Israel Forever

For the week ending 24 January 2009 / 28 Tevet 5769

The Land of Their Sojourning

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Eretz Yisrael is called by many names in the Torah and in tradition. At the very beginning of this week's Torah portion we find an interesting name mentioned only one time in our sources.

"I established My covenant with them (the Patriarchs). G-d told Moses to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their sojourning in which they sojourned."

What is the significance of this stress on the idea of sojourning, with its connotation of temporary residence?

One of the great Torah commentators, Rabbi Leibush Malbim, explains as follows:

The Patriarchs related to this world as a place in which they were only temporary sojourners, because their true habitat was the world of the spirit. G-d therefore promised to give them a land on earth most conducive to spiritual greatness.

This is the true purpose of Eretz Yisrael, not striving to be just another country. It is this that must be internalized by the state and its leaders in order to ensure that the Heavenly gift to our ancestors will be for their descendants a secure spiritual and physical Israel forever.

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