Israel Forever

For the week ending 17 September 2011 / 17 Elul 5771

A Pledge of Allegiance

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"I declare today to G-d that I have come to the Land that G-d swore to our ancestors to give to us." (Devarim 26:3)

This statement which a Jew made to the Kohen when he brought his bikurim (first fruits) to the Beit Hamikdash could easily serve as a sort of "pledge of allegiance" to the Jewish homeland.

As Rashi points out in his commentary, the purpose of this declaration is to demonstrate that one is not an ingrate and knows how to appreciate the fact that G-d gave us Eretz Yisrael. Even before making the ensuing declaration expressing thanks for the Exodus and for the bounty of his agricultural produce, a Jew expresses his gratitude for simply living in the Promised Land.

In an era of so much highly publicized complaining about the conditions of living in Israel, this week's Torah portion should remind us of how much thanks we owe for the opportunity of living in Israelforever.

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