Ki Tavo: With Joy

The ongoing joy after settling in Eretz Yisroel.

Aloh Naaleh,

Arutz 7

The rabbis relate that the word v'haya always connotes simcha (joy). Hence, the Ohr HaChaim HaKodesh comments on the verse V'haya ki savo el ha'aretz - "and it will be when you will come into the land" - that the word v'haya hints to the fact that true simcha will only be achieved when we are settled in Eretz Yisroel.

The Sh'la HaKodesh adds another dimension to this, that settling Eretz Yisroel demands constant simcha. One must have ga'agooim, to longingly anticipate settling in Eretz Yisroel. It is for this reason when Avraham Avinu came to Eretz Yisroel on his own, five years before he was commanded Lech L'echa, HaShem sent him back for those five years so he could longingly anticipate his return, in order to create a reservoir of similar feelings to be drawn upon by all Jews in Chutz L'aretz for all generations, to long to be in Eretz Yisroel.
This concept seems to be at odds with the concept that Eretz Yisroel is acquired with yissurim, with difficulty and suffering.

And one must experience ongoing joy after actually settling in Eretz Yisroel. Partially, this is to facilitate the fulfillment of Yishuv Eretz Yisroel which necessitates being miyushav, being settled. One can not truly settle the land if he is personally emotionally unsettled. Joy and simchas ha'chaim make one emotionally settled.

However, this concept seems to be at odds with the concept that Eretz Yisroel is acquired with yissurim, with difficulty and suffering. The same anomaly exists in the fact that in parshas Bechukosai, the Torah says that we are exiled from Eretz Yisroel when we don't put effort and toil into Torah learning and observance. And yet, in parshas Ki Savo it says that we go into exile for serving HaShem without simcha, without joy. This seems to be contradictory, for joy and effort and toil do not seem to go together.

When the Torah was given, it was so overwhelming that the souls of the Jewish people fled them. They literally died and had to be resurrected. The question can be asked, if HaShem knew it was going to be so overwhelming, why did He let them die and then revive them? Why not give them the ability to withstand the experience without dying? Perhaps, HaShem wanted to impress upon us that Torah demands sacrifice, effort and hardship. Sometimes, one will be called upon even to sacrifice their temporal lives for Torah. However, it is with the Torah itself that G-d resurrected them. For the light of Torah is the dew of the resurrection, which gives eternal life. The lesson being that no matter how great the sacrifice for Torah, the ultimate benefit that the Torah itself gives overshadows the sacrifice completely.

Torah may not always be fun, but it is always worth the effort in the eternal perspective. Similarly, Ibn Ezra relates that having a portion in Eretz Yisroel is like having a portion in the World to Come. Hence, all the hardship and sacrifice necessary to acquire that portion is infinitely worth it and should generate tremendous joy and satisfaction.

Let us fulfill this mandate of simcha vis-a-vis Eretz Yisroel. For those who are not yet here, let them longingly anticipate the joy of settling in Eretz Yisroel. And for those of us fortunate to be here, may we constantly perceive the joy and satisfaction of being able to put the effort and sacrifice necessary to reap the eternal benefits of settling and living in Eretz Yisroel. May we all soon experience the ultimate joy when HaShem will return all our exiles and redeem us and build the third Beis HaMikdash, and then our mouths will be filled with joy, az yimalay s'chok pinu, soon in our days.
Rabbi Zev Leff is the Chief Rabbi of Moshav Matityahu, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivah Gedolah Matityahu and Rosh Kollel of Kollel Yesod Refael.

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.