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What a Bum!

By Tzvi Fishman
11/28/2008, 12:00 AM

I have a confession to make. For those of you who believe that I am a loathsome creature, this will prove you right.

When my last birthday came around, my wife gave me a present. It was an expensive book, filled with prayers for all occasions. She had spent over an hour browsing in a bookstore before making the choice, wanting to give me a gift that I would enjoy. But when I opened the gift wrapping and saw what it was, I asked her if she had saved the receipt so that she could bring it back. I told her that I appreciated the gesture, but I had most of the prayers already in an assortment of different books, and there was no need to spend unnecessary money for a book just because it had a fancy cover.

Of course, she was hurt. What a bum I am, right? How ungrateful can you be? Here she went to the trouble to pick out a special gift for me, and I threw it back in her lap.

To what is this similar?

In this week’s Torah portion, it is written, as it is written again and again throughout the Torah:

“Dwell in the Land that I shall tell thee of; live in this Land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for to thee, and to thy seed, I will give all of these lands….” (Bereshit, 26:3). 

G-d's Gift to the Jews


The Land of Israel is Hashem’s special gift to the Jews. Tell me. What is the proper thing to do? To accept it gratefully, and live here, as Hashem commanded us to, or to reject it, like I rejected my wife’s gift, and live in foreign lands instead?