February 2015

The Torah

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By Rabbi Daniel Bortz

 

We live today in an unsettling, yet promising time. The Middle East is as violent and unruly as ever. Israel is attacked and vilified, both in its land and around the world. Yet it still blossoms; this precious, beautiful land that our ancestors pined for is a home for every Jew. Today we can enjoy it, and doubt should never creep into our minds regarding the Jewish right to this land. After finishing an after school honors course for high school students this past week, I asked them to find proof for a Jewish claim to the land of Israel. While many focused on claims of historical presence, purchase of the land, military conquest, and international legitimacy, others looked to the Torah—Israel as a Divine gift. Here are a few excerpts:

“The history of Israel goes back over 3,300 years. The Jewish people first arrived and settled in the land when Joshua led them into Canaan. From that point forward, there has never been a time in history where Jews have not been living in the land of Israel. This contiguous presence is evident not only by the bible, but by numerous archaeological findings. Nothing convinced the Jews to flee, from the destruction of the two Temples to the murderous Crusaders of the 12th century and the Arab riots in the 1920’s. —David Aires, Rachel Danzig, & Nicole Sayd

 

“By 1930, Jews owned 52.6% of the land, while Palestinians owned 24.6%.” —Natan Elghanian

 

“The U.N. voted to recognize the Jewish State in Resolution 181.” —Tali Edid

“Israel won the Six-Day War in a defensive war, which earned them the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, and most importantly, Jerusalem.”
—Daniella Datnow

 

Genesis 12, 13, 15, 17: And G-d spoke to Abraham, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.’
‘The entire land that you see, I will give to you and your descendants forever.’
‘Arise and traverse the land, in its length and in its breadth, for to you I shall give it.’
‘Raise your eyes, and, from the place where you are now, look to the north, to the south, to the east and to the west.  For all the land that you see, I will give to you and to your offspring forever… I am G-d who took you out of Ur Casdim to give you this land as a possession
.’
‘To you and your offspring I will give the land where you are now living as a foreigner. The whole land of Canaan shall be your eternal heritage, and I will be a God to your descendants.’”
—Eitan Abu, Elias Sitton & Paulina Waiss

“Therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.” —Jack Calderon

 

Regarding Jerusalem,And King David said to Ornan, “No, for I will buy [it] for the full price…” And David gave Ornan gold weighing six hundred shekels for the place.” —Eitan Abu
Regardless of International pressure, accusations, or the state of a peace process, it is important for both the Jewish people and the rest of the world to know the history of Israel, and primarily its eternal, Divine connection with the Jewish people. If we stood up and proudly and unequivocally declared this for all to hear, perhaps the perception of Israel would change.

 

Rabbi Daniel Bortz is the director of JTeen San Diego, jteensd.com. For information on classes, contact him at danielbortz@gmail.com.

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