<i>Vayishlach</I>: Come and Get It

You have already acquired land in Israel.

Aloh Naaleh,

Arutz 7
Believe it or not, you have already acquired land in Israel!

My teacher, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, points out that our eternal connection to the Land of Israel begins with our forefathers.

Avraham Avinu walked through the entire Land of Israel: "Arise, walk in the Land, its length and its breadth, for I am giving it to you." (Bereshit 13:17) Our sages teach that this journey through the Land of Israel was not designed to signify Avraham Avinu's individual inheritance of the Land, but rather to ensure that the Land would be easily conquered by his children (Baba Batra 100a).

Avraham Avinu also acquired the Land by possession: he dug wells (ibid. 21:25-30). And
Our forefathers acquired the Land from every possible perspective.
he acquired it through money: he purchased the Cave of Machpelah in Chevron (ibid. chap. 23).

Yitzchak also acquired the Land by digging wells: "And Yitzchak dug the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Avraham, his father, and the Philistines closed them up after Avraham's death." (ibid. 26:18)

In this week's parasha, Vayishlach, when Yaacov returns to Israel after having been in exile in Lavan's house for twenty-two years, his first two acts are acts of acquisition. He builds a house (ibid. 33:17) and he buys land in Shechem (ibid. 19). The land he purchased will eventually be used as the grave of Yosef.

We see that our forefathers acquired the Land from every possible perspective - walking through it, digging wells and through money.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah HaCohen Kook explains that we must view the history of our ancestors in light of the great principle, "the actions of the fathers is a sign for the children." Crucial to our understanding of this principle is the idea that our forefathers are not separate entities from their children, but rather, they form a continuum with them. They are the root of Klal Yisrael. Their actions are "signs" for their children, i.e. for us, because we are, in fact, one entity with them. We are bound together, sharing a single essence that flows throughout time, from one generation to the next. When we learn about our forefathers and their actions, we learn about ourselves and our actions, which are one and the same.

When we read that our forefather acquired the Land, we are reading about our own personal acquisition of the Land. It is waiting here for you - just come and get it.
Rabbi Mordechai Friedfertig and family recently made Aliyah from Buffalo, New York, where he had been serving as the rabbi of a shul for the last nine years.

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.