People of The Land #7
PEOPLE OF THE LAND
Selections from classical Torah sources
which express the special relationship between
the People of Israel and Eretz Yisrael
At the conclusion of the akeidah - binding his son Yitzchak on the altar as an offering to Hashem - Avraham called the site Yireh (Bereishet 22:14). This was the same area which Malki-Tzedek (Shem) earlier called Shalem (ibid. 14:18).
When Hashem wished to give a permanent name to His holy city, says the Midrash (Bereishet Rabbah 56:10), this problem presented itself: "If I call it Yireh as Avraham did, the righteous Shem will feel slighted, and if I call it Shalem as Shem did, the righteous Avraham will feel slighted. I will therefore call it by both names - Yireh-Shalem (Yerushalayim or Jerusalem).
It is interesting to note that the two parts of the name Yerushalayim are not in the chronological order of their endowers. Perhaps the message is that Shalem, which means peace and perfection, can only be attained if preceded by the human service of Hashem indicated in the term Yireh, awe and respect, which communicates that the mountain on which Avraham was prepared to offer his son will be the site of the Beit Hamikdash where his descendants will offer sacrifices to Hashem in order to bring peace and perfection to the world.
Written by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, Dean, Ohr Somayach Institutions
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
HTML Design: Binyamin Rosenstock
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