By Moshe Feiglin
“And you shall inherit the Land, and dwell in it; for to you have I given the Land to possess it. And you shall inherit the land by lot according to your families, to the more you shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer you shall give the less inheritance; wherever the lot falls to any man, that shall be his; according to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit.” (From this week’s Torah portion, Mas’ei, Numbers 33:53-54)
When a modern Jew in Israel reads the words, “And you shall inherit the Land” he understands that this is a directive to put the Land of Israel under the sovereignty of the State of Israel. The way we are used to looking at it, actualization of national sovereignty is the responsibility of the nation state. From the verses in this week’s Torah portion, however, it looks like that assumption is incorrect. It is the State’s responsibility to conquer the Land and to drive out the enemy. But actualization of the bond between the Land and the Nation is not complete until the Land becomes the personal inheritance of every Jew. The Land of Israel belongs to the Nation of Israel; not only on the national level but also on the personal level. “And you shall inherit the Land – by lot, according to your families.”
The bond between a Jew and his Land is holy, similar to the bond of marriage. The Torah commands the relative of a person who loses his property to be the first to buy his lot so that his inheritance will remain inside the family. Further, he is directed to re-sell the lot to its original owner at the first opportunity.
Israel’s current situation, in which 93% of the Nation’s land is in the hands of the State, opposes this Torah directive and the Return to Zion message of world liberty. This is the real reason for the housing crisis and the pervasive feeling of servitude experienced by the Israeli public.