should take the first of every fruit of the ground..."  This pasuk explains the mitzvah of Bikurim -bringing the first fruits as an offering to Hashem in the Bais Hamikdash.  The Ohr HaChaim explains that Hashem gave Bnei Yisroel this mitzvah in order to strengthen their realization that they did not inherit Eretz Yisroel through their own strength, but rather as a gift from Hashem.  The mitzvah of bikurim strengthens Bnei Yisroel's bitachon in Hashem as the source of their sustenance, thereby strengthening their simcha.

When we think that people control events and the course of history, we are not B'Simcha.  When we know that we are in Hashem's hands then no matter how bleak the situation appears, we can be calm, serene, and B'Simcha.  Eretz Yisroel is a special place of Simcha because it is always easy to see that Hashem and nothing else controls every event.

Thu, 17 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000
The Safety of Snake Pits in Eretz Yisroel The Torah tells us that Eretz Yisroel is protected by a special hashgachas pratis. “Eretz Asher Hashem Elokecha Doireish Oisah, Tamid Einei Hashem Elokecha Ba”; a land which Hashem your G-d seeks, His eyes are always on it” (Devarim 11:12).
During the Gulf War in 1991, R’ Menachem Tzvi Berlin, the Rosh Yeshivah of Rabbeinu Chayim Ozer brought up a question which the Vilna Goan addressed in his Kol Eliyahu.  Why doesn’t the Gemara ask where the nes of Chanukah is found in the Torah like it does regarding the nes of Purim?  The Gra answers that it’s not necessary to inquire about the nes of Chanukah, because the nissim that the Maccabim experienced occurred in Eretz Yisroel, where nissim are not unusual occurrences.  The nes of Purim, however, occurred outside Eretz Yisroel, and that invokes a question.  (Aleineu Leshabeach)
When the shevatim sought to kill Yosef, Reuven tried to save him by suggesting that they throw him into a pit instead.  However, the pit was full of snakes and scorpions, and under natural circumstances would have been an immediate death sentence. Despite, this fact, Reuven was credited with saving Yosef’s life.  Yehudah who initiated removing Yosef from the pit to sell him as a slave was not praised for what he did.  In fact, the Gemara says that one who praises Yehudah for what he did angers Hashem.  Rav Chaim of Volozhin explains that despite the fact that the pit was a potential deathtrap, it was located in Eretz Yisroel. Yehudah may have saved Yosef from the pit, but he caused him to leave Eretz Yisroel.  Rav Chaim of Volzhin concludes that it’s far better to stay in Eretz Yisroel in a pit full of snakes and scorpions that to live of outside Eretz Yisroel.
Eretz Yisroel is the safest place in the world, even when surrounded by and swarming with poisonous snakes!

Wed, 09 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000