Matot-Masei 5764-2004

"The Mitzvah of Living in the Land of Israel"

In parashat Masei, G-d commands the Jewish people that when they enter the land of Canaan they are to drive out all the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, for G-d has given the land to the People of Israel to possess it. The ancient tradition holds that there are 613 mitzvot in the Torah. However, there is no definitive listing of those 613 mitzvot. Consequently, the question arises of whether there is an explicit Torah mitzvah to settle in the land of Israel or not. This question was an issue of great dispute between Maimonides and Nachmanides.

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Pinchas 5762-2002

"Loving the Land of Israel"

In parashat Pinchas we read about the five trail-blazing daughters of Tzelafchad who approach Moses claiming legal rights to their father's property in the land of Israel. The Al-mighty rewards the women's passionate commitment to Israel by declaring that the daughters shall inherit their father's land. How does Tzelafchad's daughters' great love of Zion compare with contemporary Jewry's, at best, casual commitment to the State of Israel?

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