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Beit Midrash Jewish Laws and Thoughts Foundations of Faith

Chapter 27

27. The Preeminence of the Land of Israel

The relationship is reciprocal. The special quality of the land of Israel cannot be manifest without the Jewish people settled thereupon. Similarly, the people of Israel are unable to express their great qualities unless settled in their land.
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After numerous discussions between the Khazar king and the Rabbi, wherein the the king became exposed to the foundations of the Jewish faith, he decided to convert.
Foundations of Faith (50)
Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
26 - 26. This World and the World to Come
27 - 27. The Preeminence of the Land of Israel
28 - 28. Expression of the Land's Preeminence
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We recall that initially the Khazar King was repeatedly visited in his dreams by a voice which told him, "Your intentions are desirable, but your actions are not." Because of this message the king began to search amongst many religions for the true and correct path. Finally, he reached the conclusion that the God of Israel is the true God, the faith of Israel the true faith. God is one, the King of the entire universe is the God of Israel, and He chose Israel from all of the nations and gave them the Torah. They are the Chosen People. This recognition is what caused the king of the Khazars to convert. Furthermore, it prompted him to bring his own people close to the Torah of Israel. He did this with much success, such that after his own secret conversion he drew his entire nation to the faith of Israel, to the point where they were all proselytized, as testified to by the history books.

The Khazar king realized that such a superlative faith, a faith that ascends and climbs to infinite heights, reaching the realm of the impenetrable – such a faith could not be bequeathed to all. It could be granted to but a select few who had merited a unique God-given genius, a genius for prophecy. The King understood that the Jewish people were just such a people. He understood that this was why the Almighty gave the Torah to the Jewish people alone and did not present it to all of humanity.

After the king had absorbed all of this, the Rabbi taught him an additional important foundation of the Jewish faith. In the same vein that the Jewish people are preeminent, the land of Israel is preeminent. It is a unique land wherein the Divine presence is more apparent than any other location in the world.

This was a ground-shaking concept for the king. He questioned the Rabbi: "What possible difference could their be between one land and another?"

The Rabbi answered: "Every region in the world has its own unique qualities. These qualities are manifest in the regions' vegetation, animal life, and human nature. The qualities of a location, then, make themselves manifest in whatever and whoever subsists in that place. Every region has its own character. The nature of the soil, air, etc. of a given place effect all those who inhabit it. Accordingly, we find that certain animals thrive in one area while they are unable to exist at all in another.

"On a spiritual realm, too, we find that places have varying significance – and the Land of Israel has been graced with a unique spiritual climate, for it is there that the Divine presence rests."

The King of the Khazars said: "I have not heard that the inhabitants of Israel have any advantage over anyone else in the world."

The Rabbi replied. "Of course not, for the appropriate people are absent from the land. Therefore, the land's preeminence is unable to find outward expression. When, however, the Jewish people reside in the land of Israel and behave in the appropriate manner, the land reveals its unique character. The special quality of the land of Israel cannot be manifest without the Jewish people settled thereupon. Similarly, the people of Israel are unable to express their great qualities unless settled in the land of Israel.

Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh Yeshiva of the Bet El Yeshiva, was the head of the Yesha rabbis board and rabbi of Bet-El, founder and head of Arutz 7.
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