Kenneth Cohen

Acquiring Eretz Yisrael

The Gemara in Masechet Brachot points out that the positioning of two consecutive verses, carry a special message. The first Pasuk says that just as a father rebukes his son, so, too, does Hashem rebuke His children.

The second verse speaks of the beauty of the Land of Israel. The connection between the verses, teaches that Eretz Yisrael is acquired through יסורים, or challenges. The word for rebuke in the Torah, is ייסר, which is a form of the word, יסורים.

The תורה תמימה points out that the purpose of living in Israel is not only to enjoy its physical beauty, but to see Israel as a means of walking in the ways of the Torah.
This was the reason why Moshe Rabbeinu longed for settling in Israel. He understood that there were many Mitzvot that could only be observed in Israel.
Even today, there are many Mitzvot that can only be observed in Israel. We have the Priestly blessings every day in Israel. We separate tithes from fruits and vegetables in Israel. The Sabbatical year is observed in Israel with great care. The first born male animals have special sanctity in Israel. Simply walking four cubits, is a Mitzva. And, of course, settling in Israel is a Mitzva in itself.

We are being taught here that something that is precious, is acquired with difficulties. Not only is Israel acquired with Yesurim, but the same is true regarding Torah and the World to Come. We appreciate the spiritual benefits of these things, and it comes with the realization that they are achieved by determination, dedication, and hard work.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at