YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
HaRav Yehuda Kreuser SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva
19 Iyar 5768/23-24 May 2008
COUNTING THE BLESSINGS IN THE LAND
“If you go in My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them, then I will provide you rains in their time and the Land will give its produce, and the tree of the field will give its fruit.”
The question is: Is this the reward for doing G-d’s commandments, or is this just the consequence of following the path of the Torah; i.e., Mother Nature kicking in and the way the order of the world is supposed to work when the Jewish people go in the way of the Torah?
It's interesting that we do not find, anywhere in the Torah, references to the next world, as opposed to other religions, where much is written about the bliss of the next world for the faithful (e.g., 70 virgins), a point which, by the way, cannot be proven, as no one has returned to tell us about it. The Torah, on the other hand, only hints of the time to come by telling us that so-and-so died and he was gathered to his people. Meaning - taken up to the next world.
In the Torah, it’s all about this world, doing Hashem’s commandments. Sure, there is also the other side which concerns us, our portion in the next world, but the emphasis has always been and must be on this world. As our Rabbis teach us, “Today to do the commandments, and tomorrow to receive the reward”.
This earthly blessing, then, is ours only when we go in the path of the Torah. We find with the blessing which Isaac gave to Esau: “Behold, of the fatness of the earth shall be your dwelling, and of the dew of the heavens from above. By your sword you shall live, but your brother you shall serve. Yet it shall be, that when you are aggrieved, you may cast off his yoke from your neck”. For Jacob, the blessings of this world are on condition that we follow the right path; when we don’t, the brotherly yoke of Esau is thrown off. But for Esau and his descendants, their blessings are non-conditional.
Where, then, does this heavenly blessing take place when the Jewish people do G-d’s will? Only in the Land of Israel, of course! It is for this reason that the Torah describes to us the detailed account of the blessings of rains, bountiful crops, and peace, all which take place in the Land of Israel. For the Jew, no matter how good he is, when he lives in the exile the blessings cannot come. For the very nature of exile can be nothing but a curse for the Jewish people. For that reason, it is listed along with the curses in our parsha.
The “Chatam Sofer” adds that it is only in the Land of Israel that every act that we do becomes a mitzvah As he writes: “Just like one who is learning Torah would not say 'I’m learning so I won't have to put on Tefillin', so, too, with working the Land of Israel one should not say 'I’m learning now', but rather close your book and go out to work the Land, for working the Land in Israel is itself a mitzvah”.
For this reason, the Torah tells us that the earthly blessings that come down in this world are funneled though the Land of Israel. Our parsha talks only about the material blessings flowing to the Land when we follow Hashem’s commandments. But when we reject the Torah’s path, and talk turns to giving away parts of the country from north to south to the center - what blessings can come out of this? Rather, only curses! For no matter how hard they try to bring peace, a curse, like the exile, can never be a blessing.
The road map is before us: Let us wisely choose the right path.
With love of Israel,
THE EXILE IS ENDING. DON'T FIGHT IT. GO WITH THE FLOW OF ENERGY THAT IS MOVING US FORWARD TOWARD THE COMPLETE REDEMPTION.
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