Parshat Vayera 2021


By Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron                                                         

לשכנו תדרשו
Discover the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land

And Hashem appeared to Him in Elonei Mamreh

The name and beginning of this parsha “vayera” – meaning “prophetic revelation” – has a common theme with its end, the episode of the Akeida, where the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is called “the mountain of Hashem’s revelation.” The fact that the first revelation occurred in Elonei Mamreh – Hebron and the latter revelation occurred in Jerusalem draws a clear line between Hebron and Jerusalem as places where the Holy Presence rests where the “revelation of Hashem’s Presence” is present. Indeed, the Arizal ties such a direct line, describing Hebron as one type of revelation of the Holy Presence (coined by the Kabbalists “Rachel”) while Jerusalem is another type (coined by the Kabbalists “Leah”). In halacha, we find many references to the exact definitions of location designated for the ‘dwelling’ of the Holy Presence among us, from the measurements of the Temple Mount, via exact measurements of the Land of Israel, to even the measurements of an ad-hoc minyan in arbitrary rooms in the Diaspora. After all of this is said, what sources do we have as to the spiritual dimensions in regard to Hebron and Maaras Hamachpela? As we see from Avraham’s close-by pilgrimage within Hebron to Maarat HaMachpela, we learn that even several meters can make a difference in the spiritual intensity of location, even outside of the Temple Mount. Nevertheless, there are sources that point to the Torah’s saying that Kaleb ‘reached Hebron’, without saying ‘Maarat HaMachpela’, showing that all of greater Hebron has spiritual power like Maarat HaMachpela, sufficient to save Kaleb from the scheme of the spies. There is yet another source suggesting a distance of three parasangs (6 km or 4 miles) as being at least the extent of spiritual intensity stemming from Maarat HaMachpela, causing the nations ‘to lick the dust of the earth’ there in honor of the tomb of Yaakov. That said, however, if we take into consideration the other holy places of Hebron, such as the Tomb of Jesse and Ruth, the ancient cemetery full of saints, and the many yeshivas and kollels spread across Hebron-Kiryat Arba, every meter we walk is a spiritual journey, spanning past, present, and future, into connecting to the Holy Presence in our Holy Land

Real Stories from the Holy Land:

“The Egyptian air force was destroyed in less than three hours. In my wildest dreams, I would not have imagined such a record. I thought it would take half a day and maybe even day or night or a day and night. The fitness and accuracy with which our pilots performed their missions were exemplary. ” “The Shortest Day” p. 105

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