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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Ekev

Parashat Ekev

Living Spiritually - Meriting Long Life

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A basic natural instinct of every human being is to strive to live as long as possible. Since the beginning of time, people have channeled much of their energies into discovering the secret formula for long life. According to Jewish tradition, living in the land of Israel is a key to longevity. The verse at the end of Parashat Eikev states (Devarim 11:21): "That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which God has promised to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth." Longevity is promised to those who live in Eretz Israel.

It is for this reason that R. Yochanan could not understand how there could be people outside the land of Israel who merited long life. He asked his students in disbelief whether it was really true that there were elderly Jews in Chutz La’Aretz. When they answered in the affirmative, he questioned how could that be since the Torah promises long life only to those who live in Eretz Israel. When R. Yochanan heard that the Jews in Chutz La’Aretz wake up early in the morning to go to synagogue and come home only late at night after having completed their prayers, he understood. R. Yochanan said that these Jews merit long life because they attend the synagogue services.

Why does living in Eretz Israel lead to long life? Residents of Eretz Israel who experience the Shechina every moment find it easier to maximize their spiritual potential. One who maximizes spiritual potential merits longevity. People living outside Eretz Israel who want long life must also strive to live a spiritual existence. This is much more difficult outside the land of Israel where the Divine Presence is not felt as strongly. Only by going to synagogue twice a day are they able to boost their spiritual existence and merit long life.

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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
Email: aloh-naaleh@israelcenter.co.il

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