Israel Forever

For the week ending 15 December 2007 / 6 Tevet 5768

Resettlement, Then and Now

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library
The great debate about resettling Jews in their own homeland recalls something Jews throughout the world will hear when this week's Torah portion is read in their synagogue.

After purchasing for Pharaoh all the lands of the Egyptian citizens in exchange for food in that famine-stricken land, the potentate Yosef resettled the sellers, moving the residents of one city to another "from one end of Egypt to another".

Rashi provides both the obvious purpose of this move and Yosef's hidden agenda. From a political angle this was intended as a reminder to the Egyptians people that they no longer owned their lands. But the reason why the Torah records this is to show how considerate Yosef was of his father and brothers who had joined him in Egypt as immigrants. Now that all Egyptians were no longer residing in their own cities they could not look down upon these new arrivals.

Disengagement, no matter how important it may seem for political purposes, is an extremely painful procedure for is victims, especially when it is their land which they worked so hard to settle and develop in Israel forever.

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