Parshat Masei 5779: How Much Do You Love, Cleave to and Possess Eretz Yisrael?

Shalom Friends;

Our Parshat HaShevua, Masei is being sponsored by Yosef Moshe and Chana Rosenberg of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated in honor of Yosef Moshe’s Bar Mitzvah Parshiyot Matot/Masei and for the health and wellbeing of their children and family. To the Rosenberg family, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Masei 5779: How Much Do You Love, Cleave to and Possess Eretz Yisrael?

by, Moshe Burt

Parsha Masei opens by recapping the events of B’nai Yisrael from Yetziyat Mitzrayim (leaving Egypt), through K’riyat Yam Suf (crossing the Reed Sea) as well as their travels in Bamidbar (in the desert) over the 40 years so that the Am Yisrael will recall the trials and, hopefully, actuate the lessons learned. Following this recap, “Hashem spoke to Moshe… by the Jordan, at Yericho” (Artscroll Stone Chumash, Sefer BaMidbar, Perek 33, posuk 50) telling him to speak to the B’nai Yisrael and tell them;

When you cross the Jordan to the land of Canaan, you shall drive out all of the inhabitants of the Land before you; and you shall destroy all their prostration stones; all of their molten images…. You shall possess the Land as an inheritance by lot to your families…. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land before you, those of them whom you leave shall be pins in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you upon the Land in which you dwell. And it shall be that what had meant to do to them, I shall do to you. (Artscroll Stone Chumash, Sefer BaMidbar, Perek 33, p’sukim 53, 55–56, pages 922-923)

These posukim literally scream out from our Torah to this very generation!

The Artscroll Stone Chumash (page 923) then cites the Rashbam and follows with it’s own commentary;

…If they fail to do so, they will suffer the fate Hashem had intended to impose upon the Canaanites, and be driven out.

Only in the perspective of Hashem’s wisdom can this passage be understood. No human ruler has the right to decree that an entire population is to be… exiled, but Hashem revealed that the Canaanite presence was incompatible with both the Land’s holiness and Israel’s mission on earth. History is the most conclusive proof of this, for the fact was that the Jews could not bring themselves to eliminate all of the Canaanites, with the result that the Jews were drawn to idolatry, debauchery, and were in turn periodically oppressed and finally exiled.

R’ Shimson Rafael Hirsch z”l provides additional enlightenment on the abovementioned posukim the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Rabbi Daniel Haberman) which hold important lessons not heeded by contemporary Israeli governance, institutions and political entities (pages 666-667):

On posuk 53: You must first make the Land fit to be your yerusha [inheritance] by removing all traces of polytheism, and only then will you be able to settle in it.You are not inheriting the Land by your own power and might; rather, Hashem’s will and Hashem’s power are giving you the Land. So, too, the division of the Land shall not be done according to arbitrary norms, but according to Hashem’s instruction and decision. Hence, you will not be able to avoid fulfilling the first basic condition on which Hashem makes the [this] gift of the Land dependent.

On posuk 55: …Apparently, …the meaning here: If you allow the pagan inhabitants to remain in the Land, they will become a hedge [a guard, a protection] around their pagan practices; the nature of these practices will be concealed from your perception and insight, and you will not find fault with them. Tolerance toward the pagan inhabitants will beget tolerance toward paganism. If you tolerate paganism and find justification for it within Hashem’s Land, you will cease to belong to Hashem alone, and… you will be deprived of your right to exist in the Land, and you will not be worthy of protection…. When Hashem removes His protection of you…, those toward whom you have been so tolerant will become your enemies and will oppress you in your own land.

On posuk 56: In the end, you will not be worthy of Hashem’s Land, and Hashem will expel you… as He had intended to expel the nations through you.

This author recalls a paradigm of the ideal; of B’nei Yisrael clinging to Eretz Yisrael as our inheritance and possessing it, the story of the daughters of Tzlafchad. Torah relates the story of the daughters of Tzlafchad (The Sapirstein Edition, “The Torah with Rashi Commentary, Sefer Bamidbar, Note 3 to Perek 27, posuk 1, page 340):

…It teaches… that the daughters of Tzlafchad and all of their ancestors back to Yosef were righteous. This includes Tzlafchad himself, even though “he died for his sin”… (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 27, posuk 3) (see Be’er Mayim Chaim, Be’er BaSadeh)

Several years ago, at this time, that kiruv legend, Jeff Seidel related the story regarding Parsha Pinchas:

Parshat Pinchas relates a story (Sefer Bamidbar 27:1-12) about the daughters of Tzlafchad, descendants of Yosef (Joseph). These daughters wanted and loved the Land of Israel so much that they wanted a piece of it. As Rav Moshe Feinstein asks, why do they have to have a claim in the land, just because they love it? Wouldn’t entering or living in the land be fulfilling enough?

R’ Moshe thus concludes that if a person truly loves something, they’d want it to be theirs, and no one else’s. This could explain why the daughters wanted to actually own a piece of the land, rather than simply living in it. This logic applies to marriages, as well as the Torah’s preference that every Jew writes their own Torah (or a portion of it). In our terms, it’s not enough to borrow and read Jewish books. We need to love the Torah we read SO much that we feel the need to own it! …We should not only seek, read and enjoy words of Torah, but we should OWN those books, and live those words!

Suffice to say, that as this author understand’s R’Moshe, and as the title of this Parshat HaShevua implies; passionate love of Eretz Yisrael = jealously possessing it as our own, rather than nonchalantly dropping our spent cigarette butts and empty soda cans on it, or merely caring for and craving for one’s narrow personal comfort and sense of “the normal life” of the nations.

If one could express possessing Eretz Yisrael as our own in human terms: if our land were a human being, one could embrace, hung, cling, possess and squeeze hard never letting go. We understand the Land as the physical, tangible manifestation of Hashem’s being and will. So, based on Rav Moshe’s axiom, a Jew possessing his Land, as if embracing it, seems the physical manifestation on earth of the spirituality of Torah, tefillah, chesed and cleaving to Hashem. And therefore, to one who passionately loves the Land, every inch of it is important — he is jealous for every inch of it and willing to fight for all of it, not just that one piece of the Land where he and his live.

Unfortunately, in today’s Jewish State, we have become handcuffed in “political correctness” by a “politically correct” Israeli swamp: politicians, media, intelligencia, self-proclaimed elitists — including college and university professors and corrupt Israeli ministerial long-entrenched bureaucrats and corrupt institutions.

This seemingly all-powerful conglomeration has managed to brainwash, indoctrinate, coerce and inculcate many among the masses with the shekar of “Land for peace(sic)”, inter-faith “dialogue”, the “rights” of one’s enemies — either through attempting to erode and eradicate Torah in the land,or tolerating as acceptable stonings, drive-by ambush shootings such as that which took the life of a Rabbi and seriously injured his wife and injuring his offspring in their auto in the Har Hevron area on a recent Erev Shabbos, stabbings both in the streets and of a young girl asleep in her bed in Kiryat Arba, suicide bombings, bull-dozer terror attacks and more, or through reinforcing an engrained mindset among many of “ein ma’alah sot” (there’s nothing we can do).

These same “political correct” Israeli politicians, media and corrupt Israeli institutions who don’t drive out the pagans from Our Land actually welcome with open arms tens of thousands of subversive African migrants into South Tel Aviv. They accept and enable these terrorists-in-the-making who physically attack and terrorize Jews and take over the streets of South Tel Aviv, thereby both making it unsafe for Jews to travel on foot in the area and creating an economic windfall for area employers who hire them because they can pay them below minimum wages, while denying Jews jobs with living wages. Not to mention, by recent successive Israeli governments indecisiveness in dealing with all modes of terror emanating from Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran and more.

And so, because we seem not strong enough to possess the Land and to cause the enemy thieves, murderers and temporary “inhabitants” to leave, and, in fact, welcome them in: “those of them whom you leave shall be pins in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you upon the Land in which you dwell.”

How long will this go on? Will our collective weakness bring Hashem to actuate “what… [Hashem] had meant to do to them, [He] shall do to you”? Those of us who cleave to Eretz Yisrael yearn for the day of true Jewish leadership and sovereignty in the entirety of Eretz Yisrael.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the twice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of five years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Chodesh Tov and Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.