Let me make this perfectly clear!

May 20, 2016  

Mitzvat Yishuv Eretz Yisrael. There is a mitzva to live in the Land of Israel. It doesn’t show up on Rambam’s list of mitzvot. Nor in the Sefer HaChinuch. It is counted among the Taryag by Ramban.

It’s a mitzva CHIYUVIT (obligatory). It’s a mitzva KIYUMIT (not required, but a mitzva if you do it). It applies today. It doesn’t apply today. Dangerous. Not so dangerous. And on and on goes the different arguments about Living in Israel. And then there is R’TZON HASHEM. What G-d wants.

Let’s see. At the Burning Bush back in Sh’mot, G-d tells Moshe that He is going down (into Egypt) to say us from the hand of Egypt AND TO BRING US UP from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… And then in the next sedra, Va’eira, G-d sends Moshe to tell the people His Plan. “And I will take you out… save you… redeem you… And I will take you to Me as a nation and I will be your G-d and you will know that it is I who took you out of Egypt… And I will bring you… and I will give you… G-d will take us out of Egypt, give us the Torah, bring us into Eretz Yisrael.

We have written about this many times and have presented many proof texts to show that G-d’s purpose in making us a nation was to have us live a Torah life in Eretz Yisrael. Whatever delays have taken place in the realization of that Divine Plan have been OUR fault. But now let’s focus on this week’s sedra, B’HAR. And Hashem spoke to Moshe on HAR SINAI, saying: When you come to the Land which I have given you… you shall keep the laws of Sh’mita… Rashi’s famous question – based on a B’raita – What is the connection between Sh’mita and Har Sinai? The B’raita’s answer is that it comes to teach us that just as the laws of Sh’mita in detail were presented by G-d to moshe at Sinai, so too, all mitzvot were given with their details at Sinai.

One should not think that only chapter-headings were given by G-d at Sinai and that the details were fleshed out by the Sages. Much to be said on that, but not at the moment. For now let’s look at the particular choice of mitzva that G-d chose to use to teach us about all mitzvot and their details – Sh’mita. Technically, it could have been Shabbat or Kashrut or any other mitzva that would be presented with the words “And G-d spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai…” We would still be taught the same lesson of the B’raita. Why Sh’mita? Because Sh’mita is not only one of the mitzvot dependent upon the Land; it is the quintessential mitzva of Eretz Yisrael. Keeping it properly earns us living in Israel in peace and tranquility. Disregarding it – chas v’shalom – results in the Land spewing us out. The connection between Har Sinai (the receiving of the Torah) and Sh’mita (living in Eretz Yisrael) is supposed to be more than obvious – because they are the reasons that we exist as a People.

And in Vayikra 25:38, HaShem makes this perfectly clear: I AM HASHEM YOUR G-D WHO TOOK YOU OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT (in order) TO GIVE YOU ERETZ K’NAAN (in order) TO BE YOUR G-D. HaShem keeps saying this over and over again. In the Torah and through the Nevi’im. He even tells us that our living outside of Israel is a disgrace of His Name, a CHILUL HASHEM. Are you going to argue CHIYUVIT vs KIYUMIT, and this and that, in the face of R’TZON HASHEM?


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