And the dove came to him at eventide and in her mouth was an olive leaf freshly plucked; so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. Genesis 8:11
From where did the dove bring the olive leaf? Rabbi Levi son of Kahana says from Eretz Yisrael; Rabbi Levi says from the Mount of Olives. For the Land of Israel was not flooded in the deluge. (Midrash Rabba)
Following are comments of my saintly teacher, Rabbi Mordechai Rogov which elucidate the Midrash:
The olive leaf brought back to Noah carried with it the good tidings that the Flood waters had receded from the earth. With the end of the Flood, a new world would be built. This symbol came specifically from the Holy Land. The message was that there was a small corner of the earth which was unaffected by the Flood, a place where plants continued to blossom and trees produce there fruit. The olive leaf announced to Noah that there was a spot on the planet which was saved from the ravages of the Flood, a spot free from the impurities and degradation of the generation of the Flood. It is from this pure place that rebirth and rectification will come to the entire world. The Holy Land will be the place where the cornerstone will be set for a new and better world.
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