Happiness is the Land of Israel

Parshat Ki Tavo begins with the words “Vehayah Ki Tavo el Haaretz…”, “When it happens that you come to the Land that HaShem, your God is giving you as territory, and you shall inherit it and settle it”.

According to Or HaChayim, the word “vehayah” symbolizes simcha, happiness. This teaches us that ultimate happiness is attained when we are settling the Land of Israel.

The first words of the Shir HaMaalot (Psalm 126) which is recited before Birkat HaMazon (Grace after Meals) on Shabbat and holidays reflect this idea. The psalm declares: “When God will return the captivity of Zion, we will be like dreamers. Then our mouth will be filled with laughter and our tongue with glad song.”

While I was away the past few weeks I experienced the joy that the State of Israel brings to those in Israel and abroad. Many people that I encountered recalled with fondness their last trip to Israel whether it was one month ago or twenty years ago. Others had a glisten in their eye as they explained that they are planning to visit Israel in the near future.

May we all merit to take steps in Eretz Yisrael.