Discovering the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
באר חפרוה שרים
“When Israel left Egypt, the house of Jacob [left] a people of a strange tongue… What frightens you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn backward?.. From before the Master, Who created the earth, from before the God of Jacob. Who transforms the rock into a pond of water, the flint into a fountain of water.” (Tehilim from Hallel prayer) The parallelism here between the splitting of the Sea and the splitting of the Jordan evokes the fact that just as the splitting of the Sea was a key event in the Exodus from Egypt towards the Land of Israel, so too the splitting of the Jordan was a key event in the realization of the Exodus’ goal, the entrance into the Land of Israel. Similarly, just as a rock gave forth water just after the Exodus in the book of Shemot – “Who transforms the rock into a pond of water”, so too a rock gives forth water just before the entrance into the Land of Israel in the book of Bamidbar – “the flint into a fountain of water.”
Also, we should contemplate that these two/four events are opposites. Splitting water involves liquid giving way to solid (earth), while a rock giving forth water involves solid giving way to liquid. It seems that these verses wish to show us HaShem’s full mastery over the natural world, being able to transform elements in every direction.
The fact that these miracles occurred in conjunction with processes of exodus from exile and entrance to the promised Land, the goal of the exodus, shows the level of Divine involvement with exodus from the exile and entrance into the Holy Land. This and more. The very relationship between Israel and the Land can be compared according to the Kabbalists to the relationship between water and earth. Explained very simply, water or liquid is considered ‘in motion’ in comparison to the solid earth. Similarly, the People of Israel are considered ‘in flux’ in comparison to the Land of Israel, ‘for the earth always stands’ (Eccl. 1, 4). Therefore, it is not surprising that the transference and connection between solid and liquid, and vice versa, are highlighted at the episodes of exodus towards the Holy Land and the actual entrance into this Land. This matter also explains why the decree upon Moshe and Aharon not to enter this Land is tied specifically to a failure in the methods of this miracle of transformation between earth and water.
As we have shown many times, Hebron is the city that unites our People with our Holy Land (hebron means unity), compared to water and earth respectively in our previous analogy. One of the images that connects water and earth is a water pool, as mentioned in our quote above, ‘the rock into a pond of water.’ Within Hebron there are a number of very interesting water pools (however, some do not have water today). According to some, the pool between the Avraham Avinu Neighborhood and the main road of Hebron today is none other than ‘the pool in Hebron’ mentioned in context of the end of the civil war between the sides of King David and Abner [and Ish Boshet] in the book of Samuel II 4, 12.
Another pool in Hebron to be noted is the ‘Spring/Pool of Sara’ (according to the ‘Hebron Accords’ Jews are supposed to be given access to this pool – however, the Palestinian Police has not kept this obligation, and it is off limits to Jews today). According to some, this pool was the same pool used by Sarah our Matriarch for purification purposes (see quote from tourist Yisrael HaLevy Horowitz about this in Wikipedia).
In any case, Hebron is definitely a spiritual pool of ‘living waters’, purifying our lives with its inspiration and its timeless ‘springs of stimulation’. Instilled with Hebron’s message, we see how the Holy Land is an inevitable part of our lives and how it is also the promise of the future. Based on our analogy here comparing Israel to water and the Land to the earth we gain greater meaning in Isaiah’s future prophecy, which may show the magnificent level of our People’s spiritual inspiration that will be manifest through the deep connection to the Holy Presence of this Land: ‘for the land shall be full of knowledge of the HaShem as water covers the sea bed.’ (Isaiah 11, 9)
Real Stories from the Holy Land: ‘One time I dreamt that someone was drowning in our water pool. Therefore, I told the life-guards to take extra precaution. Indeed, soon after one child almost drowned, but was saved by the life-guard, thank God.’ M.B