I would like to thank all of you for your condolences over the death of my Father. Abba, ז"צל, had the incredible blessing to spend his last eight years in the Land of Israel. Even though we intended to bury him in the Jerusalem Har HaMinochot cemetery close to our home, Hashem had other plans and brought things about so that Abba found his final resting place on the Mount of Olives, the holiest and most famous cemetery in the world. It was his fitting inheritance as a dedicated supporter of Torah. Without my Father’s assistance, I would never have been able to write so much about the Land of Israel and Torah, and thus spread the light of true Judaism around the world, into the homes of tens of thousands of Jews scattered around the four corners of the earth.
Like being buried under the Temple altar.
At the time of the resurrection of the dead, those who have been buried on the Mount of Olives are destined to arise first. In contrast, the Talmud teaches that Jews who have been buried outside of the Land of Israel will have to first undergo a terribly painful journey, rolling through underground tunnels all of the way to Israel. This is one of the reasons that our holy Forefathers, Yaacov Avinu and Yosef, ordered their sons to bury them in the Land of Israel, to avoid the painful underground convolutions that awaited them if buried in Egypt, even though Egypt was very close to the borders of Israel (Ketubot 111a). If this is true for Egypt, what a painful journey it promises to be for the bones of Jews embalmed in exiles thousands of miles away!
To be buried in the Land of Israel is like being buried beneath the altar of the Holy Temple, atoning for all of one’s sins (Ibid). The Talmud praises a person who lives and is buried in the Land, unlike someone who is brought to the Land after his death: “He who embraces it while alive is not like him who does so after his death” (Ibid). The Talmud continues: “They say concerning him who could have lived there, but did not do so, only ordering his body to be brought there after his death, ‘While you were alive, you made My inheritance an abomination, yet in death you come and contaminate my country’” (Ketubot, Jerusalem Talmud, also, Kuzari, Ch.2:22).
Sorry, my friends, that I have to be the one to break the news, but this is what it says in the Talmud, and I am sure that Abba would have wanted you to know in advance, so that you can start making your aliyah plans now.
May his memory be for a blessing.