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12/02/2022 12:59:19 PM


In light of all of the anti-Israel and antisemitic attacks and expressions we have been hearing lately (such as from Pres. Trump's new-found dinner friend! and the attacks at the Jerusalem bus stops), the following observations are pertinent:

Rashi on Genesis:  Most of us are aware of Rashi's first comment on the Torah: really, since the torah is a book of laws, it should have begun with Shemot, chapter 12, which is the first law in the Torah.  So, why do we need all of Genesis? Rashi says (in the name of R. Yitschak) it is to teach us that HaShem created the world, and therefore can apportion it as He desires. So if we ever hear anyone saying that the Jews are thieves, and have stolen the land, we can respond that since HaShem created the world, He has a right to apportion the Land of Israel to the Jews, as He sees fit.

As we have been reading Sefer Bereishit this year, I have noticed several places where Rashi refers to the Jewish right of possession of the Land of Israel. In all of the following cases, Rashi elaborated on the simple meaning of the Torah, and thus is illustrating his comment on the first verse.

  1. In parashat lekh lekha, Rashi says that Lot's shepherds felt they had a right to graze in other peoples' fields, because "the land was given to Abram." [whereas Abram's shepherds said the title had not yet been handed over to Abram.]


  1. Abraham is depicted as the first Israeli chief of staff, as he assembles an army and leads it into Syria, in order to bring back the captives.


  1. In parashat Vayeira', you might ask why HaShem had to tell Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom. Rashi says that because He has given the land to Abraham, it is only proper to tell him about the impending destruction of Sodom and neighbouring cities.


  1. In parashat Hayyei Sarah, when Abraham is looking for a burial plot for Sarah, Abraham is threatening the Hittites that if they don't treat him nicely and give him a plot, he will take it [by force] since legally it is his, as the land was promised to him by God.


  1. In parashat Va-yeitsei, the Torah says that upon Jacob's return to the Land of Israel, he was greeted by angels.


Rashi says that these were special angels: the angels of Erets Yisrael.


We pray for peace in the Land and in the world. 

Shabbat shalom, Rabbi Menahem White

Sun, April 2 2023 11 Nisan 5783