Not to be a nation like all other nations

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Rav Adin Steinsaltz – known for the Steinsaltz Talmud and his contemporary writings on Judaism – is hospitalized in serious condition. Here is something he wrote about this week’s Torah portion:

“After surviving life in the desert, the greatest danger facing us upon entering the Land of Israel was that we should become a normal nation. Suddenly life would revolve around working the earth, harvesting crops, and the Jubilee year. Military victories and economic abundance might create a feeling of self-satisfaction that would cause us to forget our connection with Hashem. Confusion would then arise regarding our uniqueness as the Nation of Israel and lead to a temptation to be like all the other nations.

Therefore, in parashat Ekev alongside the many praises of the Land of Israel and a list of its seven sustaining plant species, Moshe emphasizes that we will be living in Israel under Divine Providence. ‘It’s a Land that the Lord your God looks after continuously’ and also ‘the eyes of the Lord your God are upon it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.’ We will never be able to build just one more country on this Land. We are here conditionally and with a purpose. For emphasis in this parasha, Moshe Rabbeinu repeats: the Land of Israel is a beautiful and wonderful gift but very very sensitive and delicate. We are obligated to take care of her properly.”

Dedicated for the speedy recovery of Rav Adin ben Rivkah Leah.

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