Returning to our roots invokes a profound sentiment, which resonates deeply, stirring an inexplicable longing within.
The wisdom of Kabbalah possesses a principle known as the “law of root and branch.” It asserts that each spiritual root holds a physical counterpart in our world. For instance, Jerusalem (Heb. “Yerushalayim”) stems from a spiritual force rooted in complete awe/fear (Heb. “Ira’a Shlema”), which is a fear for not fulfilling the Divine will. It is a call for us to embrace brotherly love, wholeness, peace and the perfection of our nation, radiating unity to all peoples.
The hidden connection between this root and its branches draws people who are attuned to the higher ideal of Jerusalem toward the mountainous city itself. Upon reaching its ancient walls, a distinct fervor envelops them, influenced not just by the idea but also by the very ground they stand upon.
This union between root and branch was once palpable during the days of the Temple, when Israel diligently pursued unity, attracting the world to learn from the wisdom of connection that the people of Israel upheld. Unity, however, fell short when internal strife consumed them, severing the harmony between Jerusalem’s essence and its inhabitants, leading to their expulsion from this sacred ground.
Even now, although we have returned to Israel, the bond between Israel’s root, its capital Jerusalem, and its physical manifestation, is frail and faded. Our failure to prioritize unity in our return from exile has led to escalating division and animosity, jeopardizing our existence in this land.אפ
We should indeed revere the Land of Israel as an extension of a sanctified root, treating it with the utmost respect, and we do so by cultivating love and connection among each other.
Our attachment to Israel’s root and Jerusalem’s heart determines our belonging to this land. Failure to align ourselves accordingly will likely subject us to another exile, as Kabbalist Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (the Rabash) penned,
“Exile comes only when one does not cautiously keep the value of the land, and the land is not appreciated as it should be. As a result, the land throws that person out, as it is written, ‘And the land shall vomit out.’ […] May the Creator grant us understanding the great merit of the land of Israel, and to know how to appreciate it so it will not vomit us out.” – Rabash, “Letter 57.”