On that day, God
made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far asthe great river, the Euphrates. The land of the Kenites, Kenizites,Kadmonites, the Chitties, Perizites, Refaim, the Emorites, Canaanites,Gigashites and Yevusites.”
“And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your temporary residence, all the land of Canaan as an eternal possession and I will be a God to them.”
We say that Judaism encompasses three core ideas: God, Torah and theLand of Israel. The Land of Israel is not a pay off. God did not say toAbraham: “Support me and if monotheism spreads throughout the world, Iwill give you a good piece of real estate for your own.” God gave Abrahamand his family the Land of Israel as a unique homeland where hisdescendants are supposed to create the model nation for the world.The Land of Israel is a special place; it’s the only place on the planet earthwhere the Jewish people can achieve their mission. The model nationcannot come to be anywhere else. So, it is very important to understandthe Jewish relationship with the land.
A Sensitive Place
And because it’s a special place, a spiritually sensitive place, a place of tremendous potential, it’s also a place where one has to behave in a specialmanner. As Moses told the Jews just before they were to cross its borders:
“For the land to which you come to possess – it is not like the land of Egypt that you left… the eyes of the Lord, your God, are always uponit, from the beginning of the year to the year’s end.”