Uniting with the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
וחם הוא אבי כנען
“And with Your good Will You have granted Israel to conquer the Land of Israel from the 7 nations, to purify the Land and expel the impure air of those nations and sanctify the Land with the sanctity of the Land of Israel. Thus, with Your kindness may You merit us … that in every place we pray… to bring upon that location the holy air of the Land of Israel…” (Likutei Tfilot I 44-46)
The father of these 7 Canaanite nations is Ham the son of Noah mentioned in this week’s parsha. Here we also learn of Ham’s evil actions which caused his father to curse him and his son Canaan to be servants of servants of his brothers. Even many generations later, we see that the Torah ties an exceptionally low moral nature to the Canaanite Nations, commanding our People not to take on the ways of incest, idolatry, etc. of the Canaanite Peoples. Our Sages explain that the Canaanite Peoples were specified in this prohibition because they were especially immoral among all the nations. If so, how could it be that such an immoral nation was given such a holy Land, the Land of Israel, before Israel conquered this Land?
According to Rebbe Natan of Breslev in Likutei Halachot the reason for this was to show God’s kindness in regard to the settlement of the Land to such an extent that He had tolerance for such sinful nations. In this way, even when Israel sin this attribute of Godly kindness continues to be present upon this Land, and as such we should remember that God’s kindness is still upon us to aid us in settling the Land even when we are not fully worthy.
In regard to these Canaanite Nations there are also numbers of mitzvot and laws. One of the 613 commandments is to fight the 7 Nations. This said, however, Rambam notes that the 7 Nations have already been extinguished. Nevertheless, from this mitzva we gain more meaning as to the high spiritual significance in purifying the Land of Israel from sinful practice. In addition, from the laws in our Oral Tradition concerning ‘Canaanite servants’, which include non-Jewish servants in general even if not Canaanite, we learn fascinating laws concerning the spiritual and moral relationship and responsibility between Jews and Non-Jews.
One of these fascinating laws is the conversion of this Non-Jewish servant to become a ‘quasi-Jew’ under certain conditions, a matter that is extremely unique among all laws of the Torah and which gives high spiritual stature to such a servant. In addition, halacha mandates that such a servant is to be treated kindly and respectfully as is befitting the kind-natured spirit of the Jewish People. This kind spirit is also the spirit of Hebron where Avraham concentrated much of his spiritual work of giving over the message of God to all nations – ‘in Elonei Mamreh (Hebron) and he (Avraham) was sitting at the entrance of his tent at the heat of day (to greet guests).’
Real Stories from the Holy Land #141
“One day I got a call from the bank and was told that if I do not cover expenses asap checks will bounce, etc., etc. I prayed to God for help, quickly made efforts to find ways to pay this sizable sum that very same day, and then made my way to the bank. Just before the bank was about to close I hurried there to pay the debts. However, on the way I was suddenly detained by a bothersome character who likes to talk with people at length. I tried to excuse myself saying that I have to catch the bank before it closes, but to this the man answered, ‘what do you say?! Show me the check you need to pay’, grasping my clothes. After he managed to ‘download’ my bank account number, he nimbly called his bank and asked to deposit the sum I needed from his account to mine, explaining that just now he has lots of money just ‘sitting’ in his account. After thanking him, he told me not to thank him. Instead, he sat me down for a three hour conversation b”h.” M.A