Ever since the early days of our forefathers, Hashem established and then maintained a code of conduct that through time became a second nature of propriety for the Jewish people. A first and foremost requisite to being Jewish – constant and loyal faithfulness to the land of Israel, until the end of time.
Hashem addresses Avraham Avinu and days “Go up, make Aliya to a land I will show you.” This was Avraham’s first Mitzvah. We are taught here something so basic and fundamental about the source of Judaism. Without this keystone connection to the land of Israel there is no value in Mitzvot. Just like a light without a vessel is like a soul without a body. The Jewish people were created to be in their land. We see from the examples of our “shepherds” that this theme refreshes itself throughout the generations. After two thousand years of dreaming about returning to Zion, we realize how fortunate we are today to live in such a special time period where we can reach the heights of Abraham that was – Lech Lichah!
Here is a list of our sacred shepherds and some special lessons we learn from them about our connection to the land of Israel:
Abraham Avinu: Chesed (love and kindness) “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” Genesis 13:17 The everlasting love for the entire length and width of Eretz Yisrael.
Issac: Givurah (strength) “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. Genesis 26:2 Never leaving the land the power to stay at all costs lobbying for it.
Jacob Avinu: Tiferet (Truth and splendour) Then G-D said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” Genesis 31:3 Great longing and yearning to return to the land of Israel.
Moshe: Netzach (everlastingness). Please let me go over and see the beautiful land on the other side of the Jordan River-those beautiful mountains in Lebanon.” Deuteronomy 3:25 Never stop to pray to see the land!–
Joseph Hatzaddik: Yesod (foundation) “For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.” Genesis 40:15 – The strong identification and faithfulness of every Jew to his true identity – Israel. Even if he has to be far away from it. If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget [her skill]. Psams 137:5 If you can’t be in Israel support her in every way you can.
To our dear readers, Next week on the eleventh day of Marcheshvan is the Yartzeit of or Matriarch Rachel (Immenu). Thus says Hashem, “A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation [and] bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.” Thus says G-D, “Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares Hashem, “And they will return from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your latter end, says G-D; and your children shall come again to their own border. Jeremiah 31:15, 16, 17. Our mother and motherland is and will be consoled. Am Yisrael is coming home. Let us focus on what we see. Planeloads of Jewish people coming home and again making their lives here. The prophets words are coming true.
Leah Goldsmith Itamar