Sunday is the 26
of Cheshvan Hatikvah
was written by the poetNaftali Herz Imber in 1878, but only in 2004 was it officially named asthe national anthem of the State of Israel. Imber composed a poem of nine verses, named
(OurHope), of which the two first verses(with slight changes) comprise thesong we know as
. In 1886,Shemuel Cohen, a farmer fromRishon l'Tzion, put Imber's poem toa tune based upon a Moldovan songhe knew from his youth.
evolved through severalstages before becoming the nationalanthem. Rechovot adopted
for itself. The song wasalso published outside of Israel, in1895, under the title
(Yearning). In the same year, thesong was published in Israel in acollection of "Zionist songs", underthe name of
(The Hope).Imber unsuccessfully promoted
as the Zionistmovement's official song before thefifth World Zionist Congress. In1903, though, the song wasapproved at the sixth World ZionistCongress, largely in response to themovement to establish a nationalhomeland in Uganda. The verse,"the eye looks toward Zion" took onnew meaning for the opponents of the Uganda initiative. Beginningwith the eighth Congress, the newly named
was sung at theclose of each Congress; theeighteenth Congress, in 1933,initiated the practice of standing forthe song.At the opening of the formaldeclaration of nationalindependence in 1948, all thosepresent sang
. Unlike theflag and emblematic menorah,though, which were enshrined asnational symbols in 1949, the legalstatus of
was not raiseduntil 1996. Even then,
was only discussed as part of aformalization of rituals for theopening of a Knesset session. Onthe 26
of Cheshvan, 2004, theKnesset re-titled the "Flag andEmblem Law" as the "Flag, Emblemand National Anthem Law", naming
as the national anthem.
Yitzchak haKohen (aka Ishtori) benMoshe was born in Florenzia, Spain in1280, to a scholarly family. Hisgrandfather published works on the Torah's financial laws, and is cited by the Meiri and Sefer haTorah. Many otherfamily members also authored books on Jewish law. Rabbi Yitzchak adopted thelast name "HaParchi"
"of the flower"
because of his hometown's name.Educated in yeshivot in France, RabbiYitzchak lived there until Jews wereexpelled by King Phillip in 1306. Hethen travelled to Spain, and then Egypt,before ascending to Israel. He settled inBeit She'an, where he practiced as aphysician; he was learned in varioussecular fields, including linguistics,philosophy and astronomy.In 1322, Rabbi Yitzchak wrote the firstformal book of Israeli geography,
; the text was first printed inVenice in 1549. Rabbi Yitzchak's goalwas to describe the topography andtowns of Israel based on his first-personvisits. In a sense, Rabbi Yitzchakfollowed in the footsteps of RabbiBenjamin of Tudela and other travelersto Israel who recorded their journeys,but Rabbi Yitzchak travelled the entireland for thorough research, and heaimed to describe more than geography.
notes the various levelsof sanctity of different parts of the land,with their associated laws, principally following the views of Rambam. RabbiYitzchak also depicted types of florafound in the Talmud, and he describedthe various weights and measures usedin Jewish law. The customs of Jewishcommunities in Israel are also recordedin
.Rabbi Yitzchak wrote other works onmedicine, ethics and philosophy, untilhe passed away in 1355, but he isprincipally known for
The sanctity of the land and its stature beganfrom the time it was given to our holy ancestors, not only from the time of conquest. And so Bereishit 40:15 says, "fromthe land of the Hebrews", and Bereishit 48:21says, "And He will restore you to the land of your ancestors." The word "Hebrews" is notabout the "other side [
]" of theEuphrates, but rather the name of Ever, theson of Shem, as Ibn Ezra (Shemot 21:2)wrote.Ibn Ezra also wrote that the purchase of theCave of Machpelah by Avraham is recordedin order to inform us of the advantage of theLand of Israel over other lands for both theliving and the deceased. And regardingBereishit 33:19, "And [Yaakov] acquired theportion of the field," he wrote, "This ismentioned in the Torah to inform us that theLand of Israel has a great advantage, andpossession of a portion there is likepossession of a portion in the Next World." The same is true in Bereishit 50:24, "I willbring you up from this land, to the land Iswore to give to Avraham, to Yitzchak and toYaakov."And so in Bereishit 15:18, "On that day G-dexecuted a covenant with Avram, saying, 'To your seed I will give this land, from the riverof Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates."From that time Avraham acquired it for all of his descendants, for at that awesomeencounter G-d told him (Bereishit 15:13),"Know that your descendants will be
strangers in a land that is not theirs… and
the fourth generation will return here." If so,then when they are yet in their oppressionand slavery during those four hundred years,this land
the land of the Emorites
theirs, and Egypt is not theirs…
In truth, the obligation to give the land's
tithes began only from the time of conquest…
However, regarding mitzvot which are notland-dependent, like the fruit of the fields, itwas sanctified from that time. This is why thesages say that Bereishit 12:2, "And I willmake you a great nation," applied only inIsrael. And so the Euphrates was called "thegreat river" (Bereishit 15:8); it was only called"great" because of its association with the[already sanctified] Land of Israel. It wouldnot have been called "great" because of thefuture.
This Week inIsraeli History
Cheshvan 26, 2004
Torah in Translation
The Sanctity of Israel
Rabbi Yitzchak HaParchi
Kaftor vaFerach 10
Translated by R’ Mordechai Torczyner
This is also seen from Menachot 84a, "R'Yosi b"R' Yehudah said: The
grainmay come from outside Israel. Why doesthe Torah say [regarding the
],'When you enter the land'? They were notobligated in the
entered the land…" We see that they
made the same deduction [that theobligations associated with the land of Israel began only with the entry of the Jewish nation into the land].
Biography: Rabbi Yitzchak haParchi
R’ Mordechai Torczyner
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