Thursday, June 16, 2011

Redemption of the Land

or, Apropos to the spies of Parashat Shelach

Leviticus 25:25 discusses the situation where a person has to sell his homestead in the land of Israel. Relations of the impoverished are expected to buy back the home or land, so that the land not be lost to the family. Interestingly, the Or Hachayim takes this opportunity to discuss the ultimate redemption of the Land.

At the culmination of his essay, he says that, "the redemption of the Land [with this double entendre he implies the final redemption of the nation of Israel] will begin when the souls of the righteous stir within them. They will ask themselves, is it really enough for us to remain outside, exiled from the table of our Father? How can we be satisfied with life in this world, when it is devoid of that divine communion? These righteous ones will begin to loathe the perceived glamor and luxury of life outside the Land. They will be gripped by a spiritual desire to perfect their actions in the Land, and thus redeem Israel. In this way will God affect the redemption of His land and people.

The leaders of the people and the great ones of the Jewish nation are destined to give an accounting of why they were not motivated thus, and it is from them that God will demand redress for the shame of His desolate house [a double entendre referencing the ruins of the Temple, and the poor man's house that is the subject of the verse]."