124 posts categorized "Land of Israel"

The Land of Israel: Glittering like Diamonds

Sunflowers Sunflower field in the Jezreel Valley

Our sages mention five special attributes about our beloved Land of Israel, as follows:

1. If a person is on a high enough spiritual level, he'll be able to see that the rocks of Eretz Yisrael glitter like diamonds (Be'er Maim Chaim - Rebbe Chaim of Chernovitz).

2. The soil of Eretz Yisrael is holier than the sky of Chutz L'aretz (lands outside of Israel) (Chasam Sopher).

3. The Gemara says (Berachos 59a) that since the destruction of the holy Temple, the sky has lost its purity; The Shatzer Rebbe ob"m (Da'as Sholom) says that the Gemara is speaking about Chutz L'aretz, and that the skies of Eretz Yisrael maintain their purity forever.

4. The world is like a funnel, where all prayers are channeled into Eretz Yisrael, and arise to the heavens from Eretz Yisrael (Aravei Nachal, Zohar).

5. Eretz Yisrael is so holy, that saying anything derogatory about it is virtually unforgivable; the slander of Eretz Yisrael lengthens the diaspora (Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a).

We here at the Beams send our blessings to all of you who are preparing to make aliya and may Hashem help you be successful. 


Happy Tu B'Shvat, Planted People!

Olive Israel Kotel
Above photo, 2000 year-old olive tree in the Lower Galilee that dates back to the Second Temple

Tu B'Shvat is so spiritually and emotionally overwhelming for someone who loves Hashem and our holy Land of Israel. It's all about our roots that go so deep down in this hallowed land that Hashem promised to our forefathers and gave to us over 3,300 years ago. Our Nomadic and usurping Arab neighbors can't understand, but we are a Planted People, planted deep in the Holy Land, from which we shall never budge, amen!

My feature article this week on Breslev Israel web magazine, The Planted People, is perfect to read at your Tu B'Shvat table. When you finish it, you can check out these other great articles:

Rabbi Shalom Arush - That Little Voice

Gedale Fenster - Ten Essential Life Lessons

Racheli Reckles - How to Kill Your Marriage 

Lori Steiner - Ten Steps to Redemption

David Perlow - 80/20 Parenting

David Ben Horin - Circumventing 5 Cs

Terry Hayes - The Noahide Struggle 

Enjoy, and may you be blessed with wonderful fruit of every type, arbor and human, amen!


Tu B'Shvat: Israel's Answer to the World

Jeremiah 31.4

Tu B'Shvat this year is Sunday night, Jan. 20 - Monday, Jan. 21, 2019

The nations of the world, in protesting our right to the Land of Israel, claim that all the other religions are fine with living in a variety of countries, so why must the Jews have their own land?

Many Jews don't know the answer to this seemingly-probing question. Yet, the answer is surprisingly simple. It also explains why we have a special New Year for trees, when it's a special mitzva to plant trees all over the Land of Israel.

In his very first statement of his classic elaboration on Torah, Rashi explains prophetically that in case the nations of the world will call Israel thieves for occupying Canaanite land, then know full well that Hashem created the world and He parcels it out to whomever He chooses.

King David says that Hashem gave us the land of the Canaanite nations so that we would "guard His laws and observe His commandments" (Psalm 105:45) on this hallowed land, as the Torah instructs.

When a Jew is honored with an "aliya" to the Torah, he says two blessings - one before the Torah reading and one after the Torah reading. The latter blessing is especially interesting: "Blessed are You, Hashem our God, King of the universe, for giving us the Torah of truth, and planting posterity within us; blessed are You, Hashem, who gives the Torah."

Our sages called the Torah, the "planting of posterity". Why "planting"? Trees are planted, but why Torah? And, what does this have to do with the Land of Israel?

As Rashi explains, the Land of Israel is not like any other land - it is Hashem's special Holy Land. The Torah explains an entire array of special commandments that must be observed in the Land of Israel, yet need not be observed elsewhere. Many of these commandments deal with with trees and fruit, such as orla[1], trumot[2], maaserot[3], prat and olelut[4], just to name a few.

The Shulchan Aruch, or Code of Jewish Law, forbids a Jew from selling a non-Jew anything that is still rooted in the soul of the Land of Israel[5]. In other words, one may sell a non-Jew an entire ton of Israel's finest grapes, but he may not sell even one lone grapevine that is planted in the holy soil of Israel. The Gemara gives two reasons for this prohibition[6]: First, since Hashem gave the Land of Israel to the Jews specifically for the purpose of performing the Torah's commandments, one may not give or sell any portion of the land, no matter how big or small. This in itself is one of the Torah's 365 negative mitzvoth known as Lo Techanem[7]. Second, by selling or giving any portion of land to a non-Jew, one is obstructing the performance of the required mitzvoth that pertain to that portion of land, which constitutes a desecration of the land's holiness.

Planting is so important in the Land of Israel, that if a person has not yet harvested the first fruits of his vineyard, he is exempt from military service[8].

With all the above in mind, what's so significant about planting trees in the Land of Israel? And why is the Torah said to be "implanted" with us?

The Prophet Jeremiah said [10]that the sign of our final redemption will be when you see Jews coming back to the Land of Israel and planting vineyards in Samaria; that's happening right now, and that's what the BDS Movement and all our other enemies are fighting against...

The Torah tells us that he who plants, especially in the hallowed Land of Israel, is he who is connected - he sends forth roots, deep in the ground. The deeper the roots, the stronger the connection. The Torah is also called the "Tree of Life"[9], for those who cling to it. In this respect, the Torah represents our spiritual clinging to Hashem - for the Jewish people are rooted in Hashem, as Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai says in the Zohar - while the trees we plant in the holy Land of Israel signify our physical clinging to Hashem, to His holy land, and to His commandments. So, just as we rightfully celebrate our anniversary of Torah every year on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan, we annually celebrate our New Year for trees, every year on the Fifteenth of Shvat. Happy Tu B'Shvat!

Footnotes: 

[1]    The prohibition of eating fruit from a three-year old tree or younger

[2]    Typically 2% of the yield that is given to a Cohen

[3]    10% of the yield that is given to the Levites; there are two additional types of tithes, for the poor and for the purpose of spending in Jerusalem during the time of festivals in the Holy Temple

[4]    Enabling the poor to glean fallen and lone grapes left over after the grape harvest

[5]    See Yora Deah 141:7

[6]    See Tractate Avoda Zara, 21a

[7]    Numbers 7:2, mitzva number 284 according the the Sefer Chinuch

[8]    Numbers 20:6

[9]    Proverbs 3:18

[10]    Jeremiah 31:4


Affordable - and Beautiful - Israel

Shilo

Dear Rabbi Brody,

I really want to make Aliya with my family, but people have been telling me that if I don't have a half million US bucks, I won't be able to get a decent apartment. I don't want a mortgage, and with property values in my area, I'll barely clear $200,000 when I sell my home. What can I possibly buy in Israel with that amount of money? Thanks for your time and attention, Gerald from Midwest USA

Dear Gerald,

if you're looking for a flat with in an American neighborhood of Ramat Bet Shemesh or Jerusalem's Ramat Eshkol or Har Nof, $5-600,000 is roughly what you'll pay - no less. But, if you're willing to both live and think outside the Anglo-Israeli box, then you'll have some wonderful opportunities, where $200,000 or less will suffice.

Gorgeous places up north with growing observant communities are Maalot, Nazareth Illit, Tzefat and Kiriat Shemona.

As far as the south of Israel goes, Arad has the cleanest air in the world and it's also gorgeous. For $200,000 or less in Ashkelon, you can get an apartment in walking distance to the Mediterranean. If you go to a place like Ofakim or Yerucham, you can get a palace for $170,000 or less.

Contact my dear friends at Nefesh B'Nefesh, because there are usually several incentive programs for moving to the Galilee up north or to the Negev down south. Both are wonderful places to raise your family. Remember also that education here is virtually free, but you'll have to a bit of legwork to find the right schools for your children. It's well worth it. The younger they are, the easier they'll adapt. May Hashem help you succeed! Blessings always, LB


Shira's Answer

Baby Israel flag
Guest post from our cherished friend Dr. Harry, who recently made aliya from South Florida to the holy city of Tzfat:

Shira Ish-Ran, the Israeli woman who was severely wounded and lost her baby boy in a Palestinian shooting attack last week, displayed defiance and strength in the face of her tragic loss, vowing on Thursday to have “many more babies” in response to losing her baby to Palestinian terrorism.

Twenty-one-year-old Shira, who was 30 weeks pregnant when she was shot while waiting at a bus stop outside the community of Ofra, was seriously wounded in the shooting, and doctors delivered the infant in an emergency C-section. The baby died on Wednesday after several days in intensive care. Shira's husband Amichai Ish-Ran sustained moderate injuries in the attack.

On Thursday, a day after her four-day-old son was laid to rest, Shira Ish-Ran was quoted by Hebrew-language media as saying, in her first remarks since the attack: “I will show them. I will bring many more babies into this world. Am Yisrael chai,” the Times of Israel reported

The baby was named Amiad Yisrael (my nation forever, Israel) before being buried in Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives cemetery.

I SAY LET HER WORDS BECOME A MOVEMENT

Every Jewish women of child bearing around the world should have at least one more baby than planned and name the boy Ami Yisrael, and a girl Bat-Ami Yisraella in memory of her baby. Let these savages who kill Jews in the womb be answered with millions of new Jewish babies, all of who standing for "My nation forever, Israel."

PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW.