Since 2014, Crown Heights Women for the Safety & Integrity of Israel has been hosting its annual Shleimus HaAretz Conference during the week of Gimmel Tammuz (the date that marks the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Yom Hillula, day of passing). The conference pays tribute to the Rebbe’s leadership and legacy over the decades supporting Shleimus HaAretz – preserving the territorial integrity of Israel to protect Jewish lives – Pikuach Nefesh.
HaRav Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal, zt”l
This year’s keynote speaker was Rabbi Shlomo Teichtel, a Lubavitcher Chassid and grandson of renowned Talmid Chocham and Av Beis Din and Rosh Yeshiva in pre-war Czechoslovakia, Ha Rav Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal, zt”l.
During the war, in 1943 and 1944, HaRav Teichtal found temporary refuge in Budapest. The calamity of the Holocaust impelled him to seek explanations for it which in turn led him to re-examine his prior views on the modern day return to Eretz Yisrael. Relying on his phenomenal memory and keen scholarship, HaRav Teichtal investigated the matter exhaustively, eventually penning a comprehensive work titled Eim HaBanim Semeicha on Eretz Yisrael, Redemption and Unity* – a masterpiece the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, kept out on his desk.
In the Merit of the Holy Land
This past weekend Lubavitcher Chassidim celebrated Yud Tes Kislev commemorating the Alter Rebbe’s (the first Lubavitcher Rebbe) liberation from prison and subsequent blossoming of Chabad Chassidus and inaugural printing of the Tanya.
In his introduction to Eim HaBanim, HaRav Teichtal writes about a letter he came across sent by the Alter Rebbe to the Berditchever Rebbe informing him of his release from prison in Petersburg. The Alter Rebbe writes:
“I shall recount and declare that which is too great to tell. For Hashem has done wondrously in the Land. Who am I, lowly of men, that Hashem has helped me glorify and sanctify His name… This was all Hashem’s doing. He arranged this by virtue of the merit of the Holy Land and its inhabitants. This is what stood by our side and will always assist in relieving us from the oppressor and delivering us from distress.”
HaRav Teichtal writes that from the Alter Rebbe’s holy words, spoken with Ruach HaKodesh, he learned something entirely new: That when a Jew is in trouble, he can be saved through the merit of Eretz Yisrael and its inhabitants!
After much study, HaRAv Teichtal relates that Hashem enlightened him, enabling him to find a source for the Alter Rebbe’s remarks, citing posukim from Parshas BeChukosai:
“I will remember My covenant with Yaakov and also My covenant with Yitzchak and also My covenant with Avraham I will remember, and I will remember the Land.” (VaYikra 26:42).
Rashi comments: Why were the Avos listed in reverse order? To tell us that if Yaakov is not sufficient to bring about the Geula, then Yitzchak will come to help and if Yitzchak is not sufficient then Avraham will come to help.”
HaRav Teichtal explains: “Even if the Avos’ merit has run out, still, ‘I will remember the Land’. We have a "pure" source from the holy Torah itself, that the merit of Eretz Yisrael stands above all other merits and will protect and redeem us in our times of trouble. May our Holy Land arouse mercy upon us so that we soon be redeemed, for we no longer have the strength to endure the pain.”
HaRav Teichtal then vows to “seek out and write of the virtues of Eretz Yisrael, to raise its pride and honor, to demonstrate to everyone our great obligation to build it, to perfect it, to establish it on high and raise it from the dust.”
Raising the Land of Israel out of the dust
Each of us too can help save the Jewish People from further troubles through the merit of Eretz Yisrael by raising high pride and honor, united together, under the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s directives for true peace.
Alongside the Rebbe’s call to increase in Ahavas Yisrael for one another and to strengthen our connection to Torah and Mitzvos, now, more than ever before, is it time to take the Rebbe’s words to heart and raise the Land of Israel out of the dust of schemes that brought us only tears, mourning and the World’s contempt. Let us raise Eretz Yisrael and ourselves up to plans that reap light and gladness, joy and honor.
True peace and security begin, the Rebbe taught, with our own unwavering personal and collective belief that G-d gave us, the Jewish People, the Land of Israel for an eternal inheritance.
Secondly, the Rebbe repeated over and over again that Pikuach Nefesh, protecting Jewish lives, must take precedence over all other considerations. The Rebbe protested against “land for peace” with all his might, saying it was foolhardy and endangered Jewish lives.
The Rebbe implored politicians to heed the advice of military experts who know how best to stop the enemy and keep the country safe.
At the same time, the Rebbe taught us that by strengthening our trust in G-d, we maximize our real power - to the extent that an enemy will not even dare to provoke us - saving their lives as well.
The World is waiting to hear what Israel will do in Gaza once Hamas has been defeated.
We must answer unequivocally that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People and then apply the advice the Rebbe urged Israeli leaders to follow.
In private and in public, the Rebbe called on them to “immediately inhabit all of the territories, especially those most disputed, without delay, in one moment, within the span of a single day – for that is what will protect and save Jewish lives.”
Saying it is “absolutely within the legality of the law” - and how much more so after the horrific pogrom on Simchas Torah, r"l - the Rebbe noted that, “implementation requires no more than two people – the Prime Minister and the official responsible for urban planning.**
By virtue of the merit of Eretz Yisrael, Eretz HaKodesh and its dear inhabitants we will be relieved of the oppressor and delivered from distress, and indeed we will merit the Geula Shleima!
*Translated into English by Rabbi Moshe Lichtman; available on Amazon
**Motzie Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha 1977. The Rebbe speaking from his room in 770 two weeks after suffering a heart attack on Sh'minei Atzeres/Simchas Torah.