The history and voyage of man seems to move forward in two dimensions. There is the dimension that is obvious and visible, and then there is the undercurrent that gives the visible dimension purpose and validity. The subtext of all the political and passionate

Turmoil in the land of Israel can only be understood by being sensitive to the spiritual.

turmoil in the land of Israel can only be understood by being sensitive to the spiritual narrative that runs under the surface. It is that current that moves all things forward, and it is that narrative that gives the events meaning and purpose. Misunderstanding that hidden dimension will make reality incomprehensible and overwhelming.

The Bible describes at length the financial deliberations around the purchase of three locations in the land of Israel. These locations are, the cave of Machpelah in Hebron ("And Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver"; Genesis 23:16), the Temple mount in Jerusalem ("So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold"; Chronicles 24:25), and the tomb of Joseph in Shechem ("And he [Jacob] bought the parcel of ground, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred pieces of money"; Genesis 33:19)

The Midrash Rabbah on Breishit (Genesis) explains that the reason for these lengthy descriptions is to make an eternal and powerful declaration. Rabbi Judah ben Rabbi Shimon, in explaining one of these verses, says that the outlining of the purchase was meant to ensure that the world would know that they belong to the Jewish people forever. It was also an attempt to minimize and forestall the declarations that will eventually come regarding these places from some of the nations. They would say: "You have stolen them."

As was expected, it was these three places that became the major flash points and hot spots in the long embattled history of the Jews in their land. Regardless of the purchase, or perhaps because of it, great effort is being exerted by some to displace the Jewish hold on these exact places. Perhaps it is also because these places - Jerusalem, Hebron and Shechem - represent the greatest signposts of destiny and strength for the Jewish people.

These locations will become the topic of discussion in the upcoming Annapolis summit. The representatives of the world will declare again, "You have stolen them." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has already declared that the creation of a Palestinian state in the Biblical heartland is a key US interest and urged the two sides to drop contentious demands and reach consensus on a substantive joint statement ahead of the international conference.

"The United States sees the establishment of a Palestinian state and a two-state solution as absolutely essential for the future, not just of Palestinians and Israelis, but also for the Middle East and indeed to American interests,” Rice said. The Secretary of State met recently with Jimmy Carter. She has also spoken by phone with former President Bill Clinton about his work, as well as with James Baker and other wonderful friends of the land of Israel.

Jerusalem, Hebron and Shechem represent the greatest signposts of destiny and strength.

Even if one completely ignores the spiritual subtext, the establishment of a Palestinian state at this time is nothing less than foolhardy and dangerous. The establishment of a hostile Arab state within miles of Israel's major cities eclipses the Jewish state's vital warning time for a potential invasion and the minimum space its reserves require for mobilization. It opens up a front that starts ten miles from Tel Aviv and reaches 1,000 miles deep across the Arabian Peninsula to Teheran. For the West in general, and the United States in particular, a Palestinian state also represents a folly motivated by wishful thinking. It will simply add another militaristic and dangerous terrorist state that will eventually turn their messianic Islamic fury against the West. Furthermore, the creation of such a state will only serve to imprison the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria under the tyrannical rule of petty thugs and terrorists.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, regrettably, lost his historic vision a very long time ago. His vision regarding the people of Israel has been replaced by his vision for himself and those of his friends. He is poorly equipped to deal with the claims and demands of the nations of the world. Prime Minister Olmert seriously needs to be reminded of that sense of destiny and inner strength that is such an integral part of the Jewish people's spiritual makeup. Without that reminder, he is destined for failure in his upcoming meetings with these representatives of the world.

Joshua and Calev of the Bible had to deal with similar people of limited vision. We can understand how Joshua, being blessed by G-d, had the courage to stand against them. Yet, one must wonder where Calev received the vision and courage to stand against those people of weakened faith. The answer is found in the verses describing the entrance of the spies into the Land of Israel: "And they went up into the south, and he came unto Hebron." (Numbers 13:22)

The spies enter into the land together, but it seems that only one singular individual takes a detour to Hebron and to the Cave of his forefathers. That individual was Calev. It was in that location that he was filled with the "different spirit" (ruach acheret) that impassioned him and gave him the courage stand against all that came against him.

On this Shabbat, the Torah portion of Chayei-Sarah describes the purchase of the tract of land that contained the Machpelah cave in Hebron. Tens of thousands of Israelis from all parts of the land will spend this Shabbat in the Biblical city of Hebron. They will pray

Misunderstanding that hidden dimension will make reality incomprehensible.

together, dance together and become impassioned together. They will come away with a clearer vision, a stronger sense of faith and be filled with even more courageous spirits. Prime Minister Olmert would do well to spend this Shabbat in Hebron, as well. He most probably will not, and will therefore meet the leaders of the world and crumble before their gaze.

Olmert will arrive in Annapolis as an individual filled with a vision of self. He will not be aided by the collective consciousness of the people he was meant to represent. As a result, he will falter at Annapolis. The Jewish people whom Olmert claims to represent, though, are thankfully far stronger than the failures of Israel's own leadership. It is that strength and different spirit that will be celebrated in Hebron on this Shabbat.

May it be HaShem's will that this "different spirit" will wash over this land and touch the souls of all faithful people around the world.