Friday, July 27, 2007

Parshas Vaeschanan

אֶעְבְּרָה-נָּא, וְאֶרְאֶה אֶת-הָאָרֶץ הַטּוֹבָה, אֲשֶׁר, בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן: הָהָר הַטּוֹב הַזֶּה, וְהַלְּבָנן.

"Please, allow me to cross over and see the good land that is across the Yardein, this good mountain and the Lebanon." (Sefer Devarim, 3:25)

Rabbi Simla’i expounded: Why did Moshe our teacher wish to enter Eretz Yisrael? Did he need to eat of its fruit or fill himself of its goodness? Rather, Moshe said: “Many mitzvot have been commanded to Israel which cannot be fulfilled but in Eretz Yisrael; I will enter in order to fulfill them all.” (Sotah 14a)

It is understood from R' Simla'i's statement that Moshe Rabbeinu didn't want to go into Eretz Yisrael to eat the fruit. This, however, is difficult to understand by virtue of the fact that in the Bracha Achrona that we eat after certain foods we praise Hashem for giving our forefathers the land so that we can "eat of its fruit and be filled of its goodness." How can we say that Moshe Rabbeinu didn't want to enter to eat the fruit, yet it something that we explicity praise Hashem for? Furthermore, the Bach comments that fruits from Israel have a certain level of Kedusha because they get nourishment from the holy land of Israel. Surely this is something that Moshe would've wanted to merit.

R' Menachem Ziemba answers in a fascinating way, by explaining that Moshe Rabbeinu was on such a level that he didn't need to eat. Of course, he did eat, but only so that he shouldn't appear too different from everyone else and the way they are by nature. Therefore, since he didn't need to eat he didn't have the urge to go in to taste the fruit. However, R' Ziemba concludes by saying that by everyone else who, of course, needed to eat, they did go in order to "eat of its fruit and be filled of its goodness." Thus, it makes sense that we, beings that need and enjoy food, praise Hashem for giving the land to our forefathers for the aforementioned reasons.

It's not hard to find things to complain about when talking about Israel. Yes, the government sucks. Yes, the people aren't always the friendliest. Yes, many people replace Yahadut with Zionism. I could go on and on. But, as everyone will probably agree, there's something about this place that there is to love and that brings me back, even when spending thousands of dollars isn't in our best financial interest. One can't help feeling something different when in Israel. For some, it's the Kotel. For some, it's Masada. However, we learn from this that it doesn't have to be a religious landmark or a beautiful view; it can be something as simple as eating the fruit of the land.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont you mean they replace yahadut with zionism?

8:20 AM, July 27, 2007


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