There is a wide spread kind of distortion of Torah. Some point out that there is no such commandment, and therefore no obligation, to live in the Land of Israel. Or, at least, not until miracle happens and Moshiah comes. Here is a message from Ki Tavo – you may as well drop all other mitzvot as by the mouth of Moses they apply in the Land. Only punishments apply outside of the Land …
“when you have come to the Land which the Lord is giving you for your heritage” (26:1) this is how commandments preceded. This expression repeats many times. Knowing the Torah language, this is clear that God “knew”, so to speak, where and how we will distort it in the future. Then it speaks about Jews coming to the Land as undeniable part of the Divine Covenant with such clear language as each Jew coming to the Land brings the first fruits of his harvest to the place appointed by God (the place of the Holly Temple):
“I testify today before the Lord our God, that I have come into the Land which the Lord made an oath to our fathers to give us.” (26:3)
Why testify to God, in a God’s appointed place, in the Land, on this matter, if it is not a part of the covenant or if it is only applied after “when Moshiah lets us know that it is time…” ?
Here is a quote from parsha Vaetchanan (Devarim, 4:1) which ties the settling the Land with all the Divine Laws: “And now give ear, O Israel, to the laws and the decisions which I am teaching you, and do them; so that you may live, and you may go in and take for yourselves the Land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you.“
Here is even more explicit statement on the matter, again Vaetchanan (Devarim, 4:14) : “God commanded me to teach you rules and laws so that you will keep them in the Land which you are crossing to occupy.” It does not take much intelligence to understand the simple meaning of these words.
OK, here is another theory of the rejectionists trying to rid of this part of the Covenant. They say that tying settling the Land with following the motzvot only applies to that particular generation coming with Joshua.
If so then observe the proceeding words of Moses describing the blessings, whenever Israelites follow the Covenant, and curses, whenever Israelites go astray from the Covenant. In all the descriptions, all the blessings (no exceptions) come only in the Land, but the curses only start in the Land but end up in larger extent in galut. In fact the only wording describing Jewish life outside of the Land is a vivid description of the Divine curse. (We may wonder – why Torah ignores to mention the periods of good life Jewish people experienced from time to time in foreign lands, as is today in some countries? We will discuss this in other article on Holocaust but this is beyond the current topic. All we read in here is that life outside of the Land is only associated with curses).
The blessings: “his blessing will be on you in the Land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (28:8) … “And the Lord will make you fertile in every good thing, in the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your cattle, and the fruit of your fields, in the Land which the Lord, by his oath to your fathers, said he would give you.” (28:11) And also the nature of the blessings tied up with the Land, such as giving the rain in proper time, etc.
The curses – first start from curses while still in the Land , from 28:15 to 28:20 . Then it reaches the climax in 28:21 : “The Lord will send disease after disease on you, till you have been cut off by death from the Land to which you are going.”(28:21) After that Torah continues warnings about the curses in the Land. This indicates that the process of punishment is gradual and not one time incident. The more Jews sin against God, the more stages of curses apply. Yet, the Divine chain of the cause-and-effect clearly explained. The ultimate climax of all the periods of curses reached in 28:64: “And the Lord will scatter you among the nations, from one end of the earth to the other” … “among these nations there will be no peace for you, and no rest for your feet” (28:65)
As in conclusion, we have to admit – there is no such thing as “all or nothing” in Judaism by Torah. We do not make any statements. Everybody’s life is a book of many pages which each of us writes down in his/her own ways. Do we make alliya now or wait and see that the Jews who already there take the Land in their hands to, at least, start making it into the Land of our Covenant?
First, this Torah parsha must be understood as is. Our actions and decisions, based on circumstances, will only follow the right understanding of Torah. Whence, the clear reading of the written Covenant is a foundation for our future actions. Whether we are already in the Land or not, without accepting Torah as is, we will go astray anyway and curses will apply again no matter where we are …
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