The Kotel

By Rabbi Yaakov Klass

I’m being called upon to issue a statement that should really be unnecessary. Need we issue any statement in the matter of the ownership of our beloved land of Israel? Am I, a mere mortal, to have the gall to issue a statement and expect that it shall resolve an issue that has befuddled the Jewish people these 2,000 years? Further, how would any such utterance compare to one that is from the Divine words of G-d?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe admonished against surrendering any land that is part of Eretz Yisrael. Under the Rebbe’s psak and doctrine of Shleimus Ha’aretz, it is strictly forbidden as a matter of halachah/Jewish law to relinquish even one inch of Eretz Yisrael which is Admas Kodesh, Holy Land. The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s psak and doctrine of Shleimus Ha’aretz has been adopted by the Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim as part of our organizational platform and policy.

As presidium chairman of the Igud HaRabbonim, and on behalf of our 950 Orthodox rabbis, I reaffirm our strict adherence to the psak of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and his stance on Shleimus Ha’aretz. I say it, because the issue of Shleimus Ha’aretz has risen again with the Trump administration pronouncing “The Deal of the Century.” This grandiose “Deal of the Century” being advocated by the Trump administration may call for the relinquishment of portions of Judea and Samaria for the purposes of making peace. Without hesitation, the Igud HaRabbonim vehemently, in the strongest terms possible, calls upon the Israeli government to heed the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s psak on Shleimus Ha’aretz and not to acquiesce to the surrender of even one inch of our Admas HaKodesh for this “Deal of The Century.” The Igud HaRabbonim further calls upon Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reaffirm our sovereign rights to the lands of Judea and Samaria and to send the message that Eretz Yisrael will never consider the thought of ceding even an inch of our Holy Land.

Allow me to expand on the concept of Shleimus Ha’aretz. In G-d’s book, the Torah [Bible], He promises the land to us in the form of a surety and a grant, not once but three times to our Patriarchs. To Abraham (Genesis 13:14–18): “And Hashem said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Raise now your eyes and look out from where you are: northward, southward, eastward, and westward. For all the land that you see, to you I will give it, and to your descendants forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth so that if one can count the dust of the earth, then your offspring, too, can be counted. Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth! For to you will I give it.’ And Abram moved his tent and came and dwelled in the plains of Mamre which are in Hebron, and he built there an altar to Hashem.”

The Jerusalem Talmud (Kiddushin 1;3) teaches: One who sells a path to his fellow, when the other walks upon it, he thus acquires it. How do we know? Because of the verse’s command, “Arise, walk about the land through its length and its breadth! For to you will I give it.”

Thus, we see that the Bible records the deeding of the land to Abraham and his progeny. Yet, if the above were not sufficient, we find that the Torah (Genesis 26:1–6) cites Hashem’s entreaty to Isaac. “There was a famine in the land, aside from the famine that was in the days of Abraham; and Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines, to Gerar. Hashem appeared to him and said, ‘Do not descend to Egypt; dwell in the land that I shall indicate to you. Sojourn in the land and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your offspring will I give all these lands, and establish the oath that I swore to Abraham, your father. I will increase your offspring like the stars of the heavens; and will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your offspring. Because Abraham obeyed My voice, and observed My safeguards, My commandments, My decrees … ”

Sforno explains that due to the famine Isaac thought to depart the land as his father before him in the same situation had done; therefore, he went to Gerar [which is part of the Promised Land] to consult with the King of Gerar as to his doing so. It was then that G-d appeared to him to tell him not to descend but stay in the land that he is to give him.

If that, too, was not enough, we find recorded yet a third time, as the Torah (Genesis 28:10–15) states: “Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. He encountered the place and spent the night there because the sun had set; he took from the stones of the place which he arranged around his head, and lay down at that place. And he dreamt and behold! A ladder was set earthward and its top reached heavenward; and behold! Angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it.

“And behold! Hashem was standing over him, and He said, ‘I am Hashem, G-d of Abraham, your father and G-d of Isaac; the ground upon which you are lying, to you will I give it and to your descendants. Your offspring shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out powerfully westward, eastward, northward, and southward; and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and by your offspring. Behold, I am with you; I will guard you wherever you go, and I will return you to this soil; for I will not forsake you until I will have done what I have spoken about you.’”

Thus, unprecedentedly Hashem gave the tripartite deed to the land of Israel not only to the Patriarchs but to their progeny, the Jewish people, as a grant for all time to their future generations.

These passages are to be found in the same Bible that Christians too claim as their own; surely the nations of the world that seek to lay claim to that book need to uphold the promise to G-d’s chosen, of the one and only land in the world that He set apart as the Jewish land, the State of Israel. Much more so those of our Jewish brethren who remain somewhat estranged from their Maker, our fervent wish is that the spirit of G-d within the depth of their souls be awoken.

As I stated at the outset, need I, or, for that matter, any other son of man, issue any statement of our dreams, our Divine inheritance?

May it be His will that all men of peace come to recognize that their bounty on this good earth is inexplicably tied to the Jewish people living peacefully and securely in the land of their fathers, the land of Israel.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Kahal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is chairman of the presidium of the Rabbinical Alliance of America and serves at Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

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