<I>Vayikra</I>: The Chosen Place

The Mishkan, the Temple and the Land of Israel.

Aloh Naaleh,

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This week's parasha, Vayikra, relates to the sacrifices that were offered in the Mishkan and, later, in the Beit HaMikdash.

From the time that the Jewish people entered the land of Israel and built the Beit HaMikdash, offering sacrifices anywhere else than in the Beit HaMikdash became prohibited.

The Mishna in Kelim (1:6-9) lists ten levels of holiness, the highest being the Kodesh HaKodashim, the Holy of Holies in the Beit HaMikdash, and the lowest being the land of Israel.

Aspects of the sanctity of the land of Israel stem from the Beit HaMikdash.

The Mishna states: "Eretz Israel is holier than all other lands. And how is it holy? From it (from produce of the land) one may bring the Omer offering (the barley offering brought on Pesach), Bikkurim, and Shetei HaLechem (the two-loaf offering brought on Shavuot)."

One may ask: Why does the Mishna single out these three mitzvot, which must be brought from Eretz Israel, from among the many mitzvot connected with the land of Israel, such as Teruma, Ma'aser, Shemmita, and many others?

The answer lies in the fact that one of the aspects of the sanctity of the land of Israel stems from the Beit HaMikdash. Just as God chose the Beit HaMikdash as His eternal dwelling place, and the place where He was to be worshiped, so too He chose Eretz Israel as the eternal chosen land for the Jewish people (Mechilta on parshat Bo). These three mitzvot represent the connection between the Beit HaMikdash and Eretz Israel.

May God help us all return to the land of Israel and worship God in the ideal place.
Avraham Hermon writes from Har Bracha, Israel.

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.