Monday, July 14, 2014

true home

In last week’s parsha Rashi comments that the Torah emphasizes Bnos Tzelafchad’membership in sheivet Menashe because the love of Eretz Yisrael that they demonstrated was similar to the love of Eretz Yisrael demonstrated by Yosef.  Where do we see Yosef’s love of Eretz Yisrael?  Rashi explains that Yosef asked his brothers to make sure he was buried only in Eretz Yisrael. 

The Netziv asks: all the shevatim were buried in Eretz Yisrael – this was not a unique request on Yosef’s part.  How do we see that Yosef had a special love for Eretz Yisrael more than anyone else?  The Netziv therefore points to a different source.  When Yosef was giving his history to the Sar haMashkim, he openly admitted that he had been taken from Eretz Yisrael (Braishis 40:15 – “eretz ha’Ivrim”) and was not a native Egyptian, even though this admission would not certainly not help him. 

Proof to the Netziv’s position can be seen from the following Midrash: Moshe challenged G-d why he was denied entry into Eretz Yisrael while the bones of Yosef that he removed from Egypt and carried through the desert got to go there.  Hashem responded that Yosef identified himself as a “na’ar Ivri” in Pharoah’s court; Moshe, however, was identified by the daughters of Yisro as an “ish Mitzri.”

R’ Chaim Drukman quotes an amazing vort from the Ostrovza.  Yosef had been born and raised in Eretz Yisrael.  Moshe Rabeinu, however, was born in Egypt, raised in Egypt, and never stepped foot in Eretz Yisrael.  Why should he have been expected to identify or be identified as anything other than an “ish Mitzi?”

The Ostrovtza answers that we see from here that no matter where a Jew is born, no matter where a Jew is raised, his true home is Eretz Yisrael, his identity is tied to Eretz Yisrael.   


  1. It's unclear that Moshe Rabbeinu never stepped foot in Kenaan. At the time, Benei Yisrael just left Qadeish Barneia after being there a bit under 19 years, and were on the final move into Israel. (See Bamidbar 13:25, 20:1 and Devarim 1:2.)

    The southern border of Israel is described as being just south of Qadeish Barnea (Bamidbar 34:4).

    Rashi (Bamidbar 32:8) and Ramban (12:16, 20:1) assert there are two cities of the same name, one at the sourthern tip of Israel, and the other at which the Jews camped. And thus, Moshe never entered Israel.

    IE and Seforno (20:1) have only one QB, placing it where the midbaros of Tzin and Paran meet. These rishonim require some answer to what Hashem's onesh meant by excluding Moshe from ever again a land he was already in. I would suggest two possibilities:(1) HQBH was saying he would never return. (2) Alternatively, that MRAH spent 19 years in Eretz Kenaan, but excluded from the qibbush that gave it qedushas Eretz Yisrael onward. Thus, he was never in EY, in terms of qedushah.

    1. At the time he was identified as ish mitzri Moshe had never stepped foot in Eretz Yisrael.

      See Meshech Chochma at the beg of Va"eschanan who says Moshe was mekayeim the mitzvah of yishuv ha'aretz by conquering the land of Sichon and Og.