The Beauty of The Land of Israel

In Parshat Shlach (Bamidbar 13:22) we read: “V’Chevron sheva shanim nivneta lifnei Tzoan Mitzrayim”, “The city of Chevron was built seven years before the city of Tzoan in Egypt”


Rashi asks: Is it possible that Cham (Noach’s son) built Chevron for his youngest son C’naan before he built Tzoan for his eldest son, Mitzrayim? Rather, the verse should be read as follows: Chevron was built up or fertile with everything good seven times more than Tzoan.


We have seen the root “bana” used in the context of fertility as opposed to building in Breisheet 16:2 where Sara tells Avraham to marry Hagar because “oolai ibaneh mimenah”, “perhaps I will become fruitful through her”.


According to Gur Aryeh, Chevron’s fruit was held in greater esteem than that of Tzoan. The superior quality of Chevron’s fruit was an outer manifestation of the city’s inner spiritual quality.


Rashi adds that we learn from here the praiseworthiness of the Land of Israel. Nothing in Israel is more barren than Chevron- that is why it is set aside as a cemetery. Nothing is as excellent, among all of the countries as Mitzrayim (Egypt) as it is said (Breisheet 13:10) “Like God’s garden, like the land of Mitzrayim.” Tzoan was the most excellent in the land of Mitzrayim, for the seat of royalty was there, yet Chevron was still seven times better.