Friday, August 04, 2006

The Great Plea


BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT VAETCHANAN
11 Av, 5766/4-5 August, 2006


THE GREAT PLEA

Our Rabbis tell us that Moshe prayed to Hashem no less than 515 times, pleading to be able to enter the Holy Land. So great was his cry that Hashem had to command Moshe to stop, for if he prayed just one more time, Hashem would have had to answer his cry in the affirmative.

What was behind this great plea, why was Moshe so anxious to enter the Land? Surely, someone like Moshe, whose prophetic visions outdid by far those of all of our other prophets - surely the one who went up to Mount Sinai and did not eat for 40 days and 40 nights, to bring down the Torah for the Jewish people - could not have had a higher spiritual experience. What, then, was behind Moshe’s pleading request to enter Eretz Israel?

The Talmud teaches us: Why did Moshe want to enter the Land? Did he need to eat from its fruits or enjoy its goodness? Rather, this is what Moshe said to Hashem: "Israel was commanded to observe many mitzvot and they can only be fulfilled in the Land of Israel. Let me enter the Land so that I might observe them." We see from Moshe’s request that he did not say some of the mitzvot cannot be done now, but rather that the mitzvot - seemingly all the mitzvot - are dependent on the Land.

In this light, Nachmanides comments that the fulfillment of the mitzvot outside the Land of Israel is only required so that when the Jewish people return to their Land, they will not be new to them! If not for this reason, there would be no need to fulfill mitzvot outside the Land. We can now understand why King David, as he was being forced to run away from Shaul and hide outside of Eretz Yisrael, stated that it was as if he was forced that day to worship idols.

If the Jewish people were not obligated to be in the Land of Israel, then upon leaving Egypt Hashem would have told His people that they could go whereever they wanted to; surely, some wanted to go to Monsey and some to Flatbush, and some Jews wanted to hit the surf over in California. But this was not the case at all, for all those who did not want to enter the Land died, as the Torah teaches us: "Chamusim left Egypt" - some interpret this that one in five of the Jews left, and some Rabbis, that only one in fifty left, and some very extreme Rabbis teach that only one in five hundred of the Jews left Egypt. Who has ever heard of such a thing, that a nation does not want to be redeemed - but such was the case.

G-d examined all the lands, and He did not find a better place than the Land of Israel. Hashem said: The Land is precious to me and the Jewish people are precious to me, so I will bring the Jews who are precious to me into the land which is precious to me. It will be a perfect match.

So great are the qualities of the Land of Israel that even the nations of the world can feel it. We find in the time of Yehoshua, when the Jewish people were entering the Land, that there were 31 kings who possessed the Land. Thirty one kings in a place not much bigger than the state of New Jersey! How could so many kings have a share in the Land? Rather, a king who did not have a palace in the Land at that time was not considered a king of any importance.

Today, too, the battle is on, as it has been for the past hundred years, for the Land of Israel. And it will not end until all the nations will gather against her at the gates of Jerusalem, each claiming her for its own. It is only when we, the Jewish people, wake up to the greatness of the Land and flock back to it that we will finally be able to overcome all their false claims and bring the Final Redemption.


With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

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