This is my land?
צילום: פלאש90

Trigger warning: unpopular idea ahead. We hear lots of speeches, especially this month in Israel, about the Jewish people’s “right to the Land.” On Independence Day, on Jerusalem Day and, in fact, all of the time, politicians speak about our unquestionable right over this place. And they are correct. But if you read this week’s Torah Portion (BaHar), you will notice that it doesn’t talk about our right over the land, but rather, mainly, about our obligation towards the Land. It’s not easy to internalize this fact, but this Land belongs to us only if we behave properly in it. “For the land is Mine; for you are strangers and settlers with Me,” the Torah Portion reminds us. The Land is not ours, but rather belongs to the One who created it. Our Sages of Blessed Memory give us good advice regarding the Land of Israel: “Do not consider yourself to be the most important thing.” In other words, we have to let go, rest from creative work (on Shabbat), avoid tilling the land, and forgive debts (in the Seventh year) and make sure that we behave according to the codes and instructions that this special place demands. Our values, culture, language, education all have to be on the proper level. Elsewhere, our Sages write that it is as if G-d is telling us: “When you will be Mine – it (the Land) will be yours.” That is, our attitude towards that Land of Israel is not supposed to be a possessive one: “I am entitled to it.” But rather an attitude of “I hope to be deserving of it.”

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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