Parshat Shoftim By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס”ד
לשכנו תדרשו Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
The People of Israel were commanded to appoint a king upon them specifically upon entering the Land. This may be explained simply by saying that it is specifically in the Land of Israel that political sovereignty is so important, in order to safeguard the Land of Israel in the hands of the People of Israel. On a deeper level it is in the Land of Israel that Hashem’s Majesty and Kingship is manifest in the form of the Holy Presence, and therefore it is clear why the commandment to appoint a king is tied to this Land.
One of the more pivotal moves in the development of the monarchy/sovereignty of Israel in the Land of Israel was when King David, the forerunner of Mashiach, moved to Hebron to become king upon all Israel, according to Hashem’s order. It is here in Hebron that King David succeeded in uniting all Israel under one central leadership, after a civil war and considerable tension with the previous ruling King Saul. This episode teaches us the great potential of Hebron, as its name implies – “hibur=unity”, in uniting all Israel. The unity inherent in Hebron is also tied to the fact that here are buried the roots of all Israel, the holy Patriarchs and Matriarchs. In addition, Hebron is the Beacon of Holy Land, inspiring us with the value of the Holy Land as in the episode of Kaleb, and it is specifically in the Holy Land that “the People are one in the Land,” as we have discussed in the past. This unity, of course, is dependent on listening to the word of Hashem, as we can learn from the teachings of the Torah and the righteous, as David was ordered by Hashem to rule in Hebron. If the power of Hebron is misused, such as was the case in the rebellion of Avimelech against his father, the uniting power of Hebron may be used to tie together groups against other groups, ultimately severing the People, God-forbid. An important way of tapping into the positive power of Hebron is by “listening to the word of Hashem” especially in all matters that pertain to the ways/laws of peace and proper conduct between fellow-Jews, in thought, speech, and action.
Real Stories from the Holy Land
Ester Mendelevitch became famous for her cooking and baking in Hebron. Therefore, she decided to open a small inn for visitors in Hebron. One day, one member of the illustrious Sassoon family, entered Ester’s inn and found there specially engraved eggs that Ester’s husband, R’ Zalman, had engraved with the entire book of Ester in miniscule print. Impressed by this, he asked to buy these eggs, which he paid for with a large sum. Sassoon brought these eggs to England. Many months passed. One day, the Mendelevitch family received a letter from the Queen of England signed in her own hand. In the letter, the Queen expressed her wish that she be able to see the process of the miniscule writing on the eggs she had seen by Sassoon. Therefore, the Queen added, she hereby invites the entire Mendelevitch family to her palace in England to stay there for their entire visit in England… Nevertheless, R’ Zalman, a Lubavitcher Hasid, refused to do so – would he leave the Land of Israel for England due to the invitation from a “woman from England”?… Thus, the letter remained in the Mendelevitch’s archives and, after R’ Zalman’s passing, was burned in “biur hametz” on Erev Pesach.
Source: Sefer Hebron p. 396-7