In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!
Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available soon!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.
Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!
“God said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)
ויאמר יהוה אל אברם לך לך מארצך וממולדתך ומבית אביך אל הארץ אשר אראך.
“The heavens belong to God, but the land He gave over to man.” (Psalms 115:16)
השמים שמים ליהוה והארץ נתן לבני אדם.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (eretz)” (Genesis 1:1). After briefly mentioning the creation of the heavens, the rest of the Bible is focused squarely on Earth, where God placed human beings and enjoined us to follow His word and carry out His will. “The heavens belong to God, but the land He gave over to man” (Psalms 115:16). Our mission in life is to make this physical world a Godly world!
But the Bible is particularly focused on one specific area of land: the land of Israel.
God’s first words to Abraham were “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Only in Israel would Abraham be able to carry out his mission to bring the knowledge and light of God to the world. And only in Israel will Abraham’s descendants complete his holy mission and bring the final redemption.
The nation of Israel, the land of Israel and God Himself are intimately and eternally bound to one another. “It is a land which God looks after, on which God always keeps His eye, from the year’s beginning to the year’s end” (Deuteronomy 11:12). While God created and cares for the entire world, His presence in the land of Israel is palpable. Countless visitors and pilgrims to Israel, from ancient times until today, testify to experiencing a powerful closeness to God unlike anywhere else in the world.