Nitzavim 2021 Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס"ד
Discovering the Holy Presence in The Holy Land
And You Shall Return
In a few days the Shmita year will commence. Although there are many laws that pertain to the manner of agriculture and loans during the Shemitta year, we do not see any changes in our regular prayers during this year as with regard to Shabbat and festivals. This is not the case with regard to tikun chatzot. Tikun Rachel, one of the two sections that comprise tikun chatzot, is omitted during the entire Shemitta year in the Land of Israel. In this section, one is meant to weep and mourn the Exile of the Holy Presence. The reason for the omission of tikun Rachel throughout the Shemitta year according to the Arizal is that the Holy Presence is in a significantly better state throughout the Shemitta year, and it is not befitting to mourn in such a way at this time of spiritual elevation. On the other hand, tikun Leah, which continues to be said during the Shemitta year, is for the most part much more upbeat, and focuses less on the mourning aspects of seeking the Holy Presence. We should also note that “Rachel” and “Leah” in these contexts refer to different states of the Holy Presence, sometimes called Rachel and sometimes Leah, as Rachel and Leah displayed different character traits that are “characteristic,” so-to-speak, of different types of revelations of the Holy Presence.
This parsha highlights the connection between the return to the Land of Israel and the return to Hashem through Teshuva in “Parshat HaTeshuva”, which talks about the ingathering of exiles to the Holy Land and the repentance that will occur with this event. This connection is obvious when we understand that the return to the Land of Israel is the return to the Holy Presence which rests in this Holy Land.
This Shmita year the return of Israel to the Holy Land is especially poignant, since we are taught that the more Jews return to this Land the more we are closer to a Biblically mandated [Deoraita] Shmita, which is partially dependent on the majority of worldwide Jewry living in the Land. Our Sages also say that when Israel return to the Land the Holy Presence also returns to the Land. Also as we explained above, during Shmita year the Holy Presence is “returning” to its proper place, leaving its Ëxile”we so much bemoan throughout regular years.
We have noted in earlier discussions how the Arizal compares the concept of “Zion” with Hebron and “Jerusalem” with Jerusalem itself. The Arizal also links the revelation of the Holy Presence referred to in tikun Rachel to Hebron, while tying the revelation of “Leah” to Jerusalem. In this way, we see that Hebron receives special elevation during the Shemitta year when tikun Rachel is omitted, for this year is the “Shabbat of the Land – a Shabbat for Hashem.”
From the month of Elul till Hoshana Raba, we say after our prayers Tehilim 27, which says: “If only I could believe to see the goodness of Hashem in the Land of the Living.” The words “If only” – Luleh – spell out “Elul” in opposite order. Sometimes we enter the atmosphere of Elul in opposite order, i.e by first experiencing the tribulations of life which awaken us to the spirit of return to HaShem. Nevertheless, whatever the order, the light of return will come and will redeem us and our People to realize the “Land of the Living,” which, according to the Kabbalists, is identified with the World of Teshuva – Return, we shortly described here. With this, another interpretation of the “Land of the Living” is the Land of Israel. Beautifully, not only is the return to the Holy Land a return to the “upper hemsphere” in the Light of the Holy Presence, but at the same time is also a return to this earthly world, “the lower hemisphere” for the purpose and mission of each individual and also for the mission of our People upon the universe at large. This of course is the message of Hebron, Threshold and Channel to the Afterlife, the City that Unites the Lower and Upper “Lands” (“hemispheres”), Beacon of the Holy Land.
Real Stories from the Holy Land: Six-Day War:
Only an asphalt road separated only the pair of paratroopers from the Egyptian tank. Their only tissues were pounded by excitement, fear and tension. Just don’t miss! Take advantage of any of the remaining bombs! This is the last chance! They rose above the dirt wall by the side of the road and fired the remaining ammunition. The bombs only scratched the steel body of the Egyptian tank and didn’t cause any serious damage. There were only a few meters left between the tank and the bridge, the soldiers pulled out the grenades, and something happened only in the most beautiful legends. The tank spewed camouflage smoke, and with bursts fired everywhere, quickly retreated in reverse gear until it disappeared from view. Like him, the Egyptian infantrymen that followed the tank saw and did the same. The Israeli crew was rescued”. 51 “30” Trap under the bridge.”