Ki Tavo 2021 Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס"ד
Discovering the Holy Presence in The Holy Land
This parsha opens with a passage about the first fruits of the Holy Land with which we are commanded to be happy before God at the Temple, as it says at the end of the passage concerning bikurim, “and you shall be happy with all the good that Hashem your God has given you.” Also the end of this parsha, in the context of the curses that befall Israel when not keeping the Torah, says that these curses will come “due to [the fact] that you did not serve Hashem with joy in [times] of plentitude.” The result of this is exile from the Land and the dire effects of exile and its curses. Indeed, we have shown before that the Holy Land is the Land of Joy, and the lack of joy in the service of Hashem leads to exile from this Land, and joy brings one to a deep connection to this Land as seen in the passage of the First Fruits in this parsha. The Or Hahaim (Dvarim 26, 1-2) says that the opening word of this parsha, “Vehaya,” connotes joy as our Sages say in Bereshit Raba 42, 3. The Or Hahaim continues: “Therefore, this teaches that it is befitting to rejoice only upon the settlement of the Land of Israel, as it says “then [at the return to Zion] our mouths will be filled with laughter” (Tehilim 126, 2). As explained at length by the famous rabbinic figure of Hebron, Rabbi E. Di Viddash, the Reshit Chochma, happiness is especially linked to the attribute of loving Hashem. Simply put, when one loves Hashem, one feels a closeness to Him (in contrast to feeling awe, where one feels hierarchical distance), causing one to take note of and rejoice with all the Providence Hashem has bestowed upon him and upon the world at large. The Land of Israel is the Land of Providence, where all may feel this special closeness to Hashem!
Here’s another connection between the beginning and end of this parsha – We are commanded to “bring the first fruits to the House of Hashem Your God” (Shemot 34:26). The Torah’s commandment about first fruits [as well as Shmita year coming soon] is dependent on the presence of the majority of worldwide Jewry in the Land (see Rambam, Hilchot Terumot 1:26). It is by our presence as a People in the Land in general, as exemplified by the first fruits, and at the Beit HaMikdash specifically, that it is clear to the nations that our connection to the Land stems from our covenant with God concerning mitzvot and devotion to His Holy Presence, and that in turn the power of the Holy Presence is greatened with our presence. Thus, the nations cease to covet our Land, as the Torah states explicitly in regard to pilgrimage to the Temple on the three festivals. It is then that they then realize that it is God who created them and that it is He who desires our presence in His Holy Land. Then, they will not wish Israel to be exiled from the Land but, on the contrary, will desire Israel’s presence in the Land greatly.
This connection to our Holy Land is especially achieved through Hebron, Beacon of our Holy Land, the first settlement of our People in the Land of Joy!
Real Stories from the Holy Land:
In fact, Captain Danny did not know from the outset that he was creating the historic encounter between the vast Soviet tank and the humbler American Patton, confronting not one or two, but 22 Stalin Soviet Tanks. Only six qualified Pattons were at Danny’s command. The first bullets of the Pattons didn’t even scratch the mighty shell of the Stalins’ armor. Suddenly Danny noticed that one of the Stalin’s was on fire, this fact surprised him quite a bit. He saw that it was the Stalin fuel tanks that were damaged… In the blink of an eye, Danny ordered his men to fire explosive projectiles and point them at the Stalin fuel tanks. It turned out that the Egyptians installed external fuel tanks aboard the tank, which should help the tank reach the battlefront, and they were supposed to be disconnected and thrown from the tank deck before entering battle. For one reason or another, the Egyptian crews did not cut off the additional external tanks, and they remained aboard the mighty tank even during the battle. Within a few minutes, there were 12 Stalins burning. Danny’s men lit seven Stalins one by one, ultimately decimating the enemy tank force. Source: Affairs-Heroism” Stalin and Danny / S. Tevet