Parshat Breish’t 5781: Eretz Yisrael, Who’s Land is It Anyway?

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Breish’t is being sponsored by Benyamin and Barbara Lemkin of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for Jonathan Pollard coming home to Eretz Yisrael, a complete refuah shleima for Esther Yocheved bat Rayzl Bracha (Pollard) and for freedom for all the heroes of Am Yisrael. To Mishpochat Lemkin, 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 Breish’t 5781: Eretz Yisrael, Who’s Land is It Anyway?

by Moshe Burt

After Succot, culminating with the siyum of Simchat Torah, the Torah cycle renews itself with Parshat Breish’t in this year 5781.

With the Communist Chinese corona virus still very much with us, the realization that Hashem is the Ultimate Creator of All must be emphasized and reemphasized and yet again. Particularly in light of the chaotic year just past, with another inconclusive or borderline Israel election result, an unstable national governing coalition and the continuation of this dread pandemic, the realization of Hashem’s Supremacy over ALL needs to be doubled-down upon as we enter 5781.

The very first posuk of Torah in our Parshat Breish’t, you know, the one; “In the Big Inning”, provides added emphasis in connection with our connection to Eretz Yisrael:

“Breish’t bora Keilokim eit HaShemayim V’eit HaAretz” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 1, posuk 1)

“In the beginning of Hashem’s Creating the heavens and the earth” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 1, posuk 1, as rendered to English in The Sapirstein Edition The Torah: with Rashi’s Commentary).

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his Sefer “Growth Through Torah” (page 18) cites Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz (Daas Torah: Breish’t , page 3) on Sefer Breish’t, Perek 1, posuk 1:

…You become aware that there is a Creator and Ruler of the universe. This first awareness already makes a major change in you for the rest of your life. You realize that there is a reason for everything. The world has meaning and purpose.

While it may not seem politically correct in our current world of oxymoronic Western “political correctness” and “morality(sic)” mixed with both virulent and just-beneath-the-surface anti-semitism,The Sapirstein Edition The Torah: with Rashi’s Commentary explains this first posuk of our Torah (page 2):

[Rashi asks:] “What is the reason that it [Torah] began with Sefer Breish’t?”

It began thus because it wished to convey the message… “The power of His acts He told to His people, in order to give them the estate of the nations.” So that if the nations of the world will say to Israel, “You are bandits, for you conquered the lands of the seven nations who inhabited the Land of Canaan,” [Israel] will say to them, “The whole earth belongs to the Holy One, Blessed be He. He Created it — and He Gave it to the one found proper in His eyes. By His Wish He gave it to them, and by His Wish He Took it from them and Gave it to us.” It is to be understood as the Rabbis of blessed memory expounded it: For the Torah which is called “the beginning of His way,” and for Israel who are called, “the first of His crop.”

Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z”l, In the new Hirsch Chumash then comments (New Hirsch Chumash, pages 1-2):

Our verse, then means: “In the beginning of all existence, it was Hashem who Created”; or if we add to the predicate the two objects that follow: “From the very beginning Hashem Created the heaven and the earth.” …”Breish’t” proclaims that nothing existed prior to Hashem’s Act of Creation, and that heaven and earth were created only through Hashem’s Word. Scripture thus teaches… that the world was brought into existence from nonexistence. This constitutes the basis of the conviction that Torah seeks to instill within us.

The opposite notion is the belief in the eternity of the world, which is the cornerstone of pagan belief until this very day. This belief is not only a metaphysical falsehood, a misrepresentation of the origin of the universe, but… it undermines all morality, and denies all freedom in both Hashem and man. If matter had antedated creation, then the Creator of the universe would have been able to fashion from the material given him NOT a world that was absolutely good, but only the best world possible within the limitations of the material…. All evil — natural and moral — would have been due to the inherent faultiness of the material, and not even Hashem would be able to save the world from evil, natural or moral. Hashem would not be master over the material of the world, and man would not be master over his body. Freedom would vanish, and the whole world, including its G’d and the men who live in it, would be propelled by a blind, immutable fate.

This bleak conception is dispelled by the light of the Torah with its very first words: “Breish’t bora Keilokim”! Everything — the matter and form of all that exists — was Created by a Free, Almighty Creator… [Who] still rules freely over the matter and form of every existing thing [meaning animate, inanimate and living, including man], over the forces that act upon matter, over the laws by which these forces operate, and over the resulting forms.

The world that was Created “Breish’t”…. — with all its seeming flaws — corresponds with the wise plan of the Creator: He could have created a different world, had such a world corresponded with His Will.

If we and, in fact, the world, are to correctly understand this last paragraph of the aforementioned citing, that “vast eternal plan” (quote from “Fiddler on the Roof”) — the wise plan of the Creator — then His original allotment of The Land was to nations who proved themselves unworthy, and so He took The Land from them and gave it to us, to Am Yisrael — His Chosen people. As such, our mission is to show how a holy nation acts in its’ land, as distinguished from the hypocritical and abominable ways and actions of the nations, to be a light unto the nations, a paradigm of Hashem’s blueprint of what the Jews are to represent — Hashem’s Kohanim — His Priestly People to the other nations of Mankind.

Rabbi Mordechai Katz in his sefer, “Lilmod U’Lamed” (page 16) cites a posuk from Iyov and comments:

“From my body, I deduce the existence of Hashem” (Iyov 19)

The question has to be; how could it be that the universe, with its myriads on myriads of systems, sub-systems and intricacies, could just be there, could just eternally exist without having been brought into existence by a Creator? How could it be that a universe which just eternally exists, without a Creator, could have within it a part, a parcel of land — Eretz Yisrael — which only flourishes when one certain nation and people inhabits it, and lays totally fallow when any and all other entities occupy it? And how could it be that this one certain nation and people — the Jewish nation which had been persecuted, pillaged, murdered, mass-murdered or expelled by every other nation and “civilization” throughout the history of man would have survived and outlived them all and returned to that one parcel of land which only flourishes in their presence? Torah teaches us that all of everything is created and re-created by Hashem in the minutest, fractions of mili-seconds.

And so this author returns to a previous Rosh Hashanah Vort where Rabbi Asher Baruch Wegbreit, in his sefer “The Power of Aleinu” (pages 35-36), cites Rav Chaim Friedlander, Sifsei Chaim on ”Aleinu” and the Malbim:

…The World generally doesn’t apply the term “great” where it truly belongs — with Hashem.

Their reasoning begins with a flawed… assumption that the Creator of the Universe Who is lofty enough to create the universe would never “lower Himself” to become involved with the lower world that He made…. They don’t feel that the Creator relates to his creations.

We [the Jewish people] know that the Creator does relate to his creations (Rav Chaim Friedlander, Sifsei Chaim,”Aleinu.”) This recognition makes the Jewish people unique and obligates us “to ascribe greatness to the One Who formed Creation.” (Malbim on Tehillim 34:4)

The point here is that while Hashem relates to, and with each of us and with all of His Creations, we are still finite, whereas Hashem and His Torah are infinite.

In light of the recent agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain which at this writing are about to be finalized with the mediation of President Trump, we pray that man, meaning Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel’s governing leadership, have not acceded to any strings which attempt to contravene the Will of Hashem regarding any part of Eretz Yisrael — i.e. possible demands by either the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain regarding construction freezes in Yehuda and the Shomron or for a “PA State(sic).”

Also, we must recognize, and recall world history, as well as Our history — that agreements and alliances have always been temporary; a means toward an end. In this case, could it be lining up against Iran and also accessing Israel’s Hi-Tech? Oftentimes, the end of such agreements or alliances has not worked out well for the Jews. Will we end up suffering what America currently suffers at the hands of the Communist Chinese — gross theft of Hi-Tech?

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 thrice 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, as Naama Issachar is now free and home — which can only occur when Jonathan is home in Israel and carrying for his ill wife Esther Yocheved bat Rayzl Bracha, 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 and a half 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!!!

Moshe Burt is an Oleh, writer and commentator on news and events in Eretz Yisrael. He is the founder and director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.