By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
And You Shall Return
“Blessed are You HaShem Who makes (us) return with repentance.”
Repentance is both the return to one’s individual true self, the soul, and also the return to the Grand Soul of our People, the Holy Presence. Throughout life we are in a constant mission to bring the Light of Hashem to the world, and to elevate this world toward Godliness. This world is full of spiritual darkness, difficulty and tribulation, making our mission evermore praiseworthy. Nevertheless, the tribulation of this world may confuse us from “keeping on aim” in our mission. For this, Hashem granted us the wonderful gift of repentance, the gift of return, the gift of return to our souls, to bask in the Godly Light, to remember and be remembered before the All Merciful. With the same token, “returning to the Godly Light” and to the ideals for which we were created also means probing ways in this world to promote those ideals, bringing us back down to our life mission in this earthly world. After we have ascended and “returned” to our souls we then also “return” to this earthly world, however now with divine inspiration, full of meaning and purpose. Now, we are able to look upon on our mission and the world with full honesty and humility before the Godly Light that has inspired us. Is there a name for this “upper hemisphere” of consciousness we have described here, where one “basks in the Godly Light”?
From the month of Elul till Hoshana Raba we say after our prayers Tehilim 27 which says: “” If only I could believe to see the goodness of Hashem in the Land of the Living.” The words “If only” – Luleh – spell out “Elul” in opposite order. Sometimes we enter the atmosphere of Elul in opposite order, i.e by first experiencing the tribulations of life which awaken us to the spirit of return to HaShem. Nevertheless, whatever the order, the light of return will come and will redeem us and our People to realize the “Land of the Living,” which according to the Kabbalists is identified with the World of Teshuva, we shortly described here. With this, another interpretation of the “Land of the Living” is the Land of Israel. Indeed, this parsha highlights the connection between the return to the Land of Israel and the return to Hashem through Teshuva in “Parshat HaTeshuva”, which talks about the ingathering of exiles to the Holy Land and the repentance that will occur with this event. This connection is obvious when we understand that the return to the Land of Israel is the return to the Holy Presence which rests in this Holy Land. Beautifully, not only is the return to the Holy Land a return to the “upper hemsphere” in theLight of the Holy Presence, but at the same time is also a return to this earthly world, “the lower hemisphere” for the purpose and mission of each individual and also for the mission of our People upon the universe at large. This of course is the message of Hebron, the City that Unites the Lower and Upper “Lands” (“hemispheres”), Beacon of the Holy Land.
One of the families of Hebron that demonstrated its dedication to the Land of Israel was the Mosayov family. Rabbi Moshe Mosayov decided to ascend to the Land of Israel from Shklow of Russia in 5538 (1778) with the Lubavitch Hasidim, a journey which took him more than a year (!) after many troubles. It is told that he was a God-fearing Torah scholar and one of the affluent and wealthy members of his community. Before moving to the Land of Israel he asked his friends for their opinion. To this they answered: “No! You are still young, about 40 years of age, and why should you move to the Holy Land where only the elderly move to, in order to die within it as the verse says the “Land will atone for them (by burial).” However, Rabbi Moshe asked for the advice of the Baal HaTanya zt”l who answered: “Better to live just 30 days in the Land of Israel, than 30 years in the Diaspora…” And so it was, Rabbi Moshe moved to the Land of Israel and after 30 days there passed away and was buried in Tiberias. His son Rabbi Hayim moved to Hebron with the Lubavitch Hasidim. Rabbi Hayim, who went in his father’s footsteps in his pious behavior, also endeared the Holy Land, not even leaving the Land of Israel even for one day for business in Syria, even at a loss of money. Rabbi Hayim’s son, Yosef was a great and pious Torah scholar, and he was very active and distinguished in Hebron, but his story we will tell another time, b”h…
Real Stories from the Holy Land #279
This week, I encourage you to tell your own personal story to family and/or friends!
Sources: Sefer Hebron pp. 155-156
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