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Love This Land 803 words
"Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts. We are beginning the final approach to landing."
The passengers begin to gather up their belongings.
"Areleh, do you have everything?"
"I think so, Imma."
"Check around your seat just to be sure."
Areleh and his parents have three seats together, and Areleh is next to the window. He looks out, straining to see the ground below.
"What do you see, Areleh?" his father asks.
"I see the ocean."
"Do you see any land?"
"Yes, Abba! Off in the distance I can see the Land! I am so excited!"
The airplane continues its descent, slowing down all the time. Now the Land is in plain view.
"There it is, Abba! The holy Land of Eretz Yisrael! What a zechus (merit) we have to be able to come to this Land."
"Areleh, you are such a pure neshama (soul). For two thousand years, our fathers yearned to come here. They dreamed about it. They prayed for it. They sang about it. Now, we just need to buy a ticket, get on the plane, and in no time we are in the Holy Land."
Areleh's mother's eyes begin to moisten. The airplane reaches the beginning of the runway. It descends the last few feet and its wheels gently touch the tarmac. Areleh's parents are overcome with emotion. They begin crying.
"We are here. We are here. We are finally here."
"I love this Land. I love this Land."
"We thank You, Hashem, our G-d, because You have given an inheritance to our forefathers - a land which is desirable, good, and spacious."ii Second blessing of Bircas HaMazone Yehoshua composed this blessing when Klal Yisrael entered the Land of Israel.iii Gemora Brachos 48b He saw how much Moshe wanted to enter the Land, and how anxious the Avos were to be buried there. Therefore, when Yehoshua was privileged to enter the Holy Land, he composed this blessing in its honor.iiii Artscroll Siddur in the name of Shibolei HaLeket
The Land of Israel is referred to as "chemda" - cherished. The Novi declares, "I gave you a cherished land, the heritage coveted by the multitudes of nations."iiv Yirmiyahu 3:19 The Medrashvv Shemos Rabba 32:2 asks, "Why is it called a cherished land? Because the Beis HaMikdash was placed within it." The Medrash offers a second answer - all of the kings coveted it. The distance between Hai and Yericho (two cities near the border) was three mil (about 2˝ miles).
Notwithstanding its small size, many kings owned small parcels of land in this tiny area. [Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai taught, "Any king or ruler that did not have an embassy in the Land said, 'I am not worth anything'"vvi Bereshis Rabba 85:14]. A third answer - the Avos desired this land because they will be living there in the days of Moshiach. Even the Almighty cherishes this Land, as the Medrashvvii Tanchuma Masei 6 relates, "The Holy One Blessed be He said, 'Eretz Yisrael is more cherished than everything. Why? I sought it out.' As the verse states, 'To the Land that I had sought out for them.'"vviii Yechezkel 20:6 Another Medrashiix Bamidbar Rabba 23:7 adds, "Hashem said to Moshe, 'Yes, the Land is cherished to Me, as the verse states, "A Land that Hashem, your G-d seeks out; the eyes of Hashem your G-d are always upon it." And Yisrael are cherished to Me, as the verse states, "Rather, because of Hashem's love for you."' Hashem said, "I will bring My cherished nation Yisrael, into My cherished land, as it says, 'Because you are coming into the land of Canaan.'"
The Land is then called good and spacious. This praise is found in the verse, "…I will bring (the nation) up to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey…"xx Shemos 3:8 The Ramban elucidates this verse as follows. Firstly, the Land is praised because it is good - meaning that the air is good and beneficial for people and all good things are found there. Additionally, it is spacious - all of Klal Yisrael can settle there comfortably. It has spacious plains - low, deep and flat - large and small. It is good grazing land, with good pastures, pure water, and clean air. What a valuable inheritance we have! The Land of Israel! Our precious gift from Hashem.
Kinderlach . . .
We owe a big thanks to Hashem for His special gift to us - the Holy Land - Eretz Yisrael. From ancient times, the nations of the world have desired our Land. It contains the site of the Beis HaMikdash and the graves of the Avos. The Land is good for both people and livestock; it is spacious and flowing with milk and honey. Hashem Himself treasures this Land and always watches it (so to speak). We are very privileged that He gave this prized possession to us, His cherished nation. Thank you Hashem for the Holy Land - Eretz Yisrael!
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