We have said in previous commentaries on this portion of the Torah that the Promised Land, the Land of Israel, is the inheritance of the Jewish people and we mentioned many times that our Land encompasses a permanent space and time with the One who gave it to us. This is the best reason to rejoice individually and collectively as part of the Essence and identity God has given us in His Torah: “Then, you shall rejoice with all the good that the Lord, your God, has granted you and your household you, the Levite, and the stranger who is among you.” (Deuteronomy 26:11).
In this context we understand the meaning of the tithes because everything that exists belongs to God. Hence what we produce out of life and Land He gave us also belongs to Him. Our individualistic and separatist approach to God and others makes us believe that we own something we consider our property, and this is one of the biggest illusions we have created out of ego’s approach to life and the material world.
The Torah teaches us that our Land is part of our existence, and the space in which we realize our unity as a Nation and also unity in our consciousness. In other words, our unity depends on our individual and collective livelihood in our Land. God gave us a Land to share our common identity and purpose as Jews with our diversity, and in spite of our differences. We as Israel are diverse and multidimensional as consciousness also is, and the meaning of settling in our Land implies living in it united as individuals and as a Nation. We tithe in order to keep and protect our unity and permanent bond with the One who gave us life, freedom, the Torah, identity, and Land. Thus we understand that our Land is the place and the a time where and when we fully recognize and experience our connection with God.
The laws, ordinances, statutes and Commandments given in the Torah, which relate to our life in the Land and the relationship with the Land, are directed to maintain our bond with God: “You have selected the Lord this day, to be your God, and to walk in His ways, and to observe His statutes, His Commandments and His ordinances, and to obey Him. And the Lord has selected you this day to be His treasured people, as He spoke to you, and so that you shall observe all His Commandments, and to make you supreme, above all the nations that He made, [so that you will have] praise, a [distinguished] name and glory; and so that you will be a holy people to the Lord, your God, as He spoke.” (26:17-19).
We integrate this principle in all aspects and dimensions of consciousness because by doing this we realize God’s love and His Presence in our life. This is a turning point in what we know about us and about God. Once we realize that we belong to Him as His Creation emanated from His love, we begin to discover who we truly are and sacred to Him. We turn to this awareness as we assimilate God’s ways and attributes described in His Torah. By knowing His ways and learning His attributes, we also know and learn our ways and attributes. This is how we understand the meaning of our relationship with God. We relate to Him through His ways and attributes as also ours, which we learn from Him. We do this by loving Him, because we understand His love for us by loving Him.
This is one of the reasons the Torah commands us to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might, because through love we know His ways, and we make them our ways. Our Sages remark this as the main foundation and meaning of our Essence and identity: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One” as the declaration of our Jewish identity in which we realize the reason and purpose of our existence.
In our Land we build and exercise our unity, because in our unity lies our bond with God. When this unity is broken or fractured as we fall into materialistic fantasies and illusions, the curses fall on us as direct consequence of our separation from each other as Jews and also from God: “Cursed be the man who makes any graven or molten image an abomination to the Lord, the handiwork of a craftsman and sets it up in secret! And all the people shall respond, saying, ‘Amen!’ (…)” (27:17-26, 28:14-68).
The blessing is our bond with God’s ways and attributes: “And all these blessings will come upon you and cleave to you, if you obey the Lord, your God.” (28:1-13). We must insist in the fact that we exist because of God’s love, and we owe Him our life and all He created to sustain us in every aspect of consciousness. Hence we have to start knowing who we truly are from the principle that we are God’s creatures. Therefore, we come to know ourselves through our Creator, and nothing else.
We are not from where we were born, from a country, culture, language, customs, ideology, fashion, or religion, neither from what we have learned in school, or what we do. These things only label us in regards to other peoples’ countries, culture, language, etc. which are all subjected to change depending on time, place and circumstances. Our true origin, place and time of birth, as well as our real identity are God’s love because we all come from Him.
Our true ways and attributes are His ways and attributes as stated in the Torah He gave us. These are the real “culture”, language, customs, etc. that we have to learn in order to know who we truly are as Jews, and our purpose in the world. This is how we become the light for the nations. This is how we dissipate the fantasies and illusions ego makes out of the material world. This knowledge occurs when we allow the Creator be manifest in us as His creatures.
In this awareness we recognize Him in our life which also is the Land where He wants us to live and rejoice in our bond with Him. Be aware that our bond with God lies in Jerusalem as the highest awareness of our connection with Him: “Arise [Jerusalem], shine, for your Light has come, and the glory of the Lord shall be seen upon you. For, behold, darkness shall cover the Earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but upon you the Lord will arise, and His glory shall be seen upon you. And nations shall walk at your Light, and kings at the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:1-3).
This is why we have to rebuild and unify Jerusalem by God’s will, for this is how our Final Redemption begins: “Violence shall no more be heard in your Land, desolation nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Redemption, and your gates Praise.” (60:18).
As we already said, living in full awareness of God’s love as our Essence and true identity is the Land where we are redeemed: “Your people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the Land forever; the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, wherein I glory.” (60:21).