Seeking the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
“אתם ניצבים היום כולכם… לעברך בברית ה'”
“And so should Your Name HaShem our God be sanctified upon Israel Your people…” (Amida of Yomim Noraim)
One of the important messages of Hebron, City of the Patriarchs, is that because HaShem made a covenant with such holy and lofty figures, our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, to be the forerunners of His people, therefore their descendants, us included, continue their ingrained attributes of holiness, awakening each and every one of us to our great and holy potential.
Indeed, this message of Hebron, ‘the key to Jerusalem’ (as explained in previous issues), is taken into practice in Jerusalem in the mitzvah of Hakhel, mentioned in this week’s parsha, in which the entire people are to unite around the reading of the Torah, as in a re-awakening to this covenant, at the culmination of the holy year of the Land – Shmita year. It seems that throughout Shmita year, ‘the Sabbath of the Land – the Sabbath of HaShem’, the people at large are raised to an accentuated awareness to the Holy Presence in our Land, and this gives meaning to the Torah’s command to strengthen the people specifically at the culmination of this year as ‘one is to strengthen only those who are originally strengthened’ (Psikta Naso 85b).
In this way the holiness of the Land at large in Shmita year is linked to the holiness of Jerusalem and the Bais HaMikdash to which the people ascend at the end of this year for the Hakhel ceremony. The Land at large is clearly connected to Hebron according to the Zohar which determines: “at that time (the ‘end of days’) the three Patriarchs will adjoin with might, and Truah, Shvarim, Tkiah will be formed, and with them the ‘the earth shall shake’, and this will be in the ‘end of days’, and all these miracles will be in the Land of Israel, for located there is Hebron where the Patriarchs are buried.” (Tikunei Zohar 13, 28b)
“You all stand upright before HaShem Your God” (title quote) – “‘standing upright’ refers to the Holy Presence as it says ‘and HaShem stood upright and called’ (Sam. I 3, 10) (Sotah 11a)” – “to enter the covenant of HaShem” – “one is obligated to mention the covenant [in context of the blessing upon the Land] (in Birkas HaMazon)”. This covenant made with our Patriarchs of Hebron, roots of our People to the Holy Land, and thereby with us their descendants, ultimately awakens us, with the call of the shofar, Tkiah – Avraham, Shvarim – Yitzhak, Truah – Yakov, to return to the homeland of our souls, and ultimately to the Land of the Holy Presence.
Real Stories from the Holy Land #88:
“On my way to Hebron, I was waiting for the mini-van designated by the Jewish Community of Hebron to take me to my destination. However, meanwhile one person stopped especially for me even though I made no sign to seek a ride. In appreciation of this kind overture I felt I should not refuse even though I planned to take the designated ride straight to my destination. Afterwards I inquired why it seemed that the mini-van was late – it ‘turns out’ that the mini-van took an alternate route than usual that day and couldn’t have taken me anyway…” (M.A)
Sources: Rambam Hagiga 3, Tikunei Zohar 13, 28b