It’s Friday, so how about a little Tiferes Shlomo? Hashem tells BN”Y that the Cannanite nations will not be conquered at once, but rather bit by bit, lest the land become desolate “v’rabah alecha chayas hasadeh”, and wild animals overcome the population (23:29). A strange pasuk - certainly, says the Radomsker, it is not outside Hashem’s power to find some way to thwart the danger of wild animals without extending the time needed to conquer the land. Why the deliberate delay?
I think perhaps there is room to read at least derech remez the phrase “chayas ha’sadeh” in the pasuk as perhaps not meaning “wild animals” in the sense of lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), but rather, as the phrase literally means, “lives of the field”. Building a new country demands the creation of new political, social, legal, and cultural structures and organizations that take time as well as effort to develop; there is a period of gestation and growth that marks the transformation from “life of the field” to a civilized nation. To allow that process to unfold in an orderly way, the Torah promises a slow conquest.
Perhaps this is something worth reflecting on when we look at the development of Eretz Yisrael in our time and witness the struggles to manage its growth and development.
(P.S. Since I have been quoting Tiferes Shlomo on and off, you will probably wonder why I seem to be missing the discussion of the klipos and chitzonim from the piece I am basing this on, or why the piece I quoted last week also did not match exactly. So here is my editorial disclaimer for all posts like this: I don’t pretend to be faithful to the Tiferes Shlomo’s vocabulary, which I doubt I could make understandable on a blog. Instead, I try to be faithful to his ideas, or at least what how I interpret them. Discussing the effects of chitzonim while being ma’aleh nitzotzos from klipos would definitely be more authentically Tiferes Shlomo, but I don’t think that sentence has meaning for most people. I would even say that if you just walk away from the Tif Shlomo with that pie-in-the-sky sentence and don’t think about what it means on a level that relates to your life, you are missing the point of learning sifrei chassidus. If my reworking of the idea does not resonate, by all means see the Tiferes Shlomo inside, as the sefer has tremendous depth and one should not be dissuaded from learning the original by my presentation.)