This is Israel ..... What Torah Teaches
I originally wrote this blog in February in response to a Facebook discussion of what constitutes Eretz Yisrael. I always meant for it to be Part I of II or maybe even III. You know why? Because Judaism is based in three things that are the same for me as for my grandfather's grandmother all the way back in my lineage to Moshe Rabbenius, and they are Torah ~ Ha'Shem's Law & definition of Israel, Am Israel (the people of Israel) and Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel). And, this blog was always intended to follow this pattern, but as it it's wont, Life got in the way & parts II & III were never completed. I am going to remedy this now .... by reposting a slightly edited part I today & promising part II, the Legal position, for tomorrow. If a part III ~ the people or politics ~ demands then that shall be posted after Shabbat. It is part of my Preparation for Passover & understanding why Isreael is of utmost Importance in Jewish daily life. Apologies for the delay!!
I won't pretend to come close to defining anything, but Israel is not this little land mass we know of as modern Israel .... The land Ha'Shem granted to Israel for a Homeland included everything from the Nile river in Egypt to Lebanon (North to South) and everything from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (West to East). So, what deeded land belongs to Israel? All of the land modern Israel currently possesses, plus all of the 'disputed' land of Judea & Samaria (the West Bank), all of Gaza and Jordan, plus some of Egypt and Syria, plus parts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Israel currently possesses only a fraction of the land it has been promised. Our Promised Land!!
Parashas Mishpatim 23:31 ~ Torah: ~ Exodus 21:1-24:18 ...... "23:30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. 23:31 And I will set thy border from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness unto the River; (footnote 16) for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. (Footnote 16: That is, the Euphrates) 23:32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 23:33 They shall not dwell in thy land ~ lest they make thee sin against Me, for thou wilt serve their gods ~ for they will be a snare unto thee. "
This is the title deed to Eretz Yisrael. Yours & Mine. And it is not complicated, but simple!
*The borders of Eretz Yisrael are clearly deliniated ~ We just need to claim it!
*Little by little the usurpers of Jewish land are to be driven out.
*Others ~ non Jews ~ shall not dwell in our land.
*Living outside of Israel is viewed as an unnatural state for a Jew. The world outside of Israel is often referred to as "galut," which is usually translated as "diaspora" (dispersion), but a more literal translation would be "exile" or "captivity." When we live outside of Israel, we are living in exile from our land
That is Ha'Shem speaking. How much clearer can it get???
The Map above is the Middle East .... not as the world has it delineated today, but as Ha'Shem sees it. With Eretz Yisrael marked between the Red Lines. It describes a large territory, "from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates", comprising all of modern-day Israel and the rest of the land apportioned to us by Ha'Shems promise. The State of Israel is fully entitled to the Land of Israel ~ the Complete Land of Israel or the "Entire Land of Israel" (Hebrew: ארץ ישראל השלמה, Eretz Yisrael Hashlemah) ~ and to sovereignty over all of it, as promised above. The government of Israel should thus see that this sovereignty be immediately extended and not a single thought of its surrender should ever be permitted: ~ "There is only one land, the Land of Israel ~ and not one inch is not ours and not one inch dare be given back." Rabbi Meir Kahane said this!
It should be noted in what is commonly called 'biblical' times, part of Syria was part of the kingdom of Israel according to the borders outlined in Ba'Midbar 34, which follows, and the map shown above with the red border, which represents all of Canaan's Land, or Israel. After the Maccabean revolt, Judea then became an independant state and after King Herod died, the Romans took over and it became a Roman province. The Romans ultimately destroyed Judea and the second Temple in 70CE and renamed Israel 'Palestine' in an effort to wipe out the name of Israel and the Jews of Israel forever. However, the Jewish people, though driven from the land of Israel , in the worldly Diaspora, have always had a presence in the land of Israel since those times.
AND the L-RD spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:
1-2 The Southern border of Canaan Land or Israel: ~
Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward:
3 And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadeshbarnea, and shall go on to Hazaraddar, and pass on to Azmon:
4 And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.
5 The Northern border of Canaan Land or Israel: ~
And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor: From mount Hor ye shallm point out your border unto the the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad: And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazarenan: this shall be your north border.
And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border.
7-9 The Western border of Canaan Land or Israel:
10-12 The Eastern border of Canaan Land or Israel:
And ye shall point out your east border from Hazarenan to Shepham: And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinereth eastward. And the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about. ~ Ba'Midbar 34, 1 - 12. ~
But, you may ask is this important & why am I on the eve of Shabbat frantically scrabbling around for clear maps & mishnas .... why is what constitutes the land of Israel Important???
"The entire life of the Jewish people revolves around the question of our existence in Israel ~ whether we are in a state of exile or a state of redemption. Even after the Giving of the Torah, the complete fulfillment of the commandments began only after entering the Land, conquering, and dividing it ~ after the Jewish people settled in the Land. The purpose of giving the Torah at Mt Sinai ~ the moment at which we became a people ~ is the fulfillmenet of the Torah and the commandments in the Land".
Why is Land of Israel essential to Jewish people? In the writings of Rabbi Isaac of Homil zt"l it is explained in several places that the settlement of the Jewish people in their land and the establishment of their kingdom is, in the language of Kabbalah, 'raising the aspect of Rachel'. Rabbi Isaac explains that the raising of the aspect of Rachel means revealing and shaping the true Jewish nature. In exile we can fulfill commandments and even establish Jewish community, but it is all still part of 'the aspect of Leah' - the world of conscious thought. Outside of the Land, Judaism is an intellectual and thought-out exercise; only in Israel Judaism is revealed as the Jewish soul's natural impulse, and natural expression of Jewish nature in the fulfillment of the commandments comes to light.
~ Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, The Jewish Nature: ~ The Way to Natural Consciousness.
This all serves to reinforce the importance of Eretz Yisroel in Halacha, and therefore how important it should be to every Jew alive. Those living in Israel or in the Diaspora. There will be one more.... maybe two more parts to this blog. as I attempt to define Israel's borders, parameters & responsibilities both religiously & politically as the Jewish Nation & State. Part II shall review the legal position of Eretz Yisrael & what land is legally ascribed to us. I want to conclude (maybe a part III) by looking at practical politics & the role of Israel's leadership in securing & extending it's borders as per its Torah & Legal postions. It has become more urgent as Middle events move increasingly towards Islamic Sharia government throughout the lands which surround Israel & Ha'Shem loudly calls his people home. Am Yisrael Chai!!!