Love of the Land

For the week ending 15 September 2007 / 3 Tishri 5768

Where It All Began

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Rosh Hashana is the birthday of mankind. The first day of Tishrei was the sixth day of creation when the Creator said "Let us make a man."

The first man, Adam, was formed from matter taken from all over the universe whose creation preceded him. His head was formed from the dust of Eretz Yisrael, his torso from that of Babylon and his limbs from dust taken from every other land. (Mesechta Sanhedrin 38b)

Maharsha explains that since the entire universe was created for the use of man, Adam was formed from all its parts to symbolically give him domain over the entire universe. It was therefore logical that his head, repository of his spiritual and intellectual power, should be formed from the land which is the most hospitable to wisdom — the very air of Eretz Yisrael makes one wise — and where the soul has access in Jerusalem to the Gateway to Heaven.

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