by Rabbi Moshe D. Lichtman
Torah and Eretz Yisrael were said in a single utterance. They are two inseparable companions. Concerning the Torah it says, Moshe commanded us the Torah, a heritage (מורשה) of the congregation of Ya’akov (Devarim 33:4). Concerning Eretz Yisrael it says, And I will give it to you as a heritage (מורשה) (Shemot 6:8). Thus, Torah and Eretz Yisrael were set apart and designated by the same expression – morashah – as a gezeirah shavah, demonstrating that, for us, they are equal and inseparable.
This is how R. Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal zt”l begins the foreword to his monumental work, Eim HaBanim Semeichah. Over the next twenty-one pages (in my English translation, pp. 60-81) he expounds upon the relationship between Torah and Eretz Yisrael, explaining why they are both referred to as morashah – heritage or inheritance. A brief synopsis:
When the verse calls Torah morashah it signifies that our main claim to the Torah is based on the fact that we received it as an inheritance from our forefathers. We know of its authenticity not by virtue of intellectual proofs (which can often be refuted), but because more than two million Jews stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai and heard God speak. Our ancestors passed down an account of this revelation from generation to generation, until the present day. “Thus, the word ‘inheritance’ used in reference to the Torah demonstrates the strength of its foundations… and our everlasting ownership over it” (p. 68).
Similarly, our right to Eretz Yisrael is a matter of inheritance. Our only true claim to the Land is the fact that God gave it to our forefathers – Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov. “[It] is not based on acquisition or military conquest, for a claim based on acquisition is weak and disputable… A claim based on military conquest is also imperfect, since another conquest can nullify the previous one. Inheritance, however, has an advantage over all other modes of acquisition, because it cannot be questioned… The holy Torah is our deed and proof. It shows clearly that the Creator… presented the Land to Avraham Avinu, so that it be given over as an inheritance from generation to generation” (pp. 71-72).
There is one condition, however, says Rav Teichtal: “If we are proper sons and worthy heirs – that is, if we strive to ensure that our deeds measure up to those of our forefathers – then, and only then, we will be privileged to receive our inheritance… If, however, we… divert our paths from [theirs], our efforts will all be in vain, and we will be unable to enter Eretz Yisrael’s borders” (p. 79).
Rav Hershel Schachter shlita, a Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University, explains the connection between these two concepts slightly differently. He distinguishes between the words ירושה (inheritance) and מורשה (heritage). When a person receives an inheritance, he can do with it as he pleases. He can put it in the bank, invest it, gamble it away, or bequeath it to his children. A heritage, however, must be kept in tact for future generations. It must be safeguarded and protected to ensure that it is transmitted the same way it was received.
We cannot do with Torah as we please. We cannot interpret it freely, modify it to the times, tamper with its laws, or simply neglect it. We must make sure to pass it down to future generations exactly as we received it. The same is true of the Holy Land. It is not ours to squander away. We cannot dissect it into pieces, give it away, cause God to take it away, or simply neglect it! We must do everything in our power to ensure that our children and grandchildren have a homeland where they can live and fulfill the laws of the Torah, as God originally intended.
May we be privileged very soon to witness the fulfillment of the verse: I will bring you to the Land about which I lifted My hand to give it to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov; and I will give it to you as a heritage, I am the Lord (6:8).
THE FIFTH CUP
Our Sages teach that the four cups of wine we drink at the Seder correspond to the four “expressions of redemption” found in this week’s parashah (see BeReishit Rabbah 88; Yerushalmi, Pesachim 10:1; Rashbam, Pesachim 99b):
Therefore, say to the Children of Israel: “I am the Lord, and I will take you out from under the burdens of Egypt, and I will save you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God, and you shall know that I am the Lord, your God, Who takes you out from under the burdens of Egypt.” (6:6-7)
The problem is that the very next verse uses what seems to be a fifth expression of redemption: I will bring you to the Land about which I lifted My hand to give it to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov; and I will give it to you as a heritage, I am the Lord. Why, then, do we not drink five cups of wine on the first night of Pesach? (Actually, according to some versions of the gemara [Pesachim 118a], there are five cups!)
Many commentators deal with this question. Some answer that while the first four “redemptions” were everlasting, the fifth was not (for we were eventually exiled from our Land). They claim that the “Cup of Elijah” corresponds to this fifth redemption, because he will complete and eternalize it. Others say that we do not drink a fifth cup because the fifth redemption did not come to fruition through the Jews who left Egypt. Due to the sin of the spies, only their children entered the Promised Land.
The author of Da’at Zekanim MiBa’alei HaTosafot writes:
Four cups correspond to four redemptions…and the fifth cup – that is, for the one who needs to drink it [an apparent reference to Eliyahu] – corresponds to I will bring [you to the Land]. For that, too, is redemption, as people say: “If a master frees his slave and gives him all that he owns, but he does not bring [the slave] to his dwelling place – what has he accomplished?’ Similarly, had the Holy One Blessed be He failed to bring us to Eretz Yisrael, what good would the Exodus from Egypt have been?”
The Kli Yakar also gives a beautiful explanation:
[The four expressions of redemption] correspond to four hardships that [the Jews] underwent, as the verse [from the Brit Bein HaBetarim (BeReishit 15:13)] states: 1) Your seed will be a stranger – this refers to being strangers [in Egypt]. 2) In a land not their own – this refers to being distanced from the Shechinah, for one who dwells in Chutz LaAretz is like one who has no God (Ketuvot 110b). The verse juxtaposes being distanced from the Shechinah and being a stranger because one depends on the other. Being distanced from the Shechinah is a result of being a stranger outside the Land, in a place that is far from the Shechinah. 3) And they [Avraham’s descendants] will serve them [the Egyptians] – this is an additional [hardship], beyond being a stranger, for a regular stranger is not a slave, at least. 4) And they [the Egyptians] will afflict them [the Jews] – this is an additional [hardship], beyond slavery, for one does not afflict a regular slave for no reason.
So, when it came time to rescue them, HaShem saw fit to save them gradually, little by little. First, He saved them from the most dangerous situation, which is “affliction.” Concerning this it says, I will take you out from under the burdens of Egypt, for [the word] burdens refers to affliction… Next, He saved them from slavery, as it says, I will save you from their bondage. Afterwards, He saved them from the least dangerous situation, which is being a stranger. Concerning this it says, I will redeem you etc, for a regular stranger does not have a redeemer… And since the state of being a stranger results in the removal of the Shechinah… it says here that once they are no longer strangers they will be able to cling to the Shechinah. Concerning this it says, I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God. This implies actual “taking,” like a man “takes” [i.e., marries] a young maiden. And since one who dwells in Chutz LaAretz is like one who has no God, it says here, I will be to you a God. And through this closeness [to God], You shall know that I am the Lord, your God, Who takes you out from under the burdens of Egypt – the worst affliction of them all. Then, [the Torah] expounds upon this “taking,” by saying, I will bring you to the Land. This is why our Sages instituted the Four Cups on Pesach – corresponding to the salvation from these four evils.
In other words, the Kli Yakar does not view the verse “I will bring you to the Land” as a separate expression of redemption. Rather, he considers it a continuation of the fourth expression: I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God. How? I will bring you to the Land! For HaShem is truly our God only in Eretz Yisrael.
May we soon be zocheh to witness the final redemption, so that we can all return to our Land and fulfill our ultimate purpose in life – to achieve closeness to God.
Ø I also established My covenant with them [the Patriarchs], to give them the Land of Canaan, the Land of their sojournings, in which they sojourned (6:4).
[HaShem] explains the reason why He promised to give them the Land of Canaan: because it is the Land of their sojournings, in which they sojourned. That is to say, they did not act like [permanent] dwellers in the Land, but like sojourners, for they dwelled primarily in the upper worlds, always walking before God. In this world, however, they were like sojourners. Therefore, they received Eretz Yisrael, which is suited for such [a life], for it is a Land of [Divine] providence, holiness, and prophecy. (Malbim)