Devarim 2021 Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס"ד
Discover the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
“I have set the Land before you – come and conquer the Land….”
The name of the book we begin this week is commonly called Dvarim, which means words or speech. Indeed, the majority of this book is comprised of the speech of Moshe Rabeinu to Israel. Rabbi Tzadok of Lublin (Pri Tzadik II, R”H Shvat 6) learns from the Zohar (Z”H III 261a) that this book is the source of the Oral Tradition – Torah Shba’al Peh, which was originally meant to be only spoken and not written. There is a power in the spoken tongue that is not with the written. When speaking, the words are imbibed in one’s essence, and also listening to the words from the one speaking them causes them to be internalized in a unique way that is not so when reading from a document; therefore, dear reader, if you wish that the words we present in our divrei Torah be internalized in a greater way, our recommendation is to read them out loud to yourselves, your friends, or your family members, and may the blessing of Hashem be with you.
These days are days of yearning – yearning for the greater redemption of Zion, yearning for the ingathering of exiles, yearning for the building of Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash, yearning for the full return of the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land. The truth is that what we yearn for is really very close to us, as the Gemara states in Sanhedrin (98a) that Mashiach can come today – “if you listen to His (Hashem’s) voice.” Indeed, this title quote expresses the immediacy of being able to bring the People to come and conquer the Land – “See,” Hashem tells us, “I have set the Land before you – come and conquer the Land….”
Unfortunately, however, as we see later in this parsha, this promise did not take effect immediately because of the sin of the spies, the forerunner of many tragic events that occured on Tisha Bav. What is the primary cause of this sin, according to our parsha? “And on this matter, you do not have faith in Hashem Your God…” (Devarim 1:32). Rashi explains that “this matter” means “that He (Hashem) promises to bring You to the Land.”
In other words, the source of this sin was the lack of faith that God indeed wants our People to come to the Land and that indeed He will help us come and conquer it. It is this specific lack of faith that our Sages point to as the source of all the painful events rooted to Tisha Bav and exile from the Holy Land – “you cried for no reason, so I will cause you to cry for generations” (Taanit 29a). The rectification of this outlook is subsequently mentioned, and that is the contemplation of Hashem’s Providence upon us: “That He walks before you on the path to show you a place to encamp, etc.”(Devarim 1:33)
It is by this contemplation that we instill within ourselves the faith that Hashem is really always with us and that we should go forward, “without fear” (Devarim 1:21), to settle the Holy Land and revive the power of the Holy Presence therein.
“To go forward without fear” is echoed in a halachic sense in the laws of combat in conquering the Land of Israel (or saving Israel from foes): “Once a soldier enters the throes of battle, he should rely on the Hope of Israel and their Savior in times of need. He should realize that he is fighting for the sake of the oneness of God’s Name. Therefore, he should place his soul in his hand and not show fright or fear” (Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 7:15). According to the Yerushalmi in Moed Katan, “conquering” the Land and settling/regaining the Land are very similar concepts. Thus, to a similar extent, we are called to be brave and settle our Land without fear, despite all who oppose us.
Here we may salute the brave settlers of Hebron for the courageous spirit that is with them (as said about Calev). May we all be instilled with this faith and courage befitting the Holy Presence that “walks” in our midst (see Devarim 23:15).
Real Miracles: From the Six-Day War:
The night is long and continuous and does not come to an end, the night of death. (M) We feared that here – this time we would suffer many, costly losses – – in the morning light – and the battle was still going on. The Egyptian shelling continued, and our attacks on them continued. After heavy apprehension throughout the night — until the end of the battle at about ten o’clock in the morning — it finally became clear to us that we had destroyed 24 Egyptian tanks, compared to the loss of one of our tanks.
“Through the Mitla” p. 54 The story of Yishka