May 27, 2024
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וַיְבִאֵנוּ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה וַיִּתֶּן לָנוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ: (דברים כו:ט)

“And He brought us to this place, and He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey,” (Devarim 26, 9).

The simple peshat of this pasuk is, that this is what a person says when he brought his first grown fruits of the year called “bikkurim,” to the Beis Hamikdash. One would thank Hashem for two things: Firstly, he thanks Hashem that he was able to come to the Beis Hamikdash, and secondly, that he merited to live in Eretz Yisrael.

The Midrash Yalkut Shimoni, however, explains this pasuk differently. The first phrase of this pasuk, “Vayihi veainu el hamakom hazeh, And You, Hashem, brought us to this place,” is referring to the Beis Hamikdash; and is the reason for the second phrase, “Vayitain lanu es haaretz hazos, and Hashem gave us this land.” In other words, the person who brings bikkurim, the first fruits, isn’t thanking Hashem for living in Eretz Yisrael and being able to come to the Beis Hamikdash, two separate things, but he is thanking Hashem for giving us Eretz Yisrael in the merit of our coming to the Beis Hamikdash.

We have to understand what bothered the midrash to reject the simple meaning of the pasuk and to explain that the pasuk is teaching us that in the merit of the Beis Hamikdash, we received Eretz Yisroel.

Zera Shimshon explains that the midrash was bothered with the order of the pasuk. If the pasuk was speaking about the person thanking for two separate things, it should have been written, “Vayitain lanu es haaretz hazos, and Hashem gave us this land,” which happened first, and then, “Vayihi veainu el hamakom hazeh, And You, Hashem, brought us to this place,” since we came to the land before we came to the Beis Hamikdash. Since it is not written like that, but the phrase, “Vayihi veainu el hamakom hazeh, And You, Hashem, brought us to this place,” is written before, “Vayitain lanu es haaretz hazos, and Hashem gave us this land.” Therefore, it cannot be that he is thanking Hashem for two separate events, but, rather, he is thanking Hashem for being able to live in Eretz Yisrael in the merit of coming to the Beis Hamikdash.

Zera Shimshon asks, however: What does it mean that Hashem gave klal Yisroel Eretz Yisroel in the merit of coming to the Beis Hamikdash? Eretz Yisrael was given to the Avos, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov many years earlier—way before Klal Yisroel came to the Beis Hamikdash! How then can the midrash say that we received Eretz Yisrael, in the merit of coming to the Beis Hamikdash, when it didn’t yet happen?

Zera Shimshon answers that Hashem didn’t want the Beis Hamikdash to be given to Klal Yisroel as a gift, but Hashem wanted the Beis Hamikdash to be acquired.

We see this idea from the way Dovid HaMelech bought Har HaBayis, the Temple Mount, to be used as the place of the Beis Hamikdash. Dovid looked for a place to bring a sacrifice at the time of a terrible plague, and Aravna, a non-Jew who owned the field which was eventually the place of the Beis Hamikdash, offered to give it to Dovid for free. Dovid refused the offer and said to him, “No. I will only buy it from you at a price; so that I will not offer to Hashem burnt-offerings (which I had received) for nothing,” (Shmuel Beis 24:24).

The Gemara (Zevachim 116b) explains that Dovid didn’t mean that he would personally pay for Aravna’s field with his own money, Dovid collected 50 shekel from each tribe—a total of 600 shekel in order for all of Klal Yisrael to take part in the purchase.

We learn from here the above-mentioned idea: the place of the Beis Hamikdash should be acquired by Klal Yisrael, and not given by someone as a present.

According to this, if Hashem would have fully given the land to the Avos, then Har HaBayis, which is situated in the middle of Eretz Yisrael, would have certainly also been included in the gift and there would be no reason to buy the land. Since Hashem wanted Klal Yisrael to buy Har HaBayis; it must be that even though it seems like the land was a gift to the Avos, Hashem didn’t fully give it to them. The midrash teaches us that Eretz Yisrael became fully Klal Yisraels’, only after Dovid and the rest of Klal Yisroel bought Har HaBayis, and built the Beis Hamikdash. In the merit of this, Hashem finalized the gift of Eretz Yisrael.

Zera Shimshon adds that there is an allusion to this in sefer Bereishis. Immediately after Hashem informed Avraham Avinu, “L’zaarecha etain es haaretz hazeh, To your offspring, I will give this land, it is written that Avraham built a mizbeach.” Rashi explains the reason for this was to thank Hashem that he will inherit Eretz Yisrael. However, according to the midrash—which we opened with—it is coming to allude to the fact that the inheritance of Eretz Yisrael will be in the merit of the Beis Hamikdash!

 

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