Jewish Nationality

July 21, 2015 at 1:44 AM , ,

“…Hashem, our G-d, spoke to us in Chorev, saying, “Your stay at this mountain has been plenty for you”… Devarim 1:6

ה’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ דִּבֶּר אֵלֵינוּ בְּחֹרֵב לֵאמֹר רַב לָכֶם שֶׁבֶת בָּהָר הַזֶּה – דברים א, ו

Moshe recounted to Bnei Yisrael that, if not for the episode of the Spies, G-d would have brought them into the Land of Israel thirty-nine years earlier. “Hashem, our G-d spoke to us at Chorev—Mount Sinai—saying, “Your stay at this mountain has been plenty for you. Turn away and journey… Come and possess the land that G-d promised to your fathers.”

The phrase, “your stay at this mountain has been plenty for you,” is interpreted by Rashi as an allusion to the spiritual wealth that Bnei Yisrael accumulated at Mount Sinai. “Your residence at this mountain has brought you much greatness and reward. You made a Mishkan, the menorah, and other furnishings; you received the Torah; you appointed a Sanhedrin for yourselves…”

Jewish Nationality

This explanation complements the simple meaning of the phrase, “Your stay has been plenty for you,” which is that G-d regarded Bnei Yisrael’s continued stay of at Mount Sinai as excessive because He was eager for them to advance and enter the Promised Land. For unlike other nations that are formed when a group of people take possession of a particular territory and inhabit it, Jewish nationality is defined by our spiritual identity as “a holy nation” (Shemos 19:6), in reward for which G-d grants us the Land of Israel. Thus, the spiritual “plenty” that Bnei Yisrael amassed at Mount Sinai is what caused that “Your stay at this mountain has been plenty,” i.e. G-d’s eagerness to bring them into the Land.

Moreover, the verse continues, “Come and possess the land!” As Rashi (1:8) explains, this means, “No one will contest the matter, and you will not need to go to war.” For in the words of the Midrash (Tanchuma, Re’eh 8), “G-d chose the Land of Israel as His portion …and the Jewish people as His portion… It is befitting that His portion inherit in His portion.” Therefore,having established themselves as a holy nation through the spiritual wealth they acquired at Mount Sinai, Bnei Yisrael were ready to enter the Land unopposed, and to easily take possession of the land that was essentially theirs.

—Likutei Sichos, vol. 24, pp. 14-19

 

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