Va'etchanan 2021 Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס"ד
Discover the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
And I Prayed Unto Hashem
One of the most moving passages in the Torah that deals with prayer can be found at the beginning of this parsha, Moshe Rabeinu’s plead to enter the Holy Land. Our Sages learn from the numerical value of “vaetchanan,” 515, that Moshe Rabeinu prayed 515 prayers to enter the Land of Israel. Even though Moshe Rabeinu was answered that he nevertheless could not enter the Land, these prayers are seen by our Sages as gateways of prayer that Moshe Rabeinu opened for the generations. Also, it is to be noted that the primary word used for prayer is “tefilla,” which is also numerically equivalent to 515. These matters show that the essence of prayer is deeply tied with the Holy Land. This matter is compounded with the halachic obligation to direct our prayers towards the Holy Land, as based on the prayer of Daniel. What does all this mean? Prayer is a “meeting” with the Holy Presence. And, as we have discussed consistently, the Holy Presence rests in our Holy Land. By facing the Land of Israel in our prayers, when “the Holy Presence is before us,” we essentially connect ourselves to the primary resting place of this Holy Presence, the Land of Israel.
According to the Adnei Yad Hachazaka, Bnei Binyamin, and other commentators on the Rambam’s laws of prayer, both the requirement of facing the Temple as well as that of facing the Land of Israel are of biblical origin. With regard to facing the Temple, they explain that since the biblical source for prayer is the verse “serve Him with all your hearts,” it follows that this “service” (avoda) entails a connection to the Service of the Temple. With regard to facing the Land of Israel, they explain further that, although our Rabbis supply a proof text from Shlomo HaMelech’s prayer saying that prayer should be directed to the Holy Land, nevertheless this is actually only an allusion to a prior biblical obligation from the time of Moshe Rabeinu to do so.
Let us first clarify why facing the Temple is so deeply linked to the essence of prayer, and we can then better understand why the same is true for the Land of Israel as well. To “serve God” is interpreted by the poskim to mean that a basic intent that one is speaking before God’s Holy Presence is such an important requirement for prayer that without this intent, such a prayer is considered invalid. Based on this, it can be explained that an integral part of serving God through prayer before His Holy Presence is also associated with the primary manifestation of His Holy Presence in the Temple. Concerning the connection of the Land of Israel to the Beit Hamikdash, the Gemara (Chullin 92a), in addition to other sources, associates the entire Land of Israel with the “House of Hashem,” i.e., the Beit Hamikdash. Simply explained, the identification of the Land of Israel with the Temple is due to the dwelling of the Holy Presence in the Holy Land in the same manner as it does in the Temple, albeit to a lesser degree. Consequently, connecting to the Holy Presence of the Temple also involves connecting to the closely related Holy Presence of the Holy Land.
The Midrash Yalkut HaReuveni determines that all prayers rise to heaven via Maarat HaMachpela in Hebron, which is interpreted by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to mean that they begin in Hebron, then rise to Jerusalem, and from there to Heaven. Also, in every prayer, three times a day a Jew in the Diaspora directs his/her prayer towards the Holy Presence in the Holy Land and is also obligated to have proper intent during the “Blessing of the Patriarchs” with whom the Holy Presence rests (“the God of Avraham, the God of Yitzchak, the God of Yaakov”). These two aims fit together perfectly in Hebron, which is both the roots of bonding between our People and the Holy Land and also the City of the Patriarchs. This is Hebron, City of the Patriarchs, Beacon of the Holy Land, the Land of Prayer!
Real Miracles: Six-Day War
When the second battalion reached Shadmi it was decided not to send him into battle immediately, he wanted to try and carry out with first light a flanking movement east of the enemy tanks in the wadi. Dawn came and with it. . . (M) Heavy fog, when the fog cleared, slowly, 23 more enemy tanks were seen, all of the newer models ‘T-54 and T-55’, this appearance changed his mind regarding the flanking movement, such a movement would end in a “Holocaust” To the Israeli force as he saw it… However, suddenly he looked into the wadi and saw 17 of the Egyptian tanks destroyed and burning. He told Baram: “This is half of them. We are doing very well here, where we are sitting now.”
“Sword of Extension” p. 67