בהר


בס”ד

לשכנו תדרשו

Seeking the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land

“והיה כי יביאך ה’ אל ארץ הכנעני כאשר נשבע לך ולאבותיך ונתנה לך”

“We shall thank You HaShem our God that You have given our Fathers a desirable, good, and wide Land, and that You have taken us out of Egypt…” This blessing “on the Land” said in Birkas Hamazon mentions the exodus from Egypt, for the goal of the exodus from Egypt was to bring us to to the Holy Land, Land of the Holy Presence, to keep the Torah therein. Indeed, our Sages in the Sifri on the 2nd portion of Shema explain that the mitzvot kept in the Diaspora serve as reminders to the main observance of mitzvot in the Land of Israel. Not only that, but our Sages explain our title quote about entering the Land, which introduces the portion dealing with the mitzvot of tefilin and the sanctification of firstborn animals, that “one should do this/(these) mitzvo(t), for because of it you will (merit) to enter the Land”. On a basic level, we can understand that mitzvot, especially those connected to remembering the Exodus such as tefilin (“for HaShem took you out with a ‘strong Hand’) and the sanctification of firstborn animals (“my firstborn son Israel – therefore I will kill your (Egyptian) firstborn”), remind us of the goal of the Exodus, to enter the Land of Israel, thereby giving us merit to indeed enter and conquer the Land. On a deeper level, we can contemplate the halachic details of these mitzvot how they are connected to entering the Land. In regard to sanctifying the firstborn animals, halacha teaches us that a firstborn animal born in the Diaspora, although it is sacred, cannot be brought to the Land of Israel to be offered in the Bait HaMikdash, as done ideally to a firstborn animal born in the Land of Israel. Rather, it is rendered unusable till it becomes blemished, and then is given as a gift to a Cohen. In regard to tefilin, it is a well-known halacha that a man must wear two boxes of tefilin, both containing the four portions from the Torah where tefilin is mentioned, two of which are in this week’s parsha.  The Zohar in a number of places explains that the two boxes correspond to masculine (head-tefilin) and feminine (hand-tefilin opposite the heart) aspects in relating to HaShem. Re-stated, the tefilin incorporate a ‘double of four’. Ring a bell? That’s right – Maaras HaMachpela in Kiryat Arba, Hebron, by its very name and essence is also a ‘double of four’, incorporating the four couples, Adam and Eve, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzhak and Rivka, and Yakov and Leah, who are the spiritual leaders of mankind. We also know that Maarat HaMachpela-Hebron, the first land in the Land of Israel bought for the Jewish People, serves as an eternal symbol of our People’s connection to our Holy Land. It is by contemplating the message of Tefilin, remembering the Exodus and its goal, the Land of Israel promised to our ‘double-four’ ancestors of Hebron, that we hold steadfast to our great heritage and future in our Holy Land, gaining the respect and awe of all nations – “’for they shall see that the Name of HaShem is upon you and fear from you’ (Deut. 28, 10) – this is tefilin of the head’” .

 

Real Stories from the Holy Land #51: “I had been looking to buy a second-hand cellphone with certain special functions. I had boon looking on second-hand sites on the web to find such a phone, but was not successful in finding the right price, location accessible, etc. I then thought, why waste valuable Torah-learning time looking for this phone, I can trust in HaShem that He bring me in in-expensive phone straight to my collel in Hebron, so I put up a small sign in my collel for anyone who would like to sell their cellphone. A few days later, one new person to the collel ‘happened’ to spend a day at the collel and saw my small sign. He contacted me, telling me that he has a cellphone to sell. It was a good phone with the exact functions I needed, he sold it to me for many times cheaper than what I had researched prices before, and he sent the phone straight to my collel.”

 

Sources:Kidushin 37b, Rambam Bechorot, 1, 5, Psikta Zutrta Bo 13, 9

 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *