Monday, April 29, 2013


Leviticus 25:1-27:34

Our Love For The Land Of Israel

The commandment to bring the redemption of the Land of Israel reminds us of the inextricable link between Judaism and Israel.
By Rabbi Bradley Artson

bharOne of the central paradoxes of Jewish history is that the Jewish people were landless through most of our history.

Yet, we were always profoundly aware of our link to the Land of Israel, perhaps because we did not live in a place we could call our own. The intense love between the Jews and their homeland permeated our prayers, our Torah and our hearts. Today's Torah portion speaks directly to the centrality of the Land of Israel in Jewish thought and deed. God instructs the Jewish People, "You must provide for the ge'ulah (redemption) of the land."

What does it mean, to bring redemption to a land? It might make sense to use tangible terms--"irrigate" the land, "fertilize" the land, even "cultivate" the land. Those are terms upon which a farmer would act and recognize. But how does one "redeem" a land?

According to most biblical commentators, this verse is understood as mandating a loving Jewish presence in the Land of Israel. Thus, Hizkuni (France, 13th century) interprets our verse to mean that "there can be no [permanent] selling, only [temporary] dwelling."

Jews do not have the right to sever their connection to the Land of Israel. That claim--our inextricable link to the Land of Israel--is at the very core of biblical and rabbinic religion. The Land is referred to as an "ahuzzah," a holding--given to the Jewish People as God's part of our brit, our covenantal relationship. Our ancestors agreed to serve only God, and God agreed to maintain a unique relationship with the Jewish People.

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