Love of the Land

For the week ending 2 July 2011 / 29 Sivan 5771

Lovers of the Land

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Throughout the generations Jews realizing their dream of coming to Eretz Yisrael have expressed their love of the land by kissing its earth upon arrival. They have thus dramatically fulfilled the vision of King David who wrote in Tehillim (102:15):

"For your servants hold dear her stones and cherish even her dust."

The Talmudic Sages were exceptional in expressing this love. Rabbi Abba kissed the rocks at the port of Acco. Rabbi Chiya bar Gamda literally rolled in the dust of the land. But Rabbi Chanina went a step further. He repaired the roads in his vicinity so that no one would be able to complain about even that facet of his beloved land.

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