Saturday, January 18, 2014

This Land Is Ours

As we know, Rashi opens up his commentary on the Torah by quoting a Rabbi Yitzhak who explains that the reason the Torah begins by retelling the creation of the world and not with the very first commandment in Exodus, that of the New Moon, for after all, the Torah is a book of law and ritual, is to clarify that the Jewish people's right to the promised land as God, having created the world, apportioned one part of it to the Jews. In doing so, any counterclaims from the nations based on conquest or history are thereby thwarted:

In the beginning: Said Rabbi Isaac: It was not necessary to begin the Torah except from “This month is to you,” (Exod. 12:2) which is the first commandment that the Israelites were commanded, (for the main purpose of the Torah is its commandments, and although several commandments are found in Genesis, e.g., circumcision and the prohibition of eating the thigh sinew, they could have been included together with the other commandments). Now for what reason did He commence with “In the beginning?” Because of [the verse] “The strength of His works He related to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations” (Ps. 111:6). For if the nations of the world should say to Israel, “You are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],” they will reply, "The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it (this we learn from the story of the Creation) and gave it to whomever He deemed proper When He wished, He gave it to them, and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us.

However, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe pointed out, there is an internal contradiction for how can we expect the nations of the world to believe what is written in the Bible?  After all, they weren't given the Torah.

As we now learned, even UNESCO won't sponsor an exhibit in participated in:

UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova told the Simon Wiesenthal Center that the decision arose out of UNESCO’s support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  She said, “We have a responsibility in ensuring that current efforts in this regard are not endangered,” according to The Jewish Chronicle.
and that is because the Arabs claim we have no connection to the Land of Israel, for we are "robbers".

Moreover, as the Rebbe continues, even if the nations disagree what do we care?  Will that alter our belief in the Torah and what it informs us?

And he concludes that the commentary was intended not for non-Jews but for ... Jews. 

We need to be reminded that indeed this is our land.  And no one else has an equal claim based on history, religion, law and culture and surely not any better claim.

But some of us lose confidence in our right to this land.  And they need to be reminded.

And so, I remind you - we are not thieves, nor colonialists or any foreign interloper.  Our connection with this land, all of it, is long, deep and consistent.

This land is ours.



NormanF said...



I'd think you'd be tempted to slap Moshe Ya'alon silly for having apologized.

For telling the truth? It needs no defense. And Israel owes no explanation to the likes of Kerry and Bokova for its national rights in its own land!

They are self-evident.

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