The Torah and the Land of Israel: Two Gifts to Be Appreciated Every Single Day


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Parshat Behar begins with the words: “And God spoke to Moshe in Har (Mt.) Sinai saying: Speak to B’nai Yisrael and say to them: ‘When you come to the Land which I give you (haaretz asher ani noten lachem), then shall the Land keep a Shabbat to God’.”


According to Rabbi Y. Eiger, acquiring the Land of Israel can only be done through a difficult struggle and through war in order to show us that it is only because of God’s mercy that we were able to keep the Land of Israel as it says “ani noten lachem”, to show that without God’s obvious and hidden miracles we would not be in the Land of Israel today. The end of the pasuk talks about Shmita, letting the land lay fallow during the seventh year, the biggest testimony to our belief in God.


When Rabbi Nachman of Breslov came to Israel, he said that now he understands why the Torah says “haaretz asher ani noten lachem” in the present tense, every day that we are in Israel we feel that God is once again bestowing the gift of the Land of Israel upon us, giving us a constant sense of renewal.


Korban Oni points out that every day we recite the words “noten HaTorah”, “God gives us the Torah”, in the present tense, because we must work hard to study Torah with the feeling that God is giving us the Torah anew every single day. The words “haaretz asher ani noten lachem” are also recited in the present tense (as mentioned above) since God wants us to feel the holiness of the Land of Israel every single day and work hard to appreciate the gift that we have.


Often when a tourist comes to Israel they make the most of breathing in the holiness of the Land of Israel- praying at the Kotel (Western Wall) as much as they can as well as visiting many of the other holy sites. However, when a person lives in Israel they are often so wrapped up in their daily lives that they may not even have a moment to look around and appreciate the holiness of the Land.

According to the JTA, a new initiative will require all Israeli students to visit Jerusalem at least once during their school years. New data shows that about half of all of Israel's students do not visit Jerusalem even once during their elementary school and high school years. The Education Ministry-mandated trips to Jerusalem will include visits to the Western Wall, the Supreme Court, the Knesset, Ammunition Hill and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Not everyone is on the level of Rabbi Nachman who constantly felt the holiness of the Land. The rest of us have to consciously work for it.