Toldot: Yitzchak's Dwelling

Rediscovering an unshakable relationship with G-d.

Aloh Naaleh,

Arutz 7

When Yitzchak is confronted with a famine similar to the one that had plagued the land at the time of Abraham, he is told by G-d: "Go not down into Egypt; dwell [shechon] in the land which I tell thee of. Sojourn [goor] in this land and I will be with thee and will bless thee." (Bereishit 26 2 -3)

The Kli Yakar writes that the phrase "dwell in the land" implies a greater permanence than the second phrase,
Only Yitzchak is described as working the land.
"sojourn in this land." The connection of Yitzchak to the Land of Israel exists on both the unchanging spiritual level (dwell) and the more transient material one (sojourn). The material blessing promised Yitzchak and his descendants subsequent to following G-d's admonition to "sojourn" in the land varies, while the closeness to sanctity enjoyed by those who dwell in the land where the Divine Presence [Shechinah] also dwells remain permanent and unchanging.

Of our three forefathers, it is only Yitzchak - who may seem at first the least active and who undergoes the least change (even his name remains the same) - who reaps the blessing of the Land from the soil itself. Only Yitzchak is described as working the land: "And Yitzchak sowed in that land, and found in the same year a hundredfold; and the L-rd blessed him." (Bereishit 26 12)

This is not a coincidence. It is the absolute, unchanging nature of Yitzchak's relationship with G-d, beyond the possible influence of outside circumstance (a relationship epitomized in his role at the akeidah as a burnt offering, dedicated in his entirety to G-d) which gives Yitzchak that gevurah - the power to overcome all potential obstacles - enabling him to bring the Divine bounty to expression even at the most material level - in the soil.

In our day as well, the Land of Israel can be conquered only through gevurah born of our rediscovering the unshakable relationship with G-d bequeathed to us as a people by Yitzchak Avinu.
Rabbi Jonathan Blass writes from Neve Tzuf.

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.