By: Terry Duffy
that a loved one, someone who loves you with all his heart,
his soul, and all his might, gives you a very special gift.
value of the gift is unimportant. The specific event that was
of this gift is not important either. What is important is this
gift and the love that it represents.
few months ago I asked a friend if I could borrow a certain
hers. I did not know that that particular book was a very special
her beloved. The gift had become a symbol, in a sense, of their
She did lend me the book. I took exceptional care while reading
returned it, unblemished, as quickly as I could.
I asked my friend to lend me the book, she did not offer to
to me, which she might have done if it had held no particular
her. Neither did she offer to let me use it in whatever way
I wanted, say,
to cut pages out for my research. Making any marks on the paper,
how light, were out of the question.
humans are created in GD's image. Shouldn't we assume that GD
similarly about the special gifts He generously bestows upon
us? Does not GD
want His gifts to His people, Israel, cherished in the same
way that we
cherish gifts from our mere mortal loved ones?...
most precious gift, the Torah, transcends time and space. GD's
of the Land of Israel to His people Israel likewise transcends
of time. That Land is His gift to us for all time, whether we
inhabit it in
whole or in part, or not at all. Even when we are banished from
the Land, or
are in voluntary exile, the Land belongs to the children of
Israel. If we
take care of the Land and act in accord with the Teachings of
the Giver, then
the Land will flow with milk and honey. If we choose not to
gift, perhaps by giving parts of it away, GD will wait for us
to return to
our senses. He will help us return to the Land. Our GD is a
GD of infinite
patience and forgiveness, waiting for us to make ourselves complete,
land which is ours.
of the Land is at the center of issues of war and peace, but
peace is something that cannot be bought and cannot be traded.
Peace is a
state of mind. How could the leveling of the Maon Farm, for
either side to surrender his guard and trust the other? At the
demands of Arafat, hundreds and hundreds of Jewish police destroyed
tiny Jewish community, bulldozing its synagogue as well as its
homes, causing a Torah to be evacuated, and the residents, even
children, to be dragged off, for the sake of peace!
trade you one destroyed Jewish community for thirteen kilos
trust and peace of mind? No, I don't think so.
wanting to believe that we can put our minds and hearts at peace
performing acts of destruction on ourselves, by openly declaring
ourselves, who are we kidding? What kind of "peace"
partner would even ask
that of us? No, the opposite of peace is not war; the opposite
of peace is
fear. By attacking parts of our own community, as at Maon Farm,
seeds of despair throughout the land. What kind of peace, then,
then, do we deal with disputes? Take one example from Bereshit
Vayera. Abimelech demanded a vow of Abraham in return for allowing
to live on his land. Abraham swore that he and his family would
and decent lives. Abraham never asked Abimelech to make the
Servants of Abimelech then seized a well of Abraham's. Rather
than dwell on
the outrage, Abraham gave Abimelech a generous portion of sheep
and Abraham and Abimelech sealed the deal. Abraham went further
establishing a right to his own well for generations to come.
In front of
all to witness, he added seven ewes to the already generous
The conflict was resolved, not by giving away land, in small
pieces or large.
Abraham gave of his personal property, not his land. Abraham
ways. He trusted that GD would always provide what Abraham needed.
resolve a dispute, Abraham dealt generously and paid and overpaid
possession of his own well.
message is clear. The Land of Israel is not negotiable. GD gave
of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people in trust for all
time. If we
bring merit by our six days of labor, then GD will deal kindly
with us and
grant us our shabbos of peace. If we choose to destroy ourselves
we bring upon ourselves fear and despair. Our actions determine
our peace or
our punishment. How to negotiate disputes with our neighbors
is part of
life. The Torah teaches that we must deal kindly and pay generously.
we pay, GD will provide. However, the Land of Israel is not
the payment package. We cannot give away any of GD's Land, our