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Shabbat Parashat Tazria Metzora| 5763
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - The “First Sanctity” of the Land - From Eretz Hemdah I, 3:4
We continue our series on the laws of the Land in honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut
The land which was occupied by the olei Mitzrayim (those who entered the Land after the 40 years of wandering after the Exodus) and was sanctified by conquest, is said to have “kedusha rishona” (first sanctity) (Erchin 32b). There is a machloket whether this sanctity lasted only until the first Beit Hamikdash was destroyed or that it continued without ever being subject to cessation.
The source of the opinion that the kedusha is permanent is the pasuk about the walled cities in Eretz Yisrael, “asher lo chomah” (Vayikra 25:30). There is a difference in the way the word “lo” is written and read, which allows it to be understood both that the city has a wall and that it doesn’t. This teaches us (according to one opinion) that the sanctity which began when there was a wall continues even when the wall no longer exists and that the lingering kedusha applies to the Land, in general, even after its conquest was reversed. The pasuk says, “the land your fathers possessed and you shall possess” (Devarim 30:6), implying that the attainment and sanctification of the Land will happen more than once. Yet we can explain that once fathers sanctified the Land, it will remain holy for future eras. Rabbeinu Chananel explains the pasuk differently, that “the fathers” are the Patriarchs and the later generation is of Yehoshua, who finalized the process with conquest.
The opinion that the first kedusha did cease learns the aforementioned pasuk as referring to the times of Yehoshua and, later, Ezra (beginning of Second Commonwealth). It derives this from the statement in Nechemia (8:17) that “Bnei Yisrael had not done so from the time of Yehoshua,” referring to the sanctification. Even those who said that the original conquest brought permanent kedusha said so only in regard to those areas within the original borders of Eretz Yisrael,mentionedintheTorah. Additional areas, which were sanctified through conquest and owed their status to it, reverted to their non-holy status when the conquest was undone.
The Rambam paskens that the first sanctity was not permanent and ended with the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash (Terumot 1:5). He explains that since, it was created through conquest, it ceased with the reversal of the process (Beit Hab’chirah 6:16). We demonstrated previously that the cessation of the kedusha applied, according to the Rambam, to all land-linked mitzvot.
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