Shabbat Parashat Vayeira | 5764
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - The Sanctity of the Golan Heights According to Halacha - Part II - From Harabbanut V’hamedina pg. 431-435
[We saw last week that the Golan Heights, which is in the historical Eiver Hayarden, is part of Eretz Yisrael. Although there are some halachic differences between it and the main section of Eretz Yisrael, it shares many halachot and certainly shares the overall status of Eretz Yisrael.]
Not only was Eiver Hayarden originally incorporated into Eretz Yisrael, but even in the time of the second Beit Hamikdash, its status was comparable to that of the rest of Eretz Yisrael. We find (Arachin 32a) that there were cities in Eiver Hayarden which were arei choma (special, walled cities). There are several special halachot that apply to these cities, and certainly only cities inside Eretz Yisrael are candidates for such a status.
The Ramban (Bamidbar 21:21) explains why Moshe hesitated to capture the lands of Sichon and Og in Eiver Hayarden. He says that Moshe knew that Bnei Yisrael would not capture, in the first stage, all of the land of “the ten nations.” He, therefore, did not want to immediately capture the land which was more distant from the center of Eretz Yisrael, as this would cause Bnei Yisrael to be more spread out than was desirable. He added that the main section of Eretz Yisrael is “the Land flowing with milk and honey.” However, he says explicitly that the lands of Eiver Hayarden are part of Bnei Yisrael’s inheritance. The Ramban elsewhere (Bamidbar 31:23) goes as far as to say that there was no need to purify the vessels captured from Sichon and Og, because their land was part of the land earmarked for Bnei Yisrael. For this reason, too, the tribes of Gad and Reuven were allowed to make their homeland in these areas after they were captured.
The author of the Mishneh Lamelech (in Parashat Derachim, Derech Hakodesh 8) also rejects out of hand a suggestion he heard regarding Moshe’s view of Eiver Hayarden. Rashi (Devarim 4:23) points out that after conquering the land of Sichon and Og, Moshe hoped that perhaps the decree that he would not enter Eretz Yisrael was rescinded, as he was actually already in Eretz Yisrael. Why was Moshe wrong? Someone suggested that that land was not part of Eretz Yisrael. However, the Parashat Derachim proves that such a claim is untenable.
The Maharit (Kiryat Sefer, Terumot 1) says that it is easier to bestow kedusha on parts of Eretz Yisrael a second time than it was the first time. The requirement of a king, a prophet, and Sanhedrin was only the first time. But since the status achieved at that time never fully disappears, subsequent sanctifications can be done without these elements. Similarly, the Rambam (Sanhedrin 4:6) rules that any area that was held by those who entered Eretz Yisrael after the Exodus from Egypt remained forever a place where authentic semicha (ordination) could take place. So we see from these two sources, as well, that Eiver Hayarden, which was sanctified originally in the time of Moshe, remains part of Eretz Yisrael, in regard to overall status and several specific halachic ramifications, without the need for a specific act of re-sanctification.
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