Love of the Land

For the week ending 27 December 2003 / 2 Tevet 5764

Matana Tova The Good Gift

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"Three good gifts were presented to the Jewish People by the Holy One, Blessed be He, and all of them were given only through suffering."

One of the gifts mentioned in this statement by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Mesechta Berachot 5a) is Eretz Yisrael. This is based on the Torah promise of "For Hashem, your G-d, brings you into a good land" (Devarim 8:7) being preceded by the assurance that "As a man chastens his son so Hashem, your G-d, chastens you" (ibid. 8:5).

The great Talmudic commentator Maharsha points out that such suffering has always been necessary to avoid the nationalistic conceit described in the following passages which may cause Israel to forget its dependence on the Creator who gave Jews the land.

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