Love of the Land

For the week ending 17 January 2004 / 23 Tevet 5764

Eretz Rechavah The Spacious Land

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

In the second blessing of our Grace After Meals which expresses our gratitude to Heaven for the gift of Eretz Yisrael we refer to it not only as a "desirable and good land" but also as a "spacious" one.

"Spacious" has both figurative and literal connotations. When the Torah relates the conflict between the shepherds of the Patriarch Yitzchak with the Philistines over ownership of two vital water sources it records in subtle, prophetic manner that there was no dispute over the third one uncovered by Yitzchaks men and they named it "Rechovot". This term of spaciousness referred to the end of restrictive conflict which made it possible for "us to be fruitful in the land" (Bereishet 25:22), but was also a hint to a time in the future when local conflicts, with our neighbors and among ourselves, would come to an end and allow us to multiply and prosper.

In the literal sense "spacious" refers to the Divine promise (Devarim 19:8) when "Hashem, your G-d, will expand your borders as He swore to your ancestors and give you all the land which He promised to give to your fathers."

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