Saturday, November 12, 2016

Parshat Lech-Lecha, Jews Out of Israel Miss The Forest for The Trees

This is one of the most important lines in the entire Bible:

Genesis Chapter 12

1And the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.אוַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־אַבְרָ֔ם לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ מֵֽאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וּמִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ:
Look at its chiastic structure:
A- land
B- birthplace
B- father's house
A- land
Here we have the first commandment that is specifically to Abraham, the first Jew. It's the land that frames this verse. Leave your old land to a new land that I will show you, says Gd to Abram, as he was called then.

Standard interpretations of the middle of that line explain that it means changing culture, religion etc. As I see it, the Jews who concentrate only on the religious observance, kashrut, Shabbat, holidays, and so on, but do that living in Chu"L, outside of the Land Gd showed us, the Land of Israel, have missed the forest for the trees. They just don't see, or live, the full Judaism for which one is required to be in the Holy Land.

The "big picture," the "forest" is living as a Jew here in the Land of Israel. And that is the rationale why in some of the Mitzvah counts to see what makes up the 613 Commandments, living in Israel isn't included. That's because it's taken for granted. Think of painting a picture without a canvas or paper. The Land of Israel is that canvas on which we paint a full Jewish Life with the Help of Gd Almighty.

Shavua Tov
Have a Wonderful Week

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