Love of the Land

For the week ending 14 May 2011 / 9 Iyyar 5771

Sancheriv - A Title for a Tribute

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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"A land like your own" is what this mighty king of the Assyrian Empire offered the besieged Jews of Jerusalem if they would surrender to his forces. Just as he had exiled the Ten Tribes of the Kingdom of Israel to some foreign land, he promised to do the same with the residents of the Kingdom of Judea, the last holdout against his conquest of the entire world.

Although he could have diplomatically tried to persuade them by offering them a better land, this would-be conqueror of the entire Eretz Yisrael refrained from doing so because he could not bring himself to claim that any land could really be better.

Sancheriv’s mighty army was destroyed in one night by a Heavenly angel, but the respect he showed for Eretz Yisrael earned him the title of "the great and noble Asnappar" in a reference to him in the Book of Ezra (4:10). He also merited great Jewish descendants the Sages Shemaya and Avtalyon.

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