Love of the Land

Love of the Land - What's In A Name

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Love of the Land
Selections from classical Torah sources
which express the special relationship between
the People of Israel and Eretz Yisrael

WHAT'S IN A NAME

"Malki-Tzedek, King of Shalem, brought out bread and wine" (Bereishis 14:18) "Avraham called that place Hashem Yireh" (Bereishis 22:14)

Both of these saintly men - Malki-Tzedek, who was Shem, son of Noach, and his descendant Avraham - were referring to the site upon which stands Jerusalem (whose Biblical name is Yirehshalem).

When Hashem wished to name His holy city, He faced, as it were, a Divine dilemma.

"If I call it Yireh like Avraham did, the righteous Shem will feel slighted, and if I call it Shalem like Shem did, the righteous Avraham will feel slighted. I will therefore call it Yireh-Shalem like both of them called it."

Shaleim means both peace and perfection, while Yireh, as Targum Onkelos translates, means human service of Hashem. Only when man serves Hashem can he hope to achieve the peace and perfection symbolized by Yirehshalem.

(Bereishis Rabbah 56:10)


The Love of the Land Archives

Written by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, Dean, Ohr Somayach Institutions
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
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