9 Nissan 5768
Parashat Achrei Mot & Pesach
Written by the rabbi
"Do not perform the practices of the land of Canaan to which I bring you…"
The Kli Yakar has an interesting take on these words. A person may think that if God chose the Land of Israel for the Jewish people then the Land has God’s " Plumbe "
( a lead seal vouching for the Kashrut of an item ) , and by bringing us here we have carte blanche to do with the Land as we, the chosen of God, see fit. But is that true?
As a child I remember coming to Israel , walking into a restaurant and asking "Is this kosher?" Invariably, someone nearby would say, "You’re in Israel now, everything is kosher."
As a naive child, I was able to accept that everything is kosher in the Land of Israel . But, the Kli Yakar says, the Torah is warning us that though the holiness of the Land inspires us, makes us feel pure and holy, we need to ask ourselves, do we inspire it, do we make it kosher?
Yaacov Peterseil is the Director of Simcha Publishing Company and calls Jerusalem "home."
On Pesach, besides celebrating the fact that our ancestors were freed from brutal slavery, we celebrate the birth of the Jewish people. The prophet Yechezkel refers to the exodus from Egypt as the birthday of the Jewish nation, "the day that you were born" (Yechezkel 16:4). Along with our release from the shackles of bondage placed upon us in Egypt, our collective existence was broadened as we gained the new status of "Am Yisrael."
It is for this reason that within the context of the retelling of the story of the exodus, the wicked son is seen as a blasphemer because he separates himself from the nation of Israel - "since he removed himself from the collective, he has denied God ". The Jew who removes himself from the Jewish nation simultaneously removes himself from the Master of the World.
While, in fact, our departure from Egypt marked the beginning of the formation of the Jewish nation, the Maharal of Prague explains (Netiv Hatzedaka, Chapter 6) that true "arevut" - mutual responsibility of every Jew for every other Jew - was only achieved when we crossed the Jordan River and entered into Eretz Israel. It is only here in Eretz Israel that we are able to reach our full potential as an interconnected and unified nation.
"Ata echad, ve'shimcha echad, umi ke'amcha Yisrael goy echad ba'aretz"
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