Rav Kook points out that just as most of the tree is roots, trunk, branches and leaves, despite the fact that the goal is the fruit, similarly most of life is preparations (e.g. eating, dress, work, cooking, raising children), and often one doesn't even achieve his goal. Does that mean that he wasted his life?! The basic question is, if most of life is "tree", and I want to have meaning in life, I have no choice but to find a way to have "taste" in the tree, not just in the fruit. This was the original plan in Eden, and is meant to be the ideal lifestyle, as expressed in the Etrog where the tree tastes like her fruit. Eretz Yisrael is likened to Sukkot, where even the secular/mundane/"tree" has meaning/taste/holiness, and it's all a mitzva.
We saw last time that Israel has those who celebrate with fire the light of Torah and others who sit around bonfires to emulate non-religious pioneers. We looked to unify the two, which we will get to this week.
Shemitta, with which our parasha opens, is one of the land-based mitzvot, which give expression to the sanctity of the Land of Israel in comparison to other lands. Rav Kook (Shabbat Ha’aretz, intro. to ch. 15) cited the Radbaz’s question: If the pre-Shemitta sale of the land to non-Jews eliminates the Land’s sanctity in regard to Shemitta, how can one fulfill the mitzva of living in the Land? Rav Kook answered that the Land’s sanctity is not a result of the possibility to fulfill the mitzvot related to it. Rather, the kedusha of the Land and the mitzva to live in it exist even when laws such as Shemitta do not apply. The gemara (Chagiga 5a) posits that exile of the Nation of Israel from its Land caused the greatest undoing of the Torah. Just as with the greatness of Torah, the basic level exists independently of the ability to fulfill the mitzvot commanded in it, so too the Land of Israel maintains its core value even if certain of its mitzvot are not in force.
The attitude of Jews towards the Land of Israel has always been a litmus-paper type of test of Jewish commitment and even faith throughout the ages.
Living in the Land of Israel or at least visiting it regularly is currently the centerpiece of Jewish life, its faith and its future.
The key to helping American Jews counter assimilation and alienation from Judaism is having them feel more Jewish – in establishing a strong sense of Jewish self-identity within themselves and their families. One undeniable fact about at least visiting and hopefully eventually living in the Land of Israel is that it certainly makes one feel more Jewish
Why did G-d create Am Yisrael as a nation and not just a religion? Why, in addition to the mitzvot between individual Jews, and between man and G-d, does the Torah call for a framework of a national land, army, political system, and even coin?
In the previous part,we asked how much does one need to lower their standard of living in order to make Aliya. We asked how much should one spend on Mitzvot and saw a disagreement between the Poskim. We ended saying that Important Mitzvot oblige more expenditure.
In the previous part, we asked how much does one need to lower their standard of living in order to make Aliya. We saw that one should spend up to a fith of his money on Mitzvot and asked if lowering of standard of life is considered a loss of a fifth?
In the previous part, we asked Why did G-d create an Jewish nation in its own land and not just a religion? We brought two reasons from Rav Kook's writings: an established nation can influence the rest of the nations and So that all should know, that not only outstanding individual can live in the light of G-d, but even entire nations can. In this part, we will see three more ideas to answer our question.
How can we understand the rebellion against religion over the past century? What does the world gain spiritually from this rebellion which was foreseen in the mishna 1,800 years ago as part of the period preceding the mashiach? Only after we understand the rebellion can we glean the benefit and relate to our brothers properly.
Why should a Jew make aliya to the Land of Israel? Can't one be a good Jew living in America? This article deals with sources to answer this most basic of questions and will hopefully answer why our Rabbis proclaimed: "Living in the Land of Israel is equated with the rest of the mitzvot combined!"
Only in the Babylonian exile did our manner of relating to the Land of Israel change. Only there did our desire for the land - our longing, hopes, and special behavior - receive expression by the sages, and hence by the nation itself.
Just as the Jewish people never forgot their land and has now returned to it, they will, in the same respect, never forget the Holy Temple and will return to it as well - God willing, speedily in our days
We must fight for the entirety of the Land and the entirety of Torah as one, for they are one and the same. The abandonment of the Land weakens Torah observance and the abandonment of Torah weakens our hold on the Land.