Wednesday, June 17, 2015
The Eye Of The Beholder - “The Land of Israel is very good.” (14:7)
“I don’t know how you live in this country... You’re living in the Third World. It’s dirty and dangerous. It’s beyond my comprehension why someone with a decent standard of living would uproot himself and live in a Levantine slum.” Why is it that to some people the Land of Israel seems so beautiful while others struggle to see its beauty and leave disappointed?
Once there was a beautiful princess who had many suitors for her hand in marriage. Obviously she could only marry one of them and so she devised a plan to select the more promising candidates. When a young man would come to woo her, her servants would usher him into an ante-chamber. On the table in front of him were some fruit and some books of Torah scholarship. The servants told him that the princess would be with him shortly. They bade him make himself comfortable and to help himself to some fruit. What the suitor did not know was that there was a spy-hole in the wall of the room. Through this, the princess would observe the aspiring groom.
If he took a piece of fruit and made a beracha with apparent concentration, or if he took up a book and began to learn intently, then she would emerge in her finest apparel and appeared as a rare beauty.If, however, the suitor took some fruit and failed to make a beracha or idled his time away and didn’t use the opportunity to learn Torah, then she would put on torn rags, blacken her face and teeth and emerge looking like a hag.
Eretz Yisrael is that princess.
If a person comes to the Land looking for spirituality even the physical beauty of Eretz Yisrael will enchant him. On the other hand, if a person is not worthy, everything will seem dirty and dingy.However, Eretz Yisrael will never embarrass a person. Rather than suffering the embarrassment of being rejected by the Land, Eretz Yisrael allows the person to think that he has rejected her.
Sources: The Ramban writing to his talmidim from Eretz Yisrael (Ohr Somayach)
from the "Keep Olim in Israel Movement" FB group