Parashat Chayai Sarah 5774 Part A: The major theme of my 3-volume book “With All Your Might” is the centrality of Eretz Yisrael in every parasha of the Torah. The Torah was given to the Jewish people to be kept in an intimate one-to-one relationship with HaShem within a national framework headed by a king, kohen gadol, Sanhedrin and prophets – all within the confines of the borders of Hashem’s holy land. There is a pasuk (verse) in our parasha which proclaims the eternal connection we have with Eretz Yisrael. When Eliezer asks Avraham regarding what he should do if no young woman from Avraham’s family agrees to come to Eretz Yisrael, Avraham answers emphatically (24,6):
ויאמר אליו אברהם השמר לך פן תשיב את בני שמה :
And Avraham said to him, “Be aware never to return my son there!”
Part B: Several months ago, four men from the city of Atlit entered my bet knesset and began talking about the sanctity of Medinat Yisrael and Yerushalayim. They dressed and spoke like the average Israeli and were enthusiastic about their visit to the Old City and the fact that they were part of the kedusha of the Holy City, sitting no more than 100 meters from the place where the Bet Hamikdash once stood and will again stand. For some unexplainable reason, I told them the following: Eretz Yisrael has four recorded names in our sources: 1- Eretz Yisrael 2- Eretz Tzvi (beautiful) 3- Eretz Chemda (desired) 4- Eretz HaKodesh The first letter of the four Hebrew names ישראל, צ בי, ח מדה, ק ודש spells out the word יצחק And Yitzchak never left Eretz Yisrael. They got up, said goodbye and left the bet knesset. A moment later, one of the men returned and said: “I am discussing marriage with a Jewish woman who lives in New York, but her condition is we live in the United States. Because of what you told us today, I have decided to leave her but never to leave Eretz Yisrael – and my name is Yitzchak!” Part C: To understand what happened that instantaneously changed this man’s future, we must go to our parasha. Lavan and his mother did not want the young and beautiful Rivka to leave because of family reasons and because they, being loyal idol worshipers, did not want her to become part of the new, revolutionary monotheistic movement headed by their relative Avraham. When Eliezer requested to take Rivka back to Eretz Yisrael, Lavan and the mother replied (24,57-58):
ויקראו לרבקה ויאמרו אליה התלכי עם האיש הזה ותאמר אלך:
Then they (Lavan and his mother) said, “We will call the young girl and ask her. So they called Rivka and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” And she replied, “I will go”.