Don't Take Israel for Granted

In the beginning of Parshat VaEra, God appears to Moshe and reestablishes the covenant that He made with Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. The Land of Israel will be given to the Jewish people.

God is now ready to take B'nei Yisrael out of slavery and bring them to the Land of Israel. In Shmot 6:8 we read "And I will bring you to the land regarding which I raised my hand in oath and I will give it to you as an inheritance (morasha), I am God."

According to the Maharam (Rabbi Meir b. Baruch of Rotenberg), there is only one other time that the word morasha is used in the Torah. The word morasha appears in Parshat VeZot HaBracha, Devarim 33:4, "Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe, Morasha Kehillat Yaakov", The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Yaakov.

Maharam explains that the Torah is not an inheritance that easily comes to each person. Rather, we must work hard studying the Torah day and night and constantly be involved in it. As it says in Pirkei Avot 2:12, "Make your self fit for the study of Torah, for it is not yours by inheritance." The Torah does not pass genetically from parent to child and no one acquires it without the necessary mental exertion.

The same can be said for the Land of Israel. In order to inherit the land we have to constantly be working for it. We can't rely on God's covenant to our forefathers.

After the destruction of the first Beit HaMikdash, we read in the Book of Yechezkel 33:23 "The word of God came to Yechezkel saying: They that inhabit those waste places in the land of Israel speak saying: Avraham was one man and yet he inherited the land, the land is given to us for inheritance (morasha)." God tells Yechezkel to respond: "You eat with the blood and lift your eyes toward your idols and shed blood and shall you possess the land? You stand upon your sword, you carry out disgusting deeds. and you shall possess the land?I shall make the land most desolate and the pride of her strength shall cease and the mountains of Yisrael will be blighted so that none shall pass through. Then shall they know that I am God when I have made the land a total blight because of the disgusting deeds that they have committed."

Throughout the Torah and Jewish history we have seen that God is only going to give the Jews the privilege of being able to live in Israel if we earn it.

How do we earn the privilege of living in the Land of Israel?

By observing the mitzvoth between a person and God

By observing the mitzvoth between a person and their fellow person

We also have to protect the land on a practical level with a strong army and tight security.

Those who are not living in Israel must do what they can to help Israel's economy, social service institutions and educational programs.

Each time that I pass a park in Jerusalem I am touched to see the sign that a family from overseas cared enough to help provide a beautiful and safe place for our children to play.

Let's continue our efforts to tirelessly study Torah and do all that we can to preserve and beautify the land of Israel which should never be taken for granted.