Deu 7:12 “If only you listen to these laws, safeguarding and keeping them, then God your Lord will keep the covenant and love with which He made an oath to your fathers.”
והיה עקב תשׁמעון את המשׁפטים האלה ושׁמרתם ועשׂיתם אתם ושׁמר יהוה אלהיך לך את־הברית ואת־החסד אשׁר נשׁבע לאבתיך׃
Vehayah ekev tishme’un et hamishpatim ha’eleh ushmartem va’asitem otam veshamar Adonay Eloheycha lecha et-habrit ve’et-hachesed asher nishba la’avoteycha.
The Covenant of The Land between G-d and Israel is a conditional covenant that is dependent on the People’s conduct. If the People keep their part of the bargain, then G-d will keep his part of the bargain.
If we look through history we will see that the borders of The Land have been directly connected to The People’s level of Torah Observance. The better People have been at Observing Torah, the more of The Land promised to Avraham Avinu they have been in possession of. G-d has NEVER specified the borders of The Land.
“The Historical Jewish people, despite all its contradictions and despite all the divisions that arose within it, never considered the state apparatus – that is, the force of organized power under which the people live – as one of the constitutive elements if its national essence. The same holds true with regard to the land. Contrary to what is claimed in our Declaration of Independence: “The Jewish people has emerged in the Land of Israel,” eighty or hundred generations have kept rooted in their consciousness, the memory of the fact that a people – which already existed – had invaded the land of Canaan and had made of it the Land of Israel…In its historical consciousness, the people existed outside all territorial attachments. It remembered – and was reminded – that it had been a stranger in Egypt…Later it was to become independent, not in a State, but in a desert, something without defined borders…The historical image is clear: it is the people who created the State, and not the State, not the land, which has created the people… It is thus quite clear, with respect to the Jewish people, that it was not a state apparatus, not a framework for the wielding of power, nor a given territory, not even a language that brought it into being and kept it in existence. Its national identity is incarnated in one specific, immanent element – Judaism.” (Leibowitz p 95-96)
The direct consequences of not Observing Torah has always been loss of The Land. Always. Loss of The Land and Exile. Why? Because Torah is directly imprinted on The Land. Remember the part in Devarim where G-d command The People to read the Curses and Blessing from Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal?
Deu 11:29-32 And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt set the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal. Are they not beyond the Jordan, behind the way of the going down of the sun, in the land of the Canaanites that dwell in the Arabah, over against Gilgal, beside the terebinths of Moreh? For ye are to pass over the Jordan to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein. And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and the ordinances which I set before you this day.
Deu 27:1-7 And Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying: ‘Keep all the commandment which I command you this day. And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over the Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster. And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over; that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of thy fathers, hath promised thee. And it shall be when ye are passed over the Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster. And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones; thou shalt lift up no iron tool upon them. Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of unhewn stones; and thou shalt offer burnt-offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God.
And thou shalt sacrifice peace-offerings, and shalt eat there; and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God.
– There’s your imprint. The Land has its own Mezzuzot. The Land is Bound to Torah and its Observance – there really is no way around this.
So how to tie this to current events – to our modern historical reality?
I strongly believe that the Settlements in the West Bank are illegal, not only from a perspective of International Law, but from a Torah Perspective.
Let’s look at what has happened at other times when The People has been exiled and has lost The Land – Nebuchadnezzar overran Judah and brought The People into Exile in Babylon 2Ch 36:13. 70 years later Cyrus let The People return 2Ch 36:22-23. Someone, not of the People worked as G-d’s hands and brought The People back. Now let’s go forward – to 1947. Now to my mind the basic pattern of Possession-Exile is that for exile to end, someone not of The People has to intercept on the People’s behalf, and bring them back. Wasn’t that what happened 1947? Didn’t an International Community make it possible for The People to return? I think that’s what happened.
This would mean that The Land which G-d gives to The People, at this point in Time is the portion that was partitioned to the Jewish people as “Israel” in 1947. This would also mean that any expansion outside those borders are illegal, since The Land is bound to Torah, and its extension is directly connected to what G-d gives.
There’s another thing – that my Wife pointed out: “Why has the People been doing all those “Forth and Back”? Because G-d said so and someone listened.
The People was in peril – Yossef listened to G-d and brought the People into Egypt. Moshe listened to G-d and brought them out of Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar listened to G-d and brought the People into Exile – Cyrus listened to G-d and brought the People back.
The cycle of Possession-Exile have always been directed by “because G-d said so, and someone listened…”
So the possession of The Land is in this time limited by the borders determined at a time when someone listened to G-d.
The only way, according to Torah and Tanakh, the only way The People can come into possession of The Land as promised by G-d to Avraham Avinu, is by accepting the provisions of the Covenant – “Keep all the commandment which I command you this day.”
Now, that is hardly what the State of Israel is doing at the moment, and honestly it’s not what the Settlers, who claim religious rights The Land are doing either. The Settlers are occupying Land out-side the borders set up, ultimately by G-d, in 1947, and the only reason they can do that is because the secular State of Israel is helping them by deploying military force to keep them there.
“And thou shalt sacrifice peace-offerings…”
1) peace offering, requital, sacrifice for alliance or friendship
1a) voluntary sacrifice of thanks
Note that shelem could easily be written shalom…
The Sages stipulated that since the Temple is destroyed – in substitution of actual sacrifices, we are to offer up our prayers, and recitations of the Texts that directly deal with the different sacrifices stipulated in Torah. That is all well, but since the sacrifices in Torah is also connected to acts of contrition and thanks, i.e return to compliance with Torah, just reading them thrice a day is not enough – our actions have to reflect the inner content of the sacrifice.
How is accepting land that belongs to someone else, acting on a sense of wishing them peace? Fact is it’s not. In fact it’s a violation of Torah, because it means removing my neighbor’s landmarks:
Deu 19:14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set, in thine inheritance which thou shalt inherit, in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.
Deu 27:17 Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say: Amen.
Since the entire Earth belongs to G-d, any person living next to me is my neighbor – G-d is the one setting the boundaries, and since the boundaries for The Land is set by G-d according to how well the People Observe His Torah, Land adjacent to that of Israel must belong to the neighbor.
ריע / רע
rêa‛ / rêya‛
1) friend, companion, fellow, another person
1a) friend, intimate
1b) fellow, fellow-citizen, another person (weaker sense)
1c) other, another (reciprocal phrase)
Can’t really get around that – any other person is my neighbor – whose landmark I may not remove.