The most urgent need of our time is education and education begins with our ancestor Abraham and his
Hebron Heritage - Remarks delivered by Rabbi Eli Horowitz in his lectures to Jewish communities in the United States.
"And he said to Abram," Get up and walk in the land, for I will give you ...
And Abram went out, and came and sat down in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron "(Genesis 13)
Why did Abraham command to go through the land? What was the meaning of his residence in Hebron?
We find a Talmudic controversy regarding the first question. Rabbi Elazar explains that Avraham was required to take over the Land of Israel. Walking in the field was a legally binding means of purchase. Rabbi Elazar's colleagues do not agree. In their opinion, you can only purchase a trail or crossing this way. The Land of Israel, the permanent abode of a nation, requires other means of purchase.
What was the purpose of Abraham's walk then? "Arise, walk in the land... It will make the conquest of your sons' land comfortable" (Baba Batra, page K).
What is the meaning of our sages in this encrypted statement? How will Abraham's walk lead to the conquest of the Land of Israel by the children of Israel in the years to come? Several interpretations have been brought up.
Some see this as the establishment from the historical precedence of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel. Avraham is actually required to sue the land, in order to deal with all future accusations that Avraham's sons are foreigners in the land, that they recently arrived in Israel.
Others see a deeper meaning, in the words of our sages, "The deeds of the fathers are a sign to the sons." Not only symbolically, but in practice, there is meaning for the lives of the fathers and the deeds of the fathers for us. This view sees the existence of Israel as a historical continuum - the first generations are the nation in its embryonic stage, the later generations - the nation is full of the development of this seed.
Hence the importance of establishing our connection with the Land of Israel from the beginning.
There is a third explanation, deeper and more comprehensive than those already given, an explanation that brings us together with the spirit of Abraham and the spirit of Hebron. Abraham's character traits flourished on the land of Hebron. He was a spiritual giant, a man whose moral character was unmatched. His home was a source of warmth and support for all, the needy and the homeless, the poor in mind and body.
The Torah describes the visit of three men who appear to Abraham as idolaters (Arabs whose deity was the dust on their feet, no less). Abraham, who believes in God as one and only, accepts them, not as enemies, but with true respect, grace and love.
When Abraham learns that God is about to destroy the wicked Sodomites, he pours out his heart in prayer so that he will be spared them.
The belief of our ancestor Abraham in the good inherent in man knows no bounds. His love, is pure and it is comprehensive and unlimited. And together with his faith and love, a strong desire to bring peace and fulfillment to humanity.
No philosophical humanism can come close to the depth of the good that emanates from the heart of Abraham, and his full glass of this good overflows. Abraham is not satisfied - can not be satisfied - in part. He is the only person whose time will come. He is a single person whose powers are limited, one soul, alone, can not raise the human family.
One intellect, no matter how great, can extricate the nations of the world from the abundant mud and ignorance. For man is a social animal, as the ancient philosophers predicted. He finds meaning in life, even in his personal life, in the context of social, ethnic, racial, national organizations, and so on.
The redemption of man, the realization of the divine spark within him, the emergence of a new world order, goodwill for all, peace, equality and social justice, are not only a utopian pipe dream, but also not the commodity marketed on the too simple plains of modern politicians.
A nation must come out on earth, an eternal people, imbued with the moral spirit of Abraham in Hebron, and guided by the divine commandments that fully express that spirit. The will of God and the vision of Abraham are united in the creation of the people of Israel. Not an individual, or a group of individuals, but a blessed nation in the faith of our ancestor Abraham.
A nation among nations, unique and distinct, but connected to nations, just as the heart is connected to the body.
In other words: political and military power, a healthy economy, a thriving industry and agriculture. Proud, healthy, self-aware people who are connected to all the length and breadth of their land that God has given them. These qualities are the body of the people of Israel who come to life when the soul of the Torah is breathed into it.
This organic unity of body and soul, will breathe life and light into the human family. Here we have the ultimate morality, the deepest ethical imperative imaginable. According to the law of nature, or perhaps, according to the imperceptible divine will order.
The larger the goal, the greater the obstacles to achieving it.
We are commanded that the Land of Israel be the sovereign property of the Jewish people, that it not be handed over to another nation or that we leave it in the wilderness. Only in this state will the Spirit of Israel reveal itself fully, for the benefit and blessing of all mankind.
But the Land of Israel does not return to construction on a silver platter. In ancient times and in our age, enemies arise that will not stop anything in order to prevent the fusion of nation and land, in order to interfere with the realization of eternal love between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel.
The success of our mission depends on the "conquest of the boys." Conquest means war. War means daring and ingenuity, the victory of the victors.
The agony of bereavement - means stubbornness and determination, sorrow and tears.
The face of the war is many and varied. The heroic strikes us with awe, but neither can we ignore the ugliness and the corrupt. For the people of Israel, a people dedicated by its very nature to bringing happiness and relief to man, war can never be an abominable need, war is never blessed, never easy.
However, the difficulty or ease with which we understand our divine connection with the Land of Israel is not defined in advance. The "conquest of the boys" depends on the views of those boys.
If we, the boys, see ourselves as only a more modern one, struggling for our own existence, even at the expense of our neighbors, we will find our sovereignty in the Land of Israel (or perhaps it should be said: in Palestine) a very difficult task.
We will find ourselves making "concessions" to appease our "depressed" neighbors (or perhaps to appease our battered consciences). We will call the lands of our beloved country "territories" and deny any deep-rooted affection for our country.
The longing of generations will be forgotten in the face of political viability and a global economy, a new world order with a new Israel, as Hong Kong or Las Vegas of the Middle East.
On the other hand, if we understand that the "conquest of the sons is a direct continuation" of Abraham's walk in the length and breadth "of Abraham, if we understand that our sovereignty in the land of Israel stems from the spirit of grace and love that filled our first father's heart,
If we understand that the 3,700 years of our national existence were not meant to reach the peak of the United States in a second degree, but to fulfill Abraham's dream and the commandment of Gd - to be a great people in the Land of Israel and a blessing to the human family, then, and only then, The power and wisdom to fulfill our divine commitment.
"Arise, walk in the land..." So that your conquest by your sons would be easy. The gate to success lies in the hearts and minds of the younger generation.
The most urgent need of our time is education - deeper and more comprehensive than ever. And education begins with our ancestor Abraham and his spirit dwelling in Hebron.
Rabbi Eli Horowitz