Sunday, October 31, 2010

3 Purchases, 3 Problems

There are three places in Israel whose purchases were recorded in the Bible - Hebron's Cave of Machpelah, purchased by Abraham, the fields of Shechem by Jacob and the threshing floor of Mt. Moriah by King David. (These three are pictured at left in a painting by the renowned artist Baruch Nachshon.)
It would seem that despite the troubles and conflicts the Jewish people and our enemies have had throughout the generations, these three documented places would be left out of it. And yet, the exact opposite appears to be the case.
The Cave of the Patriarchs, the Tomb of Joseph and the Temple Mount are three most bitterly disputed locations in Israel.
I used to think that the Arabs zeroed in on these three places, because if they could successfully attack us and dominate us in these three areas where our roots are the strongest, then we'd have no chance, chas v'shalom, to hold on to any place in the country.
Today I changed my mind.

The click happened in the middle of lunch, while we were all speaking of Hebron and Shabbat Chayei Sarah. This Shabbat marks the anniversary of Abraham's purchase of the Cave of Machpelah.
Abraham bought Hebron for his family, so why do we, his descendants, have such trouble holding on to it? The same goes for Shechem and Har HaBayit (The Temple Mount).

Yesterday before Shabbat, I glanced at, and read that an Arab newspaper claims that "Israel would lease land in east Jerusalem from the Palestinian state for 40-99 years." Oh my gosh, how foolish can we be! I screamed, "What?! We're going to lease the land that belongs to us!!?? That's saying, 'We think the land belongs to us, but you think it belongs to you, but then again, we're not sure it really does belong to us, so we'll rent it from you." No, no, no.
The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People. Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people. We don't have to purchase or rent what is rightfully ours.
That's our problem.

* G-d promised the land of Israel to Abraham, every inch of it where his feet tread. Hebron was given to him by G-d, so why on earth did he buy it?
* Jacob inherited all of Israel from his father and grandfather before him, so why did he buy Shechem.
* All of Israel belonged to the Jewish people, and on top of that David conquered Jerusalem. So why did he purchase the threshing floor?
Today, I realized that these purchases brought the Jewish people, not an eternal deed to their ownership, but an eternal punishment. G-d promised the Land of Israel - all of it - to the Jewish people. It is ours to possess and fill with Jewish families.
Our lack of faith caused us to purchase these pivotal places, and so perhaps G-d said, "You didn't believe in me and in the present I have given you. Okay. You believed buying your own land for money would buy you peace. From now on and forever (until you make this wrong right), you will spend your energies to fight for the same property that could have been yours forever peacefully."
And that's what we've been doing and continuing to do - fighting for Hebron, fighting for Shechem and fighting for the Temple Mount.
It's about time that we learned the lesson that all of Israel belongs to the Jewish people - Eretz Yisrael to Am Yisrael according to Torat Yisrael. If we had that faith, attitude and understanding, we'd real real peace and peaceful possession of all of Israel.

1 comment:

  1. Sharon,

    Interesting idea, but I think most parshanim would explain that even though it belonged to us, Avraham, Yaakov and David did not take it for granted. By purchasing these sites, they "ensured" that our legal ownership should not go disputed. I don't beleive that this represents a lack of faith, but rather a retaining wall to G-d's promise of our inheritence of the land. The fact that these lands are considered holy to this day would stand only as an encouragment to our forefathers to be willing to go the extra mile and pay for what was rightfully theirs. I think your first thought (Arabs zeroed in on areas where our roots are strongest, etc.)was more on mark.