Kenneth Cohen

Living Securely in the Land

There is a very interesting commentary of the Torah Temima, regarding a Midrash on Parshat Be’Chukotai.

When the Torah says that, “You will live securely in the land,” the Midrash adds that you can only live securely in the Land of Israel, and not outside of Israel.

The Torah Temima explains this Midrash by saying that this statement holds true even for those who fulfill the will of G-d in the Diaspora. This is because only Israel is the place of holiness and the receiving of the Shechina, the Divine Presence. And this can only be felt while living in the land of Israel.

This is like the Shushan flower (lily), that it will flourish if it is planted in fertile soil, and it cannot grow if uprooted from the ground.

This is derived from the additional word, בארצכם, “in your land.” The Torah could have said that if the commandments were observed, we would live securely. The word, בארצכם, teaches that this feeling of security can only be felt in Israel, and not outside of it.

The place where we feel Hashem nearest to us, is the place where we have the most protection and security. This cannot be substituted, no matter how “frume” a particular neighborhood or community might be outside the land. Our beloved land cannot be transplanted. The Kedusha and Shechina rest in Israel, and this is the only place where all Jews belong.

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