What was the crime and sin of the Spies? They wanted to remain in the largest and greatest ‘kollel’ in the world. The head of the ‘kollel’ was Moshe Rabbeinu, may he rest in peace. The students did not need to worry about making a living or requesting money from donators or non-religious politicians. The Creator of the world Himself sent down ‘manna’ every morning from heaven, and quail in the evening. Their clothes and shoes remained beautiful and new. The children and wives did not complain about their father going off to ‘kollel’ without worrying about making a livelihood. On the other hand, if they went into the Land of Israel, they would encounter problems. They would have to plow and sow, harvest and grind, build houses and deal with setting up a government. What would be with the Torah? Therefore, when they saw that the Canaanites were strong and brave, they found a solution to the “problem”: “Pikuach nefesh!” (saving a life). Hurray! We can continue to learn Torah in ‘kollel’.
The Place of the Land of Israel
However, the Torah was given in order to be fulfilled in the Land, with all its physical realities. There are plenty of angels in the heavens, but God chose to give the Torah to Israel to be fulfilled in the Land. For this reason, God created the Land of Israel, which although it is physical, is also holy, and within it, it is possible to reveal the Torah. Through the revelation of holiness in the Land of Israel by the nation of Israel, the word of God is spread to the entire world. As it is written (Isaiah 2:3): “And many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Anyone who denies the centrality of the Land of Israel denies God and the Torah.
The Jews in the Diaspora and the Question of the Land of Israel
There have been Jews in the Diaspora who wanted to forget the Land of Israel, to stop feeling alien, to be integrated into their surroundings. However, the non-Jews would not allow them to forget the Land of Israel. “Jews to Palestine” they shouted at them. Many Jews in Germany said that if it was only possible to hide the issue of the Land of Israel from the world, salvation would come. The Jewish nation would be accepted amongst the nations and be able to influence them. The Reform movement even removed mention of the Land of Israel from their prayer books. After all these efforts – the Holocaust occurred.
The story is told about a Jewish village that, with great luck, was not attacked by a pogrom for decades. The goyim didn’t come to kill them or to steal their property; their daughters were not kidnapped and their wives were not raped. Behold, one day, as they read from the Torah, they came to the realization that in the end, the Jews would have to go to the Land of Israel. A great fear arose – what will be with their houses, their chickens, their cows, their vegetable gardens, and what about the good ties they forged with their non-Jewish neighbors? All of a sudden one of the Jews got up and comforted the crowd: “Just as God saved us from Pharaoh, so too will he save us from the decree of the Land of Israel.” It goes without saying that soon after, calamity arrived. For the Land of Israel is not the “problem”. It is the solution.
The Moral Problem
Certain ‘ethical’ people in the world accuse the State of Israel, saying: “You are robbers, for you have conquered the land of the Arabs.” Even Jews with moral sensitivities claim that “occupation corrupts”. If not for this primitive attachment to land and territory, wars would have stopped long ago, and we wouldn’t need to rule over other people. The world would view us as being ethical people, and we would be able to realize the wonderful society we dreamt about establishing, and all our surrounding Arab neighbors would learn from us how to establish an enlightened society. For the sake of this, a moral case must be found which nullifies the rights of the Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, and to find a suitable way to conceal the settlements from the world. Thus, the “problem” will be solved.
However, the true morality is to demand justice and not to surrender to the evil, the thieves and the extortionists. Therefore, the Land of Israel is not the “problem” to ethical living – it is the solution. It forces the honest, ethical people to be truly moral; not to be satisfied with naive clichés, but rather to delve into the depths of the problems and solve them.
America and the Entire World’s Problem
It’s unbelievable what “problems” the Land of Israel causes! The leaders of large and powerful countries occupy themselves with the question of whether or not houses should be built in the communities of Judea and Samaria. Is it permissible to build for “natural growth” or forbidden? Leaders, who have on their heads international economic problems, security issues of atomic weaponry and wars, nevertheless are debating and scattering declarations about the settlements. There are no other people in the world who live in their houses, go to work in the morning, raise families – and the entire world is engrossed with the “problem” they are causing. In order to grab a headline on one of the inner pages of some important newspaper, world rulers would have to murder hundreds of thousands of people. Here, a young couple gets married and goes to live in a mobile home, and the entire world deals with the “problem” they have created.
Even great America suffers from this “problem”. President Obama and his staff of Jewish advisors claim: If not for our support of Israel, we would merit sympathy amongst the Arab and Muslim countries. We could influence them, that instead of utilizing the treasures of oil to produce terrorists and terrorist attacks, they should invest in the development of science, society, and the economy of their countries. It’s only the “problem” of the Land of Israel which stands as an obstacle, keeping them angry and hateful. Let’s get rid of the “problem”, support the demands of the moderate Arabs, minimize the Land of Israel, uproot the settlements, and the world will begin to be a better place.
However, the Land of Israel is not the “problem”, it is the solution. If the Americans support the Arabs, they will not succeed in bringing quiet to the world and their moral and international status will be harmed, for America cannot fulfill the Arab aspiration to have Islam rule the world by sword. If, however, they tell the Arabs unhesitatingly that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish nation, the Arabs and Muslims will understand that they are faced with an ethical position that places clear borders – what is forbidden, and what is permitted. Then the world will be better off. The Land of Israel is not the problem, it is the solution.