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Bechukotai: Kedushat Levi: The Land’s Longing

“And your enemies that dwell there shall be astonished (Vayikra 26:32).” The Ramban interprets this verse as meaning that many nations repeatedly attempted to transform Israel into a place of flourishing habitation, similar to other lands, but they never succeeded.


Why? Because the Holy One created the whole world, and decreed that certain areas would be places of habitation, and others would remain desolate. When a settled area is destroyed, it is transformed into a desert where wild beasts are normally found. When it is later resettled, no wild beast will be found there, as would normally be the case in the desert.

As for the Land of Israel, however, when the people of Israel live there securely, it is an inhabited region. But when the Jewish people are exiled, even though other nations reside there, it remains a wasteland. Why? Because whenever Jews do not reside in the Land of Israel, it remains a desert, inhabited by wild beasts, even though other nations may be there.

This is so specifically because Israel is not present there. So we find in the case of Sancherev, who settled the Samaritans in the Land of Israel, and wild bears and lions came upon them and slew them as though they were in a desert (II Kings 17:25).

The operative principle is that so long as the people of Israel do not dwell in their land, it remains a wasteland, even though other nations abide there. This proves that the Land of Israel is specifically ours and does not accept the habitation of any other nation. (Kedushat Levi; Lamentations)

Use as a Kavanah in the 9th Blessing of the Amidah.

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