Israel Forever

For the week ending 29 November 2003 / 4 Kislev 5764

Here to Stay

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

When the Patriarch Yitzchak was faced with a famine in Eretz Yisrael he recalled what his father Avraham had done in similar circumstances and set out for neighboring Egypt. When he reached the southernmost point he was intercepted by a Divine message ordering him to remain in the Holy Land.

"You were sanctified as a sacrifice to Heaven," he was told, "so that no land outside of Eretz Yisrael is worthy of your presence."

This connection between sacrifice and the land first appears in the Heavenly promise given to Avraham following his circumcision at the age of 99. The bit of blood shed in the making of that Covenant between Avraham and his Creator was valued by the latter as a virtual sacrifice of the formers entire being. Such self-sacrifice made Avraham and his descendants inseparable from Eretz Yisrael, which became their "eternal inheritance" to which they would be privileged to return even after being exiled from it because of their sins.

Our current return to Eretz Yisrael is fraught with many difficulties and many Jews have been tempted to leave. Perhaps they should learn to appreciate the little sacrifices they make to remain here as at least a faint echo of the patriarchal sacrifices that earn for us the right to remain in Israel forever.

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