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RABBI CHAIM LOBEL הרב חיים לובל

This week is Parshat Achrei Mot – Shabbat Hagadol
Candle Lighting 7:16 PM 4/15/11 NYC DST

Rabbi Chaim Lobel – Young Israel of Aberdeen, NJ
www.yiaberdeen.com


 

 

Love for Israel – In Memoriam of Mr. David M. Warren (Menachem Dovid ben Harav Yosef Z’L)

“Like those practices in the land of Egypt which you (Children of Israel) have lived, do not do; and like those practices of the land of Cana’an (Israel), to which I will bring you, do not follow their statutes.” (Leviticus 18:3) 

Rashi (1040 – 1105) teaches that the Torah chooses Egypt and Canaan because the Egyptians and Canaanites were notoriously degenerate. Israel is warned to keep far away from such a lifestyle. 

However, the Kli Yakar is not satisfied with this interpretation because it does not explain the reference to the additional words “the land of Egypt which you have lived” and “the land of Canaan to which I will bring you.”  

The Kli Yakar explains that some of the Jewish people did not want to leave Egypt and be subject to a new lifestyle. And among those who left, some complained at the first sign of struggle for food and some even wanted to return to Egypt. “If we would have died in the hands of G-d back in Egypt . . . where we ate bread until we were satisfied.” (Exodus 16:3) 

Then, after the twelve spies reported about the Land of Israel, most of the Jewish People did not want to enter. “Why does G-d want to bring us to this land to die by the sword . . . It would be better if we return to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:3).  

The Kli Yakar (Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz, Prague; 1550 – 1619) understands that these additional words of “which you have lived” and “to which I will bring you” add an additional warning. Not only must we avoid the lifestyles of degenerate people but we most also yearn to live a Torah lifestyle in Israel. The Torah can only be fully observed in the Land of Israel. At least sixty-five percent of G-d’s Torah commandments are dependent on the Land of Israel, from temple services to agricultural laws. The reality is that, absent the Land of Israel and its Holy Temple, we cannot live a complete Torah lifestyle. Therefore, not being improperly influenced by the society is not enough. We must also desire to be in Israel in its glory.  

This interpretation revolutionizes the ideology of Torah Zionism. We love the land and wish to return, not from a desire to be a “nation among nations” or reconnect to our heritage, but from G-d’s commandment to yearn to live a complete Torah lifestyle in Israel. 

As of yet we will sit at our Passover Seder and be reminded that we no longer have the celebratory sacrifice (Korban Chagiga) and the Paschal Lamb (Korban Pesach). Just before we read the Ma Nishtana, we say “Now we are slaves (to the influences and surroundings), next year we will be in the land of Israel.” Every day, we yearn for our return to the Land of Israel and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Every day, we yearn for the opportunity to fulfill all of the Torah’s commandments. A worthy thought as we conclude the Seder with “LeShana Haba’ah Berushalayim Habenuya” (Next year in Jerusalem).

Shabbat Shalom

May everyone have a zissen pesach - chag kasher v’sameach.


 
   
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