Donít Know What You Got Till Itís Gone!

In Parshat Reíeh (Devarim 12:29) we read the following words: ďWhen God will have eliminated the nations whom you are coming there to inherit, from before you; and you will inherit them and dwell in their Land.Ē

 

Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazar of Modzitch tells a story based on this pasuk:

 

Rabbi Eliezer ben Shamua and Rabbi Yochanan HaSandlar were going to Chutz LaAretz (leaving Israel) in order to study Torah. When they got to Tyre, they started thinking about the Land of Israel and they began to cry. They ripped their clothing, read the words from our pasuk ďand you will inherit them and dwell in their LandĒ and they decided to turn around and go back to Israel. Their rationale was the teaching of the Sifri that settling the Land of Israel is equal to all of the mitzvoth (commandments) in the Torah.

 

In Masechet Pesachim 50b Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: A person should always engage in the study of Torah and the performance of Mitzvot even though it is not Lishma (for its own sake) because from learning Torah and performing a mitzvah not for its own sake he will eventually come to learn Torah or perform a mitzvah for its own sake.

 

Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yochanan realized that it would be better to stay in the Land of Israel since by performing the Mitzva of settling the Land they would eventually feel the holiness of the Land and all of its good attributes.

 

Different people live in Israel for different reasons and whether they realize it or not, they are all performing the Mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel.

 

Some people are like Avraham, who left his homeland to make aliya. Others are like Yitzchak who were born in Israel and lived in Israel their entire lives with no interest in leaving. The third group is like Yaakov who was born in Israel but because of the circumstances he had to leave, yet he always yearned to come back.

 

People that make aliya by choice usually appreciate that they are here (unless they had no idea what they were getting themselves into!). Others, who are born in Israel may take living here for granted and they may only appreciate the Land once they go to Chutz LaAretz.

 

As the the lyrics in the song by Cinderalla say: ďDonít Know What You Got Till Itís GoneĒ