Love of the Land

Love of the Land - Beit El

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

BEIT EL

"He called that place Beit El, but its original name was Luz." (Bereishis 28:19)

Beit El - Luz, where Yaakov had his prophetic dream of a ladder reaching to Heaven, reappears in the Biblical account (Shoftim 1:23) of the tribe of Yosef conquering the city. The entrance to this city was perfectly concealed. A giant luz tree stood in front of a cave which served as the entrance, and only the city's inhabitants were aware that the tree was hollow and could be walked through. The Hebrew scouts waited until someone exited, and induced him to reveal the entrance by promising him protection from the war they were about to wage against his town.

They thus succeeded in invading and conquering the city, and allowed their guide and his family to safely leave. He went to the Hittite area of the land and established a city which he named Luz. The new Luz was where the techeiles dye for tzitzis was pressed, and its secret location made it invulnerable to the invasions of foreign kings who exiled the inhabitants of all the other cities. The kindness the guide had shown the Hebrews by just pointing his finger towards the entrance received its ultimate reward in the city's invulnerability to death itself. When its aged inhabitants grew weary of life, they went outside the walls of the city to die.

The modern Jewish settlement of Beit El, established after the Six-Day War on the approximate site of the ancient city, is fifteen minutes north of Jerusalem and near the Arab city of Ramallah.


The Love of the Land Archives

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