Retreat From the Land of Israel?

*From a live Broadcast on Arutz-7 Radio, Israel, 7 Tevet 5758 (Jan 5)

The issue of the Land of Israel in general and the problematic question of relinquishing parts of the Land of Israel for the sake of "peace" must be addressed on three different planes. First, a tactical plane, then an emotional plane, and third an idealistic plane.

The first plane is the tactical plane. Is it really necessary in order to achieve peace, or to achieve any pragmatic goal, to give away sections of the Land of Israel? On questions of security, the Torah teaches that it is incumbent upon us to consult military, apolitical experts. Do security considerations necessitate a withdrawal from areas of the Land of Israel? All real, non-partial experts in the field unanimously agree that the very opposite is the case. In order to strengthen security, it is necessary to have as much of the Land that G-D has given us and to remain firm in our conviction to keep and settle our Land. According to the Torah, this is the answer to the question of security which is the pragmatic question involved. It is extremely negative to even think of relinquishing any part of the Land of Israel. Over 120,000 people have settled those parts of the Land in question. Certainly for those people, even the thought of relinquishing land directly proximate to where they are living, to a hostile population, poses a serious security threat.

The second plane of the issue is the emotional plane, which is essentially temporal. How sensitive are we, the People, and each individual, to the Divine Providence that has taken place over the last several generations? Certainly in this very generation we have witnessed Divine Providence. G-D has given us much more of the Land than we even expected to receive. He has given us our Land of Israel with great miracles. We have all witnessed and should be conscious of these miracles. Unfortunately, much of this consciousness has been downtoned by those factors that do not wish to recognize, acknowledge and give thanks to G-D who has given us this Land. The emotions of a Jew should be attuned to react and to respond in love to a gift which has been given to him. G-D has given us this Land. To even consider for one second giving back a gift that G-D has given to us is like, G-D forbid, giving a slap in the face to a benevolent soul who has, with great miracles, given you an infinitely valuable gift. Not to recognize that means that a person's heart has allegorically turned to stone. He is completely insensitive to the Divine gift of Eretz Yisrael in our very generation.

There are two primary emotions of the heart. One is love, and the other is fear. Perhaps due to fear, people believe that if we do not negotiate and compromise with our non- Jewish neighbors, not only won't we be able to retain what we already have, but the situation might degenerate and become dangerous. In Kabbalah and Chassidut we are taught that when there are two emotions, one of love, especially love with regard and in response to G-D, and the other of fear, the love must overcome and subdue the fear. On the emotional plane we have to be more sensitive to the fact that G-D, in his gift of love for us, has also given us this Land. We must strengthen our awareness of these invaluable gifts, making any thought of relinquishing any part of the gift absolutely unthinkable. G-D has given the Land to us. He certainly can protect us, and He will protect us if we recognize and acknowledge His love for us by returning our love to Him.

The third and highest plane is that of the ultimate and eternal ideal of the Torah itself, which has given us a way of life. Whoever believes that the Torah is from G-D knows that the purpose of the Torah is for the Jewish people to conquer and settle the complete Land of Israel. This entails recognizing the eternal plan of creation from the very beginning to the very end. Only through our sense of connection and unity with the Land of Israel will the People of Israel achieve the purpose of Creation itself, the manifestation of our inner spiritual potential. The Bible often compares the relation between the People of Israel and the Land of Israel to one of groom to bride. We have to "marry" the Land, which obviously precludes any "adultery" or foreign elements taking away our bride, which is our Land. Only when we properly marry and unite with our Land will we give birth to the potential progeny that we have in our hearts and our souls. This necessarily requires that we firmly cling to our Land, and not even think of relinquishing our potential, and the world's potential. Jewish faith teaches that when we realize our potential, that will be the ultimate good for all of the world, for all of mankind and for all of creation. This can only take place when the People of Israel unite with the complete Land of Israel. Then the purpose of creation, very speedily in our days, will be realized. The Jewish People will once more build, with the help of G-D, the Temple on Har Habayit, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. With that, the ultimate purpose of creation, G-D's desire to have a dwelling place on Earth, will become manifest.

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