Beit Midrash

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Sukkot
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicatedin the memory of

R. Avraham ben-tziyon ben shabtai

Sukkot: The Connection between Am Yisrael and Jerusalem

Sukkot - the redemption of the nation


Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

Tishrey 5755
The holiday Sukkot expresses our deep connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. However, this idea does not coincide well with the present political process of relinquishing parts of Eretz Yisrael and Jerusalem. A handful among the religious population also follows this path of giving away the land in order to acquire peace. They believe that the time is not ripe for demanding our rights to all of the land. For now, they say, it is incumbent upon us to concede parts of Israel for the sake of pikuach nefesh (saving an endangered life) and with the arrival of the complete redemption everything will change and all will recognize our divine right to our homeland. An even smaller G-d-fearing minority believe that we must give up the land not only because of pikuach nefesh, but also because we are commanded by the Torah to be moral and humanitarian. They also agree that in the future, when the full redemption comes, Hashem will return to us our whole country, including Jerusalem and the Temple. At that time, if Hashem guides us through his true and righteous prophet, then we will conquer the country, expel our enemies, rebuild the Temple and fulfill the word of Hashem just as our wise sages and prophets have promised. Until then, they say, Hashem directs us to concede and compromise the land.

An intelligent person would understand, however, that such an agreement to give up the land is not correct or truthful. It is only a temporary situation. At the same time that these agreements to compromise and hand over our holy land are being considered, those who believe in such concessions offer prayers to Hashem requesting a quick redemption-soon, in our days. And it is expected that Hashem will immediately answer these prayers and bring on the redemption. It is hard to believe that a non-Jew who understands the deep, true desires of our people to thrive within our whole land- be it in the present or in the future, will respect our agreement to give him parts of the land. He will see that in our hearts we do not really believe in compromising Israel or Jerusalem or the Temple Mount. It is improbable that he will understand our explanations that the redemption we speak of is on a different, higher and loftier plain, in the distant future, when everything will be different.

More likely the non Jew will disbelief and distrust our declarations as not being straightforward. For at the same time these concessions are being discussed those who agree to give up the land are celebrating the holiday of Sukkot, upon which we hold the lulav in memory of our destroyed Temple and in hopes of seeing it rebuilt in the near future as Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai instructed us. On Sukkot we also celebrate simchat bet hashova in memory of the Beit Mikdash and its future return to us. And on Sukkot the masses go up to Jerusalem and to the Western Wall to pray for the speedy rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash and our ability to worship there. All these celebrations are not nostalgic adventures connecting us to our distant past, rather they are preparation for the future. They are deep and strong expectations for the renewal of our days as they were once.

Where is the value in all this talk about giving away the land in order to acquire peace? Even the promises of the left wingers, who do not follow the Torah and have left their traditions, cannot be depended on in this regard. Many of them return to the Torah and over time the number of those who are newly religious is multiplying and soon will be the majority. Then situation will change. The non-Jews are correct in their misgivings, because this is what truthfully will happen. Am Yisrael will return to their roots (with Hashem's help) and rebuild the Temple. Thus, there is no value to all the talk of agreements and compromises that contradict the truth and the true desires that are in the hearts and the souls of the Jewish people. Therefore, it is preferable to be straightforward and frank and to say with a full heart that this is our country and we have no permission or right to give it away. We have no desire or willingness to part with it. The only possible peace is, therefore, peace without concessions of our homeland.
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