Author: Gidon Ariel

Published Date: September 07, 2020

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“and it will be (a great “simchah”) when you come to The Land” (D’vraim 26.1). That it is! That it was and always will be. “Hodu La’Hashem Ki Tov, ki l’olam chasdo” (Tehilim136) How good is Hashem to us to afford us the opportunity to live in His Land. What a “zchut!”

So many of the great commentators and Rebbe’s teach us, when did The Land become holy? When The B’nai Yisrael entered it. This was and is our job. To raise the sparks of holiness of our great homeland.

“Beresheit bara Elohim…” In the beginning or at first, God created… (Beresheit 1.1). Many of our commentators, including Rashi, teach that the reason for using the word Be’Resheit is to emphasize that God created the world for B’nai Yisrael, the first , his chosen people. This is our name, Resheit. As such, from the opening verses of this week’s Torah portion of Ki Tavo” we immediately see the connection between Hashem, B’nai Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. “V’hayah,” the portion begins. Whenever the Torah uses this word it denotes “simchah,” joy. Hashem is, as it were, “b’simchah,” filled with joy, when his children, his chosen people have finally been blessed to enter His land and actualize the holiness of The Land. So we are instructed in the second verse, “V’lakachta me’Resheit kol pri ha’adamah…” and you should take from the first fruits of The Land…” (Devarim 26.2).

Hashem is telling us that the time has come for us to own our name. We, B’nai Yisrael, are Resheit and we need to harvest the “resheit, first of our fruits and dedicate them to Him.” The first produce of your land (Shmot 23.19). In that way we are immediately raising up the essence of the holiness of The land which He gave to us. We then become One with our creator, whose name is One, in The One Land which he brought us into. This is our divinely assigned task. We are together as One. We are B’nai Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael with Ahavat Yisrael.

This morning my good friend Stuie Wax reminded me of a pertinent teaching from Reb Shlomo. “I want you to know, the Gemara says that Eretz Yisrael is the center of the world. It doesn’t just mean that geographically Eretz Yisrael is the center of the world. Eretz Yisrael gives us back that center. Here is a Modzitzer Torah which you can’t forget: It says ‘Vehaya Ki Tavo El Ha’aretz’, when you come to the Holy Land, ‘Asher Ani Notain L’cha’, which I am giving you. So the old Modzitzer, Reb Shaul Yedidya, says like this. ‘Vehaya Ki Tavo El Ha’aretz’ when you come to the Land, ‘Asher Ani Notayn Lachem’, where G-d gives you back your ‘ANI’, your ‘I’. It is a great merit to live in The Holy Land and get to know your true self and your true connection to God.

The Slonimer Rebbe points out how amazing it is that the Torah emphasizes that the number one activity of the people when entering The Land was to dedicated their first fruits to God. The first fruit, the fruit of the farmer’s labor who works hard for a year to plow, seed, plant and care for his trees. He walks in the field one day, sees all of the first fruits of all his trees. This farmer is mamash in love with the fruits of his labor. Then what is his greatest “simchah? ” To take that which he loves, put his ego aside and dedicate it Hashem. All of the most important delegates came to the gates of Jerusalem to welcome this selfless member of Am Yisrael and show their appreciation for this special effort which they were making.

We are about to have the honor of once again, crowning our King, King of kings, creator of the heavens and the earth. I can’t remember a time in my life more timely to do so with commitment and conviction then in the midst of all that is taking place in our world. Let us be blessed to do it with joy and love. Let us say thanks for everything, especially those of us who have the honor to live in His Land. Of course things can always be better. We can invest in making it better by being good holy farmers, by sacrificing a bit of our own opinions and feelings and give to the greater good of us all to make Eretz Yisrael and the world a happier holier place to live in. Let’s not forget that Hashem is only interested in our love for him when we first find the space in our minds, hearts and souls to love each other.

Shabbat Shalom,
Yehudah

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