Staying in this good Land

צילום: רקפת בן-ישי
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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

We are on vacation up north. Together with millions of others. I heard someone say yesterday that there have never been so many Israelis in Israel at one time. Every summer hordes of Israelis fly abroad but now they are all here. In addition, since the beginning of the corona crisis, 200,000 Israelis living abroad have returned. So it’s really packed right now in our shared little home, there is not a single bed and breakfast accommodation available, but the feeling is still very special.

As we look around us and see the beautiful sights, we read during these days in Sefer Devarim (Deuteronomy) the regret of Moshe Rabbeinu: “For I will die in this land; I will not cross the Jordan. You, however, will cross, and you will possess this good land”. Moshe Rabbeinu prayed and pleaded, yet did not have the privilege to enter this land and live here. But we do have this privilege.

Moshe was allowed only to gaze at the land from a distance when he spoke to us in these words: “For the Lord your God is bringing you to a good land, a land with brooks of water, fountains and depths that emerge in valleys and mountains, a land of wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil producing olives and honey”.

It’s easy to forget the beauty of this Land when you are stuck in traffic or waiting in line this August, but everyone should still look around for just a moment at the natural landscape and enjoy the panoramic views and remember: for thousands of years Jews read these passages, looked out their windows, and saw the landscape of Syria or Russia. We are still reading these passages today, but when we look out of our windows we have the privilege of seeing this good Land.

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