Do you feel different when you are in Israel?
Of course you do!
When I am walking in Yerushalayim I feel as if the earth is talking to me. It is alive.
Outside Israel, the earth does not speak. The entire universe is Hashem’s creation, but there is a unique place that is alive with kedusha (spirituality), just as there is a unique Nation that is alive with kedusha.
“For the Land to which you come, to possess it – it is not like the land of Egypt that you left …. It is a land … that Hashem, your G-d seeks out. The eyes of Hashem, your G-d, are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to year’s end.” (Deuteronomy 11:10-12)
This week we learn that the Land cannot be sold. “For the Land is Mine!” (Leviticus 25:23)
Do you think the Land belongs to us? No! It belongs to Hashem! Just the way we belong to Him, so does the Land of Israel belong to Him. We are connected to this Land not because it is ours, but because it is His! And that is why the only bond which connects us to the Land is Torah!
The Land is alive! Just the way a Jew cannot be sold perpetually into slavery, so the Land cannot be sold. You cannot sell the Land because it doesn’t belong to you! It belongs to Him, “for you are sojourners and residents.” (ibid)
That is why the Land of Israel feels different, because you feel the Presence of the Owner!
Just as we keep Shabbos, so the Land keeps Shabbos. It is explicit in the Torah: “the Land shall observe a Shabbos!” (ibid 25:2) And it is no accident that this week’s Torah portion, after discussing Shmittah (the law that the Land of Israel shall rest every seven years) and Yovel (the law that the Land will revert to its original owners every fifty years), goes on to discuss the Jewish slave (ibid 25:39ff). The Land of Israel, like the Children of Israel, cannot be sold. It must return to its Owner.
And it will return to its Owner!
Just as we cannot live without Torah, the Land cannot live without Torah. Since the destruction of the Holy Temple, the Land has been waiting for the return of the Presence of G-d.
On a recent trip to Israel, we had an amazing experience. My wife and I spoke at a unique location. Not only did it look out at the Western Wall, but it was uniquely high, and so one could see ABOVE the Western Wall! It looked down upon the floor which the mosque has appropriated and occupied for some thirteen hundred years.
Talk about “occupied territory!”
My friends, we were looking down at the actual floor upon which the Bais Hamikdosh stood!
And soon will stand again … with G-d’s help!
How long do you think Hashem is going to wait before He reclaims His Land?
Not long, my friends!
“V’sechezena …May our eyes behold Your return to Tzion in compassion! Blessed are You, Hashem, Who restores His Shechina to Tzion!” Very soon, in our days!
The Dome of the Rock (upper left) is sitting on the floor on which the Temple stood and,
with G-d’s help, will soon stand. The Western Wall Plaza is visible on the lower right.