What Should God Have Said to Jacob?
One of God’s most significant revelations to man was His revelation to Jacob our forefather upon his arrival to Bet El. “And he lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it, and said: I am the Lord of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac” (Genesis 28:11-13). At this point we would expect to hear what this important, significant, and essential message God has to say to Jacob is.
If we were to stop for a second and ask various, present-day groups what they think God should say to Jacob, apparently we would get differing answers. The Jews of Lithuanian descent would say: “Study the Talmud in depth until you become a ‘ben Torah’.” The Hassidim would say: “Strengthen yourself in ‘emunah’ (faith) and serving God in happiness.” Members of the Shas party would say: “Learn practical ‘halacha’ according to the technique of Maran (Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef).” Those who grew-up in Bnei Akiva would say: “Love thy neighbor as yourself.” The modern Orthodox would say: “Derech eretz (good manners) precedes Torah.” People from the world of academia would say: “Insist on being a pluralist, and cast doubt on every undisputable position.” The feminists would say: “Empower femininity, and stop oppressing women.”
What God Said to Jacob
However, God said: “I will give to you and your descendants the land upon which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth. You shall spread out to the west, to the east, to the north, and to the south.” And consequently, “All the families on earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.” This is God’s revelation. Indeed, through this revelation, Jacob our forefather realized the magnitude of the holiness of the land, as he said: “God is truly in this place, but I did not know it. He was frightened. How awe-inspiring this place is! He exclaimed. It must be God’s temple. It is the gate to heaven!” (Genesis 28:13-17).
Perhaps, the members of the various groups would claim that, indeed, in this instance, God did speak about the land of Israel; however there are other revelations and other verses. Well, here’s another example: in God’s revelation to Jacob after his return to Israel, which also was in Bet El, it was said to Jacob: “Be fruitful and increase. A nation and community of nations will come into existence from you. Kings will be born from your loins. I will grant you the land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac. I will also give the land to your descendants who will follow you.” (Genesis 35:11-12). Thus it was with all the revelations to Jacob – God always spoke about the land of Israel – in Haran (Genesis 31:3), and when Jacob was about to go down to Egypt (Genesis 46:2-4).
What Would They Say Today?
What would reporters from the newspapers “Yeted Ne’eman” (Lithuanian/Haredi) and “Yom l’ Yom” (Shas) have to say about this? If it weren’t written explicitly, they would simply report that God said to learn Talmud in depth, or to learn practical ‘halacha’. However, the verses are explicitly written, therefore they say that the most important thing is to listen to the ‘gedolim’ (Torah giants) who say that left is right. For the reporters from the Hassidic newspaper “Hamodia” this does not present a problem: they explain that the word ‘eretz’ (land) in a sense means ‘ratzon’ (desire), and ‘Yisrael’ in a sense means ‘d’vaykut’ (cleaving), and consequently, there’s no need for the land of Israel. Then there are ‘important’ political wheeler-dealers who feel there is a significant hint hidden here, that God gave the land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in order that their ‘holy’ descendants could relinquish and sell it for coalition agreements, receiving in its stead, money for Talmud Torah institutes and mikva’s.
Graduates of B’nei Akiva would be in doubt, thinking that maybe for the sake of unity we should concede to the leftists. The modern Orthodox say that it is impossible to stand against the entire world. The members of academia say that today, it is doubtful whether or not there is a mitzvah to settle the land; there are differing opinions and versions – and in any case, there are seventy faces to the Torah. The feminists would also agree.
However, the honest people – religious, Haredi, and traditional, realize the enormity of the holiness and value of the Land of Israel, and make efforts of total devotion and self-sacrifice to settle it.
Be Fruitful and Multiply
In contradiction to the weakness of the government, who decreed to freeze building in Judea and Samaria, we must draw strength from the true words of the Torah, and pay attention to the profound advice which God said to Jacob: “Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth. You shall spread out to the west, to the east, to the north, and to the south.” And it is written (Genesis 35:11): “Be fruitful and increase…I will grant you the land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac. I will also give the land to your descendants who will follow you.” In other words, by having large families, blessed with many sons and daughters, grandsons and grand-daughters, like the dust of the earth, will we inherit the land, spreading out to the west, east, north, and south. This is similar to what is written in the prophecy of Ezekiel to the barren mountains of Israel, which the non-Jews made fun of their destruction and desolateness, by saying that days would come “and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the waste places rebuilt: and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times…and I will cause men to walk upon you, my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of children” (Ezekiel 36:10-12).
Like the Dust of the Earth
In order to merit the blessing of multiplicity, we must be ready to act humbly – like dust of the earth; to crowd together in order to raise more children, to give up on luxuries, all in order to raise large families. We must be ready to accept new families with open arms. Small apartments should be created within lager houses for the next generation to live in. If we were willing to live in the settlements as crowded together as people live in middle-class cities and neighborhoods, we could house 600,000 people in Judea and Samaria instead of 300,000. If we were willing to crowd together like they do in Mea She’arim, we could house 900,000 people.
The main thing is to be ready to hold tight to the land like dust of the earth, in a way that even if we are trampled upon, we will continue to be fruitful and multiply. Then, those who cruelly trampled on the settlement movement, which was established in the word of God through His servants the prophets, all of them will fall and be ashamed, and we will merit to multiply and spread out to the west, east, north, and south.
Prepare the Next Stage Now
Now is the time to wake-up in repentance and prepare detailed building programs for large and cheap housing, so that every young couple can purchase a house, under reasonable conditions, and raise a large family. Also, so that when, God willing, the building freeze is removed, construction can be started immediately. Thank God, this is how we have acted here on Har Bracha.
Therefore, in spite of the fact that the community is located on the front-line and in the depths of the Shomron, it has grown in eight years from 100 families to over 240 families, and presently, there are another 70 apartments being built.