Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Real Garden of Eden

The following is a piece on Eretz Yisrael that I found on YUTorah.org, by R' Zevulun Charlap Shlit"a:

"Right at the beginning, in the story of cre­ation we are told: “and the L-rd G-d took Adam and placed him in the garden of Edento work it and to watch over it” (Breishis: 2:15). Rashi citing the midrash understands the word, Va Yikach - he took, to mean, He took him with pleasant words and coaxed him to enter the garden. And my grandfather o.b.m.,as I am quite sure oth­ers before him, asked: why was it at all necessary to coax him to come. Wouldn't anyone jump at the opportunity of entering Eden accompanied, by G-d? My grand­father answered that, indeed, Adam had to be persuaded - had to be wooed hard, to enter, Paradise, here on earth, because he
didn't want to leave Eretz Yisrael - the Land of Israel where he and Eve were
originally formed out of the earth of Mount Moriah, which was destined to
become the site of the Holy Temple, and which tran­scended even Gan Eden. The
Garden of Eden was outside the biblical boundaries of Israel. To him that
sacred soil upon which he was created was more precious than Paradise itself
and incredibly stands above it in the hierarchy of place.”

“To understand the unyielding love of knowing Jews to Eretz Yisrael you have
to be weaned on that sure sense that it supersedes even the Garden of Eden. At
one time, when continents separated the Jew from the Land, he/she instinctively
knew with every fiber in his/her being that Eretz Yisrael and all that is
implicated in the idea and reality of Zion redeemed, is more and better even
than Paradise! This was the mainstream yearning of Jews since G-d commanded
Abraham the first command­ment to our founding patriarch - Go to the land I
will show you...and be a blessing.”

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