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The Multifaceted Relationship

between Jerusalem
and the Land of Israel
This sicha was delivered on the Yom
Yerushalayim 5760 [2000] and Based on a sicha by
reprinted with permission from the Israel
Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash. Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein ztl
Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivat Har Etzion, Rosh Yeshiva,

. RIETS and Inaugural Rosh Kollel, Gruss Institute
. Translated by Kaeren Fish

A song, a psalm of the sons of Korach:
Great is the Lord, and highly praised, in integral part ofEretz Yisrael, drawing of Ezra:
the city of our God, the mountain of His from the holiness of the land and
holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy radiating its own holiness outward.
of the whole world MountZion, the I would like to focus on this aspect
sides of the north, the estate of the great ofJerusalem, as part ofEretz Yisrael,
King. God is known in her palaces as a rather than as a separate, secluded
fortress. jewel.
Tehillim48:1-4 The relationship betweenEretz .

I n these opening verses of the YisraelandJerusalemare mutual: All of the lands that [the Jews] who
chapter ofTehillimrecited on on the one hand, the holiness ascended fromEgypttook possession of
Mondays, the psalmist speaks ofJerusalemis the pinnacle of the were sanctified in the first consecration
of Jerusalem as an independent holiness of the land; on the other [of the land]. When they were exiled,
location both in terms of esthetics, hand, the holiness ofEretz Yisraelis that sanctity was nullified.[The
Beautiful for situation, the joy of not just the framework for the rationale is that] the initial consecration
the whole world, and in terms of the holiness ofJerusalem, but its very came about because of the conquest.
Divine Presence dwelling there foundation. [Hence,] its consecration was effective
Great is the Lord, and highly praised, for the time [it was under their rule],
InHilkhot Terumot(1:5), the
in the city of our God, the mountain but not for all time.When, by contrast,
Rambam writes thatEretz
of His holiness. However, there is the descendants of the exiles ascended
Yisraelattained its holiness for all
also another perspective on the holy [from Babylon] and took possession of
future generations only through the
city one that viewsJerusalemas an a portion of the land,they consecrated
conquest and settlement at the time

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it a second time.[This consecration] is the laws of the Sabbatical year and tithes of theLandofIsrael.
perpetuated forever, for that time and for on the Land stemmed from the fact that
The Raavad seems to suggest that the
all time. it was conquered by the [Jewish people,
two levels of holiness the holiness
Translation from R. Eliyahu as a] community.Therefore, when
ofEretz Yisraeland the holiness
Touger, the land was taken from their hands
ofJerusalem exist in parallel; there
In contrast, inHilkhot Beit Ha- [by the Babylonians,] their [original]
is no separating them. However,
bechira(6:14), the Rambam writes conquest was nullified. Thus, according
Raavad seems to be disagreeing
that Jerusalem was consecrated for all toTorahlaw, the land was freed from the
with the Rambam for a different
generations already in the building obligations of the Sabbatical year and
reason. According to the Rambams
of the First Temple. He goes on to of tithes because it was no longerEretz
explanation, there was a certain period
explain (6:16) the difference between Yisrael. When Ezra returned [toEretz
in history, between the destruction
the two categories of holiness: Yisrael] and consecrated it, it was
of theFirstTempleand the
not sanctified by means of through
construction of theSecondTemple,
conquest, but rather through chazakah
whenJerusalem held its consecrated
(possession).Therefore, every place
status, and consecrated foods could
which was repossessed by the [exiles
be eaten there, while the rest of Eretz
returning from] Babylon and consecrated
Yisraeldid not have its ritual status of
when Ezra consecrated [the land] the
... holiness. Raavads argument against
second time, is sacred today. Thus,
the Rambam is thatJerusalemcannot
as explained inHilkhotTeruma, it
be regarded as an extra-territorial
is necessary to keep the laws of the
unit: the sanctity of Jerusalemis
Sabbatical years and the tithes [on this
drawn from the holiness of the land;
land] even though it was taken from [the
it cannot be severed from the rest
Jewish people in later years].
ofEretz Yisrael.
The Raavad (6:14) disagrees: Raavad does, however, agree that the
holiness ofJerusalemnot only is based
on the holiness ofEretz Yisrael, but
. ... also influences it. Thus, for example,
Why do I say that the original many of theRishonim maintain
consecration sanctified the Temple and . that according to Raavads view, the
Jerusalem for eternity,while in regard This is the Rambams own conclusion; sanctified status ofEretz Yisraelwas
to the consecration of the remainder I do not know how he arrives at it. lost in the wake of the destruction
ofEretz Yisrael, in the context of the For in several places in the Mishna of theTemple the symbol of
Sabbatical year, tithes, and other we find, If there is noTemple, it [the the destruction ofJerusalem. The
similar [agricultural] laws, [the original produce set aside as maaser sheni] relationship between the sanctity
consecration] did not sanctify it for rots [because it cannot be brought of the land and the sanctity
eternity? Because the sanctity of the to theTemple]According to ofJerusalemis thus two-directional,
Temple and Jerusalem stems from the view that the first sanctification with the two levels or aspects of
theShekhina(divine presence), and was not meant to be forever, holiness resting upon and being
theShekhinacan never be nullified In there is no distinction between nourished by one another.
contrast, the [original] obligation to keep theTempleandJerusalem, and the rest
The mutual relationship

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betweenJerusalemandEretz sovereignty over Jerusalemis the key being eroded. The awareness of
Yisraelexists not only on the ritual, to and symbol of sovereignty over the the importance of the connection
religious level, but also in the political land. There is no monarch without betweenJerusalemandEretz
realm. In chapter 122 ofTehillim, a capital, and there can be no capital Yisrael, which swept through the
King David describes Jerusalemas a without a country. Throughout nearly entire nation in 1967, has suffered a
dual capital: on one hand: two thousand years of exile we lifted setback. We, in thebeit midrash, must
our eyes toJerusalemas the joy of the be sure to maintain our excitement

whole world, but also as the symbol and maintain our feeling of the
of Jewish sovereignty overEretz two-directional current running
I was glad when they said to me, Let us
Yisraelas a whole. betweenJerusalemandEretz Yisrael.
go into the House of God
We must also radiate this feeling
Specifically in our times it is important
Here we see Jerusalemas a religious outwards, and do our part to intensify
to emphasize the mutual relationship
capital. On the other hand: and strengthen this awareness, which
between JerusalemandEretz Yisrael,
since the connection between the burned with such clarity when we
. two values seems to be in danger of returned toJerusalem, rather than
There are set thrones of justice, the allowing it to subside.
being severed from both ends. On
thrones of the House of David. the one hand there are groups who Even if we lack influence on the
Here we see Jerusalemas a political glorify Jerusalemas an independent, political level, it is important that we,
capital. stand-alone jewel with Gods house at as students in the beit midrash, uphold
its center. They emphasize the values this view on the ideological level.
Here, again, the national status associated withJerusalemalone, On this day, as we commemorate
ofJerusalemis both inspired by forgetting or neglecting the and celebrateJerusalem, let us
and an inspiration to the rest significance ofEretz Yisraelas a whole also strengthen our awareness
ofEretz Yisrael. On the one hand, and the values associated with it. of the important bond between
Jewish sovereignty in the land Jerusalem, the holy city,
is the foundation and necessary On the other hand, there is a
andJerusalemthe capital, and
precondition for sovereignty sense that among other groups the
betweenJerusalemandEretz Yisrael
overJerusalem; on the other hand, recognition of Jerusalems significance
as a whole.
and its unique contribution is

Specifically in our times it is

important to emphasize the
mutual relationship between
JerusalemandEretz Yisrael, since
the connection between the two
values seems to be in danger of
being severed from both ends.

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary The Benjamin and Rose Berger CJF Torah To-Go Series Yom Haatzmaut 5777