Seeking the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
“כבד את אביך ואת אמך למען יארכון ימיך על האדמה אשר ה’ א-היך נתן לך”
“For from Zion Torah will be delivered and the word of HaShem from Jerusalem.” Although, as we see in this week’s parsha, the first Torah and prophecy to our Nation was delivered at Mount Sinai and before in Egypt in the Diaspora, our Sages teach in the Mechilta that once Israel entered the Land all prophecy must be rooted in the Land of Israel. In the Mechilta this concept is compared to the exclusivity of the Beit HaMikdash to Jerusalem, this exclusivity occurring only after a period of time of in-exclusivity in regard to the location of the Bais HaMikdash. If so, the Mechilta asks, how did Yehezkel receive prophecy in Babylon? The Mechilta answers that, because Yehezkel began his prophecy in the Land of Israel, therefore he was allowed to continue his prophecy even when he was exiled to the Diaspora. Similarly, in a halachic sense, Torah rulings, at least in their highest levels, may only be ruled in the Land of Israel. So halacha mandates, based on this pasuk “For from Zion Torah will be delivered etc.”, that the initial establishment of months, leap years, etc. must be established by the Sanhedrin in the Land of Israel. In addition, there a numbers of laws that can only be ruled by those with “special ordination” (which we still do not have today) in the Land of Israel. Similarly, the grand Sanhedrin of Israel of 71 elders is specifically located adjacent to the Bais HaMikdash in Jerusalem, and in its absence many of the Torah’s laws cannot be implemented today. The dominance of the Land of Israel in such important facets of Judaism, such as Torah and prophecy, highlight how the Holy Land stands as such an important cause in the spiritual wellbeing of our People. Indeed, Isaiah describes the Land to the People as a mother to children:
“Lift up your eyes all around and see, they all have gathered, they have come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be raised on [their] side,” and this concept is also echoed in the Yerushalmi (Moed Katan 3, 1).Based on this concept, we can more easily understand why the Torah links, in our title quote, the respect towards parents to our wellbeing in the Land of Israel, the “parent”, so to speak of our People. When we talk about Hebron, this message becomes double-folded. Hebron is both the source of our People’s connection to the Holy Land, the ‘parent’ of our People, as Israel’s first bought property therein, and Hebron is also literally the location of our holy parents, the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. The Arizal explains that by honoring our parents, i.e. our cause, we awaken the spiritual cause to our wellbeing. Thus, by also giving honor to Hebron we awaken the spiritual causes for the wellbeing of our People at large.
Real Stories from the Holy Land #53: “I decided to spend a certain amount of money on a mitzah in Hebron, and so I did. Within 5 minutes of doing so, I was offered a job that payed for all the money I just spent… with about a 50% increase…”
Sources: Rambam Kidush Hahodesh 1, 8 and 5, 1, ibid. Sanhedrin, 5, 1-17, Shaar Hamitzvot, Yitro