Love of the Land - The Indirect Vandalism
Selections from classical Torah sources
which express the special relationship between
the People of Israel and Eretz Yisrael
The elimination of idol worship in Eretz Yisrael was a responsibility delegated to the Jewish People upon their entry into the Land. They were commanded to destroy the idols, smash their altars and wipe out any trace of their name.
This command is followed by the warning "You shall not do thus to Hashem, your G-d" (Devarim 12:4). The simple reading of this passage is that we are warned not to do to the sacred items connected with Hashem that which we are instructed to do to those of the idol worshippers. Our Sages conclude from this that one who smashes even a stone from the Sanctuary or the altar, or one who erases even one letter of the Holy Name has violated this prohibition.
Rabbi Gamliel, however, sees another dimension in this warning: Of course Jews are not suspect of destroying their altars, says Rabbi Gamliel; rather, the Torah is warning us not to imitate the idolatrous ways of the heathens and cause our Sanctuary and altar to be destroyed as a result of our sins.
(Sifri, Parshas Re'eh)
Written by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, Dean, Ohr Somayach Institutions
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
HTML Production: Eli Ballon
HTML Design: Michael Treblow
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