Parshat Ki Tavo By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס”ד
לשכנו תדרשו Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
And He Shall Bless You In the Land Hashem Your God Has Given You
“For there [the Land of Israel] He (Hashem) has ordered blessing.” The Zohar (I, 108b) teaches that only in the Land of Israel is there true blessing and wealth. The Zohar explains that all other lands are “governed” by angels, i.e a more limited type of Providence of Hashem through “intermediaries” called angels, whereas the Holy Land is governed directly by Hashem.
The 613 commandments are also Divine blessing upon Israel, since these commandments represent conduits of Divine direction and Divine light that bring blessing upon Israel and the world.
Indeed, the sefer Shaar Hahatzer enumerates 613 blessings of the Holy Land and Jerusalem, paralleling the 613 commandments. This matter is hinted in the teaching of our Sages that settling the Land of Israel is “equal” to all the mitzvoth of the Torah (Sifrei Dvarim 12, 29). Obviously, just as true blessing only flows from the Holy Land, so too we must also bless Hashem for this Land, as the Torah teaches us: “and you shall eat and be satisfied and bless Hashem Your God for the good Land He has given you.” In fact, halachically speaking, the only Biblical commandment in the Torah “to bless Hashem,” agreed upon by all the poskim, is the commandment to bless Hashem in Birkat Hamazon for the Land of Israel. It is in context of this Biblical blessing that we learn about all the blessings of Rabbinic origin [see Rambam Brachot ch. 8 juxtaposed to chapters 1-7]. “To bless” means to express our appreciation of what we have received. Therefore, it is clear why “crying for no reason” in context of the sin of the spies was so detrimental towards entering the Land of Israel, for this denial of the good of Hashem stood in direct opposition of the appreciation of good that is so central to the Land of Israel, the Land of Blessing.
Where can we find hope to correct the sin of the spies? In Hebron, of course. It is from this city that Kaleb drew the inspiration to oppose the denial of Hashem’s goodness perpetrated by the other spies [save Yehoshua]. It is from this city that the blessing of our Patriarchs and the Holy Land flows. From here the dew – “tal” – of blessing rests upon us all in its inspiration, “tal (numerical value=39) +beracha (227)”=Hebron (266).
Real Stories from the Holy Land
“[R’ Petahia, brother of the Tosafist Rabbi Yitzhak “The White”] prayed at the Cave [of the Patriarchs] and when doing so a storming wind emerged from the Cave and casted him on his back… Some distance from there was an elderly man who showed R’ Petahia the olive-tree, split into three throngs, where the angels that came to the Patriarch Avraham sat. There was a tradition that when the angels sat, the tree split into three throngs for each angel…”
Sefer Hebron p. 235
Sefer Hebron p. 302