י. וְשֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע אֶת אַרְצֶךָ וְאָסַפְתָּ אֶת תְּבוּאָתָהּ:
א. וְהַשְּׁבִיעִת תִּשְׁמְטֶנָּה וּנְטַשְׁתָּהּ וְאָכְלוּ אֶבְיֹנֵי עַמֶּךָ וְיִתְרָם תֹּאכַל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה כֵּן תַּעֲשֶׂה לְכַרְמְךָ לְזֵיתֶ
Six years you may sow your land and gather in its produce.
But in the seventh [year] you shall release it and abandon it; the poor of your people shall eat [it], and what they leave over, the beasts of the field shall eat. So shall you do to your vineyard [and] to your olive tree[s].
(Exodus 23:10-11. This week’s Parsha)
This Parsha discusses the final 3 of the 10 plagues and the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. The Parsha also makes numerous references to the Land of Israel.
. וְהָיָה כִּי יְבִאֲךָ יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֶל אֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לְךָ וְלַאֲבֹתֶיךָ וּנְתָנָהּ לָךְ:
And it will come to pass when the Lord will bring you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and to your forefathers, and He has given it to you,
Rashi comments on this phrase and says
ונתנה לך: תהא בעיניך כאלו נתנה לך בו ביום, ואל תהי בעיניך כירושת אבות:
and He has given it to you: It should seem to you as if He gave it to you today, and it should not seem to you as an inheritance from your forefathers.
This idea is very similar to another concept, integral to the Exodus story.
בכל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים
In every generation one must see himself as if he came out of Egypt
The Exodus was a turning point in Jewish History- it was the birth of a nation. This new national identity culminated in the Israelites’ arrival to their homeland - the Land of Israel.
The significance of the Exodus is obvious - it is mentioned at least 2 times a day in Shema.
אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם, לֵאלֹהִים: אֲנִי, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.
Similarly, the significance of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people is obvious as she is mentioned numerous times each day in almost all prayers.
The constant references to the Exodus and the Land of Israel in daily prayers provide us with the daily opportunity to feel as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt and personally given the Land of Israel.
Just as one must feel as if he himself was redeemed from Egypt; one must believe that G-d Himself personally gave him the Land of Israel today!
Today, as a result of complicated and messy politics, this idea is often lost and forgotten. When defending Israel against exaggerated and vicious claims of apartheid, illegitimacy, occupation and human rights violations we sometimes behave as if it is a purely academic debate. But, it isn’t it. It is an operation to defend MY land, MY people, MY Israel - MY home that feels as if it was given to me today. It is a defence mission of Hasbara against an ugly enemy - those who try to demonise and de-legitimise MY Israel.
We must remember that our eternal homeland is not just steeped in history and is homeland of our ancestors. It also our homeland that was given to us today. The Land of Israel is the best of all gifts; we must treasure her, reside in her and never divide her!
וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתִי אֶת יָדִי לָתֵת אֹתָהּ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב וְנָתַתִּי אֹתָהּ לָכֶם מוֹרָשָׁה אֲנִי יְ־הֹוָ־ה
I will bring you to the land, concerning which I raised My hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and I will give it to you as a heritage; I am the L-rd.’"
This week’s Parsha
In this week’s Parsha, Joseph’s brothers leave the famine stricken Land of Canaan, in order to travel to Egypt to buy food.
Leaving the Land of Israel is serious, and not an issue to be taken lightly.
In fact, the Sages give 3 situations where it is permissible to leave the Land of Israel.
1. In order to learn Torah if one finds that he can learn better outside of Israel.
2.In order to find a suitable partner to marry.
3. In order to make a living and support one’s family.
Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 5:9)
Obviously, the brother’s temporary ירידה - (lit. going down. con. leaving the Land of Israel) is justified and fits into the third category - supporting one’s family.
When Joseph asked his brothers, from where they had come
וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם מֵאַיִן בָּאתֶם
And he said to them, “Where do you come from?”
the brothers responded strangely. Not only did they say from where they came, they also included the reason for their travelling.
מֵאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן לִשְׁבָּר אֹכֶל:
"From the land of Canaan to purchase food."
Rabbi Zalman Sortozkin explains Joseph’s brothers responded in this manner as they were used to apologising whenever they left the Land of Israel. They also apologised this time before a “non-Jewish minister”, even though it is not a sin for a non-Jew to leave Israel. The second half of the brothers’ answer was an apology and an explanation as to why they left the Land of Israel (which in their case, was permissible).
The four words of the brothers’ answer teach us not only the severity of leaving the Land of Israel, but the privilege and the responsibility of living in the Land of Israel. Today, we have the opportunity and the ability to make Aliyah and live in Israel - and we should! Today, we don’t have reasons NOT to live in Israel.
For the first time in 2000 years, since the destruction of the Temple and the Roman exile, Israel is once again the centre of Torah learning. There are thousands of Batei Midrash, Shules, Yeshivot and Midrashot in Israel waiting for us to join and learn Torah.
According to recent Aliyah rates, Israel is soon going to hold the majority of Jews in the world. Are there any better places to find a Shidduch?
And finally, Israel has one of the largest and most developed economies in the world.This year, the unemployment rate in Israel has been the lowest it has been since the 80’s. Are there any better places to work? Any other places that will automatically give you Shabbat and Chagim as days off?
It’s time for all of us in the Diaspora to make Aliyah, join the In-gathering of the Exiles and prepare for the Redemption in our eternal homeland, the Holy Land of Israel.
Hanukkah - In Those Days, at This Time.
Wow. Just Wow. This makes me so proud to be Jewish and to be a Zionist.
I get so excited whenever I read those verses.
וַיֵּרָא יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֶל אַבְרָם וַיֹּאמֶר לְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת
And the Lord appeared to Abram, and He said, “To your seed I will give this land,”
I hope I managed to convey my enthusiasm to the class.
Today, I also debated Zionism, the Land of Israel vs. the State of Israel and Classical Hebrew vs. Modern Hebrew.
It has been a pretty eventful day.
“And truth be told, anti-Zionsim, is simply a mask for anti-Semitism”
— (via zavatchalavudvash)
LOL. Okay, let me say just agaaain. JUDAISM AND ZIONISM ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!. Just because I don’t like the policies of someone that is a Zionist doesn’t mean I…
What I am about to write, I am writing from experience as an Orthodox Jew. I have been raised in an Orthodox family, and attended a religious school. So…I would say I know what I’m talking about.
Here, I will once again address the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel because I feel people do not truly understand it. I will not address ignorant allegations of Israeli Apartheid and Occupation as those topics have been addressed numerous time in the past and have not produced any results - rather, people continue to slander Israel despite being dispoven.
God made a convenant with Abraham in Genesis. Part of that covenant was giving the Land of Israel to Abraham’s descendants - the Jews.
The Torah has 613 Mitzvot. One of those Mitzvot is “Yishuv Haaertz” - actually living in the Land of Israel.
No one can complete all 613 Mitzvot - commandments (as some Mitzvot are specific to diffent sectors of Jewish society), but there is a section of Mitzvot known as “Mitzvot Shetluyot Baarets” - commandments that depend on the Land. These are Mitzvot that can only be completed in the Land of Israel. For example, the Shemitah - the sabattical year and Yovel - the Jubilee year.
Chazal (the Jewish Sages, of blessed memory) compare Jews who do not live in the Land of Israel to idol worshippers. In fact, Jews are only allowed to live outside of Israel for a few “reasons”. These reasons include making a living and finding a soulmate.
For the 2000 years of Jewish Exile, the goal, the dream and the aspiration was to always, live in out ancient homeland. Every year after Yom Kippur and at the conclusion of the Passover Seder we proclaim “L’shanah Habaah Beyerushalayim” - Next year in Jerusalem. In our prayers in every day, we mention Israel and Jerusalem countless times.
Zionsim, is purely the determination of Jews to live in their ancient homeland. Zionism, and making Aliyah - moving to Israel from the Diaspora, is essentially the manifestation of an ancient, Divine commandment.
By being an anti-Zionist, one is denying the Jewish right and will to live in their ancient homeland.
By being an anti-Zionist, one is denying the commandment of God.
By being an anti-Zinoist, one is denying the word of God.
By being an anti-Zionist, one is an anti-Semite.
I’m not the first to say this, nor am I the last.
Even Marting Luther King Jr. agreed with me.