Ensuring a Jewish Presence in Hebron

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Beha’alotcha

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Beha'alotcha 2021 Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron                                                           בס"ד

לשכנו תדרשו
Discover the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land

Then Moshe said to Chovav, the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moshe’s father-in-law: We are traveling to the place about which Hashem said, I will give it to you. Come with us, and we will be good to you, for Hashem has spoken of good fortune for Israel.

It is clear from our title quote of this parsha that the “good” referred to here is the entrance to “the Good Land” (Devarim 8:10) as it says regarding benching “you shall bless Hashem your God for the good Land He has given you. “Good” is interpreted by our Sages in many sources as referring to a high spiritual state, e.g., “good only refers to the Torah” (Berachot 5a), or “the good mountain” refers to the Beit HaMikdash (Berachot 48b), or the “goodness” of Moshe at birth was apparent by his spiritual light (Shemot Rabba 1:22). The extent of this “goodness” of Moshe, i.e., the extent of Moshe Rabeinu’s connection to the Holy Presence, was not fully realized even by Miriam, until she was reprimanded by Hashem at the end of this parsha.

Another idea we can learn from this episode is that the general term “good” can refer to a plot in the Land of Israel, as is apparent from the Torah’s terminology in Devarim (4:21-22) “the good Land.” Indeed, a pre-eminent approach in the poskim is that one may recite the beracha of shehechiyanu and “hatov vehameitiv” (if there is benefit to others) only if one purchases a house/apartment in the Land of Israel, where there is a mitzva fulfilled with the purchase, i.e., settling the Land of Israel. In addition, the poskim add that when a meal takes place to praise Hashem for buying a house in the Land of Israel, it is to be considered a seudat mitzva.

In addition to the Land of Israel, another place that is referred to as “good” is the Temple Mount (which includes the Beit HaMikdash itself), as the words “the good mountain” are explained by our Sages to refer to the Temple Mount. As we have shown in the past, Hebron and the Temple Mount are deeply linked, as can be seen from the Mishna in Yoma (ch. 3) where the kohanim on the Temple Mount on Yom Kippur would ask if dawn has reached “till Hebron ”in order to awaken the merit of the Patriarchs. Also, we have noted the Talmud’s teaching (Hulin 92a) that the entire Land of Israel is called the “House of Hashem,” meaning that the entire Land of Israel is integrally linked to the Temple, for it too, is the domain the Holy Presence.
We should note that the first time the term “good” is used in the Torah appears in the context of the light of dawn of the first day of Creation. In addition, Midrashic literature strongly links the concept “good” to Torah, as it says: “A good portion I have given you, the Torah…,” and also to the righteous figure – Moshe Rabeinu, about whom it is said, “he is good.”

The crossroads of all these inferences most naturally become apparent in Hebron. Hebron, according to the Zohar, is synonymous with Torah. Hebron is also the resting place of the “good” righteous figures, our Patriarchs, and also, according to Midrashic literature, Moshe Rabeinu (miraculously taken from Mount Nevo). This is Hebron, the beacon of the Good Land, gateway to the Temple Mount, the dawn of the redemptive future.

Real Stories from the Holy Land:
I conducted a lottery for my students to conduct a type of celebration for the one who wins in the lottery. One student won the lottery, meaning that a celebration would be conducted on the 17th of Sivan. At the same time, I also inquired about the birthday of this student. To this, the student provided their secular birthdate, the 14th of June, and she did not know her Jewish birthdate. I told her that we celebrate the Jewish birthdate. I checked the birthdate of the year she was born. It “turned out” to be the 17th of Sivan…” M.H.G

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