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Please Don’t Bury Me in America

By Tzvi Fishman
12/26/2010, 12:00 AM

That’s what our holy forefather, Yaacov, would have told his kids if he had lived in our times. Don’t bury me here in America! Take me to our homeland in Israel and bury me in the Cave of the Patriarchs, where my father and grandfather are buried. That’s what Yaacov told his children when his death approached in Egypt. Even though he could have been buried like a king in a fantastic pyramid in Goshen, he made his sons swear to take him out of Egypt and bury him in Israel.

Don't bury me in America!

Our Sages give several explanations for this:

*If a Jew dies in the Diaspora, in order to be resurrected in the future, he or she will have to roll to Israel through painful underground tunnels, something that Yaacov wished to avoid.

*He knew that Hashem would strike the land of Egypt with terrible plagues and he didn’t want his body to get smashed in the barrage of insects, vermin, and hail.

*He didn’t want his burial crypt in Egypt to be turned into a shrine of idol worship.

But his main reason was:

***He wanted his children to know that their real home was the Land of Israel and not Egypt. He was afraid that if he was buried in Egypt, his children and grandchildren would always stay in Egypt, whether with the true desire to be close to his grave, or with the excuse that “How can we leave Egypt and leave our dead father behind?” He wanted to express his contempt for the Diaspora, with the statement that he didn’t even want to be buried there, let alone live there! He knew that his children had already settled comfortably down in the foreign land, sinking into the deviant mores of Egyptian culture, and that assimilation was just around the corner.

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Thus he made it known for all time, for all of his descendants, that Eretz Yisrael is the homeland of the Jews and not the Diaspora.

The stories in the Torah about the lives of our holy Forefathers are lessons for us.

Shavuah tov!