Earn your Keep….

September 4, 2017 at 2:16 AM , , ,

“…And you shall come to the kohen who will be in those days, and say to him, “I declare today to Hashem, your G-d, that I have come to the land that G-d swore to our forefathers to give to us…” – Devarim 26:3

וּבָאתָ אֶל הַכֹּהֵן אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו הִגַּדְתִּי הַיּוֹם לַה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ כִּי בָאתִי אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע ה’ לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ לָתֶת לָנוּ – דברים כו, ג

When bringing Bikkurim, the first-ripened fruit, to the Beis Hamikdash, one must make a most unusual introduction before his gift is “admitted” by the Kohen. He announces, “I declare today that… I have come to the Land” – even if his ancestors came to Israel hundreds of years earlier and he’s lived there his entire life.

Earn your Keep

With these words, the presenter acknowledges that residence in the Land of Israel is unlike residence in any other land. The Torah warns in Vayikra (18:28), “let the land not vomit you out for having defiled it, as it vomited out the nation that preceded you.” This means that our stay in the Land of Israel must be constantly earned; each day that we dwell in this sacred space must be granted anew. (Moreover, even our personal merits are only enough in tandem with G-d’s promise to our forefathers.)

One can therefore rightfully declare that “today I have come to the Land” – my presence in Israel today is not simply a matter-of-fact, but rather something I have earned on this very day.


-Likutei Sichos, vol. 19, p. 521

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