Shabbat Parashat Acharei Mot| 5763
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - The Second Sanctification - From Eretz Hemdah I, 3:5
The kedusha shniya (second sanctification) took place during the period when Ezra led a return to Eretz Yisrael from Bavel. They took control of large portions of the Land but left out certain sections (Chagiga 3b). The sanctification wasn’t accomplished by conquest, as the Persians maintained control, nor did the Jews divide the Land by tribes, as not all tribes were present. Even without these two requirements of the first sanctification, one opinion in Talmud Yerushalmi (Shvi’it, ch. 6) states that the second sanctification took hold, as learned from the pasuk, “I shall do good for you… beyond (from) your fathers” (Devarim 30:5). The Rambam (Terumot 1:5) states that the sanctification was not based on conquest but on possession (through settlement).
The Mabit (Kiryat Sefer, ad loc.) implies that conquest and division by tribe were not necessary at this period, because Bnei Yisrael needed only to reactivate the original kedusha, not create a new one. According to this approach, the simpler sanctification during Ezra’s time applied only to the areas where conquest had already been carried out according to the required procedure. Thus, Syria, which was first settled during the Second Commonwealth, had kedusha only on a rabbinic level. Rav Chaim of Brisk has been quoted as saying that this approach can be inferred from the aforementioned pasuk that sanctification depends on “from your fathers,” that it was preceded by a historic, full sanctification.
The Kesef Mishneh (Shmittah 4:28) implies that kedusha without conquest applied only to those areas within the boundaries of Parashat Masei, which we were instructed to capture, not to additional lands whose sanctity during the First Commonwealth stemmed from “wherever your feet shall tread shall be yours” (Devarim 11:24). It seems that even conquest at the time of the Second Commonwealth was not sufficient to sanctify the additional areas until Eretz Yisrael proper was fully controlled, which did not occur at that time.
According to one opinion (Yerushalmi, ibid.), the aforementioned pasuk,“shall do good for you…” refers to Eretz Yisrael’s expansion in Messianic times. Accordingly, the obligation of ma’asrot (tithes) during the Second Commonwealth was only rabbinic. The Rambam agrees to this conclusion for a different reason, claiming that the obligation required representation of the entire Jewish People in Eretz Yisrael in addition to sanctity of the Land. In contrast, Tosafot claims that all agree that the ma’asrot were from the Torah at this period and argue only in regard to the era after the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.
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