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10/15/2021 11:34:12 AM


The great medieval exegete Rashi, writing back in the 11th century, in his first comment at the beginning of Genesis, forecasts one of the major issues confronting us today.  For Rashi understood that the time will come when we shall be confronted by people who will tell us: “you Jews are robbers. You stole land that belongs to other people.” Rashi tells us that we can look in the Torah, and see that HaShem created the world. And if so, HaShem can apportion His world as He likes. And he gave to us that little portion of land known as Erets Yisrael.

This week’s parasha begins the saga of our connection to our land. Abram (later known as Abraham) at HaShem’s bidding, taking his wife Sara(i) and nephew Lot, moves to the Land. It was not easy. He, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren endured many hardships. Yet they persevered, and finally, after wandering in the desert, under the leadership of Joshua, established themselves in the Land.

Much of the Bible consists of the prophets exhorting the Jewish people to act in way that will allow them to stay on the Land. To give just one of countless examples, this week’s haftarah has the prophet Isaiah encouraging the people that HaShem gives strength to those who trust in Him, and so we should not be afraid of our enemies.

Indeed, it has been pointed out that the last verse in the bible (II Chronicles chapter 36) has the prophet Jeremiah saying that King Cyrus of Persia recognizes that HaShem is sanctioning the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, and that all of the Jews in the Persian empire have permission to go and build Jerusalem.

In other words, we might say that the entire Bible is what literary critics would call an inclusio about the land of Israel: that is, it is clear that the importance of the Land is a major theme of the entire Bible.

Shabbat shalom, and remembering the words of the Biblical Book of Tehillim, ‘im ’eshkakheikh Yerushalayim, tishkach yemini

Shabbat shalom, and Shalom `al Yisrael

Mon, June 27 2022 28 Sivan 5782