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The Significance Of Eretz Yisroel (And Golus) In Judaism

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#1 Rabbi Shapiro

Rabbi Shapiro


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Posted 18 May 2012 - 03:50 PM

In order to understand the great significance Eretz Yisroel plays in the Torah, we need some background on the very fundamentals of Judaism.

The purpose of the entire world is for us to do Mitzvos, thereby meriting the Final Paradise (Olam Habah) which is what the world will be when Moshiach comes.

Currently, Hashem cannot (kavyochol) send Moshiach, the reason being the world is not ready for it. That means not only the people, but the very world itself. The world is much too unspiritual now, to be able to exist in the atmosphere of spiritual energy that Moshiach will bring. In a nutshell, if Moshiach would come now, it would be like being nuked.

Our job, given to us by Hashem, is to condition ourselves and the world, raising it to a sufficient level of spirituality that it will be ready and fitting for the spiritual energy of Acharis HaYamim (i.e. the post Messianic era).

We do this by performing Mitzvos and learning Torah. The spiritual energy generated by Torah and Mitzvos sanctifies the world, raising it higher and higher until it reaches the point where it is ready for Moshiach.

To assist us in this task, Eretz Yisroel was designed in a very specific spiritual way. It was imbued with a "sensitivity" to every act of spiritual significance done within its territory, and, through the medium of the Bais HaMikdash and the service done therein, directs that energy throughout the world, thus sanctifying every inch of it, conditioning it for Acharis HaYamim.

You can say that the acts of the Jews provide the energy, and Eretz Yisroel provides the conduit, the arteries that connect the energy generated by us throughout the world. The Bais Hamikdash directed that energy outwward.

Eretz Yisroel also has the ability to amplify the energy of any act of spiritual significance done within its borders. So not only does EY provide the conduit to sanctify the world, it also enhances the spiritual energy that we generate at the same time, making the process of sanctifying the world more expedient.

(NOTE: The above applies not only to Mitzvos, but to aveiros as well. Because of this amplification power of EY, any Mitzvah done in EY is greater than an equal Mitzvah done in Chutz La'Aretz, AND aveirah done in Eretz Yisroel is worse than an equal aveirah done in Chutz LaAretz.

Thus, EY is the best place for Tzadikim, and the worst place for Reshayim.

In fact, the land itself, because of its sensitivity to the acts of our souls, is affected by our Mitzvos and Aveiros. When we do Mitzvos in EY we enhance the sanctity of the land. When an aveirah is done in Eretz Yisroel, it pollutes the land, stripping it of its sanctity.)

What was supposed to happen then, is that we would fulfill the Torah in EY until the world would be ready for Acharis HaYamim.

Unfortunately, we messed up. We sinned. And the spiritual energy that was generated was no longer strong enough to sanctify the world. EY is the arteries, but Klall Yisroel provides the blood is the heart. If the heart isn’t pumping, the arteries are useless. Never mind the fact that they get clogged up due to our mistreatment of them.

We were no longer able to do our job from within EY. EY as a homeland no longer served any purpose for the nation. We became too spiritually weak for the land. We were no longer accomplishing our job by being there.

So we went into Golus, to be spread all over the world to MANUALLY sanctify all of it, where previously we were supposed to do it long distance. We lost the ability to use EY to fix the world, but we can do it ourselves, locally, by being all over the world and doing Mitzvos.

Hashem gave us the land ON CONDITION that we keep the Torah. We broke the condition so Hashem took away the land. מפני חטאינו גלינו מארצינו.

Whether there is a Mitzvah for individuals to live in EY during Golus is a disagreement in the Poskim. But everyone agrees that as a nation, we no longer have any homeland.

Jews in Golus are out of their natural environment, which is connected to EY. We have no choice - its the only way to accomplish our mission in this world. But there’s a problem:

The Jewish nation was not designed to live in Golus. We were designed to live as a nation in EY. We have no choice currently because its more important to fulfill our mission in the world, but because we are not on "home ground" we are like a sheep among 70 wolves. In Golus the Goyim have the upper hand - and that includes within the borders of EY also, nowadays that Golus has occurred. In our unnatural state of being, we are like living every day with our head in the mouth of the lion. What are we to do to survive?

Hashem told us. He gave us instructions on how to survive Golus. If we do this, we will survive. If not, death and annihilation await us. To quote Chazal "[G-d will] allow your flesh to be hunted like animals in the field."

The instructions are: Shelo yaal bachomah - Do NOT go back to Eretz Yisroel as a national homeland. You may live there as individuals - maybe even its a Mitzvah to do so - but as a nation, its not yours anymore. You’re in Golus. Do NOT try to fight the Golus. It will not work. Instead, live in it.

Two, Lo l'hisgaros b'umos - Do NOT confront the nations of the world. Be subservient to them, accept their yoke, do their will, do not defy their demands, do not say "NO" to their wishes, and do NOT attract attention to yourselves.

The only way to survive with your head in the lion’s mouth is to make sure the lion does not get annoyed with your head there. As soon as he gets annoyed, its curtains. The best thing you can do is not be noticed.

As Rav Elchonon Waserman put it: To the extent that the nations do not pay attention to us, we are safe. To the extent that we are the focus of attention of the nations, we are in danger.
We are in enemy territory in Golus. Our job is to lay low, accept any casualties that may tragically occur, but wait for Hashem to rescue us. If we defy our orders and make like we are a nation like all nations - with an army, a State, demands, territory etc - we will be left on our own, to be hunted down and killed by the wolves c"v.

Just like an assimilated Jew will be subject to anti-Semitism in order to remind him that he is a Jew - he cant change that - so too the sheep (Jews in Golus) who try to make like a wolf (be a nation among the nations) will be reminded that he is a sheep, and the nations are the wolves. Rachmana Latzlan.

This is the only way for us to accomplish our mission in this world. We brought this upon ourselves. We are behind enemy lines and our job is to lay low and "plant" sparks of holiness around the world so that when Moshiach comes those sparks will erupt in a conflagration of spiritual energy that will bring the Ultimate Victory - Acharis Hayamim.

Eretz Yisroel is holy. It still is holy. But it no longer serves the purpose of a homeland.

Going back to it as a nation - for individuals may (and maybe should) live there, under foreign sovereignty - is like the Jews trying now, to move back into a house the bank forclosed on them years ago. Two thousand years ago. We had a choice, then. We chose sinas chinam over Eretz Yisroel and the Landlord kicked us out. And now we wander like sheep. The solution is to lay low until the Shepherd comes and blows our enemies away.