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Shabbat Parashat Shemini 5779

Ein Ayah: The Lowly People who Cannot Hold on to their Land

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 9:11)

Gemara: Rav Acha bar Yaakov said: “Chori” – that represents that they became bereft of their property.


Ein Ayah: [Last time we saw how the Chorites had a special connection to the land that enabled to determine which vegetation grows best in each plot of land. While they had a high level of connection to the Land physically, they were on a low level spiritually and were only an early stage for greater people to come and build on the lower basis they had provided.]  

Despite all the connection to the land and the deep understanding of the land that these families of the land possessed, they are not the foundation of keeping the land going in its complete form. Rather, they just serve as agents for the transfer of the Land to more developed people, upon whom spirituality has more impact and, in that way, the second group of people is on a higher level.

Even though the latter are not as able to be as connected to the land, it is the latter who are the “winners.” In fact, the earlier, servants of the land, are thrown out and removed from the Land, and become bereft of or “free from” their property [i.e., no longer servants and no longer with rights]. This is because “the counsel of Hashem will stand” (Tehillim 33:11), and He created man in a higher form with advantages over all other creations. It is critical that man not remain in his inability to get beyond his connection to the land alone. True, there was a need to start with such lowly people in the world, so that the proper use of the land would be reached. However, they would not be the ones to inherit the Land and give it over to the next generation. Rather, they would only provide the lower foundation, upon which the foundations of the more adorned edifice rest.

This is because as a person goes ever higher, his senses will be removed from the connection to the ground and will be ever elevated. He will feel gentle emotions until he reaches the “sanctums of Hashem” (see Tehillim 73:17), which is the highest goal. Specifically because he reached a much higher level, he will inherit the Land, as the pasuk says: “I will have you ride on the low places of the Land and I will let you eat from the inheritance of your father Yaakov, for the mouth of Hashem has spoken” (Yeshayahu 58:14). This is a fulfillment of the pasuk, “The evil person shall prepare, and the righteous person shall wear” (Iyov 27:17).

Imaginary freedom, which people connected to the material world so that they are entrenched in the land that they believe they have captured, is only the type of freedom that causes exile. In fact, their place will be given to those who will live in the Land in an ideal manner, with power and sanctity. “For Hashem will save Zion and will build the cities of Judea, and they will inhabit it and inherit it. The offspring of His servants will receive it as their lot, and those who love His Name will dwell there” (Tehillim 69: 36-7). “The wicked will be cut off from the Land, and traitors will be removed from it” (Mishlei 2:22). Flawed, lowly freedom turns into a trap for its possessors, and they will lose even the thing to which they are most connected – the Land. 

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