Sunday, July 23, 2006

Why does P' Masei record the borders of Eretz Yisrael?

If you would have asked me, I would have guessed that Parshas Masei (ch 34) records the borders of Eretz Yisrael because Bnei Yisrael stood about to fulfill the mitzva of kibush ha'aretz and needed to know which lands are the 'chefza shel mitzva' for conquest. However, that is not what Rashi says! Rashi instead (34:2) writes that since there are certain mitzvos that are 'teluyos ba'aretz', which only apply in Eretz Yisrael, the Torah had to define the borders. Why didn't Rashi offer the reason of kibush ha'aretz? I did not see this issue raised by the meforshei Rashi.

8 comments:

  1. jeffrey smith10:22 PM

    Logically speaking, kibush ha'eretz is a mitzvah that can only be fulfilled in Eretz Yisrael, and therefore it is included in the class of mitzvot that are teluyos ha'eretz--so Rashi's statement would include kibush ha'eretz by implication.

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  2. Sorry, I don't but it. The term mitzvos teluyos b'aretz is almost always taken to mean terumos, ma'asros, etc. - agricultural laws.

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  3. jeffrey smith10:34 AM

    Before you can farm it, you must possess it...

    I understand your point, but I think my point still remains valid. Kibush ha'eretz can only be fulfilled in regards to land within in EY. (Or at least, please tell me how it could be fulfilled in regards to lands not inside EY!) And by defining the areas where mitzvos teluyos b'aretz is applicable, one is defining by implication the areas which were involved in fulfilling kibush ha'aretz.

    Also, this approach would put kibush ha'aretz into perspective: it is to be fulfilled not only because it is a mitzvah on its own, but also because it was a necessary pre-requisite to proper fulfillment of the agricultural mitzvot and the building of the Bet HaMikdash.

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  4. >>>Also, this approach would put kibush ha'aretz into perspective: it is to be fulfilled not only because it is a mitzvah on its own, but also because it was a necessary pre-requisite to proper fulfillment of the agricultural mitzvot

    My whole point in commenting on the rashi is that you only see part 1 of what you wrote to be true, not part 2. Such an approach, that yishuv ha'aretz is only a hechser, might also be suggested in the rambam who does not count yishuv as an independent mitzvah.

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