Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Masei
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of

Yaakov Ben Behora

Parashat Masei

Inherit the Land!


Rabbi Steven Ettinger

The weekly messages in this column promoting Israel and aliyah, like the parashot themselves, are both sweet and inspiring. The Shabbat of Mas’ei, heralding the infamous Nine Days, is, however, a starker time.

According to the Ramban, a verse in Mas’ei (33:53) serves as the source for the mitzvah to live in Eretz Israel (33:53). That verse is followed almost immediately by the warning in verse 55: "But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land before you, those of whom you leave shall be pins in your eyes and thorns in your side; they will harass you upon the Land in which you dwell."

The Talmud (Sotah 34a) relates that right before entering the land, Yehoshua addressed the Jewish People as follows: "Be aware that you are crossing the Jordan only on the condition that you expel the inhabitants from the land." The Torah Temimah explains that Yehoshua read the Israelites the verses from Mas’ei so that they clearly understood the terms of their "legally binding" contract with God - maintaining the land is absolutely conditioned on driving away its current inhabitants!

If we had 2 million, not 200,000, living on the land God gifted to us in 1967, the previous inhabitants would no longer be there to, as the Midrash Hagadol warns, "in the end harass you and rejoice in your misfortune." Likewise, the events originally scheduled for Tishah B'Av this year could never have become the newest addition to the litany of Jewish misery. If we want to reverse this course, we must simply fulfill our side of the contract and make aliyah!

This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
Aloh Na'aleh POB 4337, Jerusalem 91042
Tel: 972-2-566-1181 ext. 320 ~ Fax: 972-2-566-1186
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