Love of the Land

For the week ending 13 December 2008 / 16 Kislev 5769

The Need for Patience

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

Love of the Land can sometimes be so intoxicating that patience gives way to intemperate action. Such was not the case of the Patriarch Yaakov, who, we are taught in this week's Torah portion, purchased a plot of land in the city of Shechem. Despite the fact that G-d has promised him the entire land, Yaakov realized that the time had not yet arrived for making his claim and therefore settled for buying some land.

This sort of patience was also demonstrated by his grandfather Avraham who ordered his shepherds to muzzle their animals to prevent them from grazing in the fields of others. In sharp contrast, the shepherds of his nephew Lot did allow grazing in the fields. Their argument was that the land was promised to Avraham, and since he had no children at that time Lot would inherit him and they could already graze wherever they wished. But the Torah stresses (Bereishet 13:7) that, "the Canaanites and the Perizzites were then dwelling in the land" and that Avraham's claim could not yet be actualized.

These lessons from history should guide both government and citizens in exercising patience in settling land claims

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