Parashas Masei

This week’s parashah contains a section describing the borders of the Land of Israel. The section begins as follows (Bamidbar 34:1-2): “Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying, ‘Command the Children of Israel and say to them, “When you come to the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance, the land of Canaan according to its borders.”’” The Midrash remarks (Bamidbar Rabbah 23:5):
This teaches that the Holy One Blessed Be He showed Moshe all that happened and would happen in the future [in the land]. He showed him … each generation’s expounders, each generation’s judges, each generation’s leaders, each generation’s sinners, and each generation’s righteous men. And it is written (Devarim 34:4): “And Hashem said to him, ‘This is the land that I promised to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Yaakov, saying, “To your descendants I shall give it.” I have let you see it with your eyes.’” … What does it mean, “This is the land … saying”? Said the Holy One Blessed Be He to Moshe: “Tell Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov: ‘The oath I swore to you, I have fulfilled unto your descendants.’” On account of this it says, “saying.”
David HaMelech writes (Tehillim 105:6-11):
He [Hashem] remembered forever His covenant – the word He ordained for a thousand generations – that He made with Avraham, and His oath to Yitzchak. He established it for Yaakov as a statute, for Yisrael as an everlasting covenant, saying: “To you I shall give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.”
And after Hashem showed Yaakov the vision of the ladder, He said to him (Bereishis 28:15): “I shall not forsake you until I have carried out what I have spoken regarding you.”
The Maggid elucidates Hashem’s promise to the Jewish People with a beautiful parable. A man went to a distant land to seek work. He acquired a position with a certain gentleman, and served in this position for a length of time. The gentleman grew very fond of him. Finally, the time came for the man to collect his wages and return home. The gentleman, out of his great love for this man, wished to make sure that the man would arrive home with all the money. He therefore made the man a special promise: If the man lost the money on the way home, he would replace it. Under no circumstances would he leave the man empty-handed.
This is the nature of Hashem’s promise to the Jewish People. At the Covenant Between the Parts, Hashem promised Avraham that he would inherit the land of Canaan. Avraham asked (Bereishis 15:8): “Through what will I know that I will inherit it?” Avraham was afraid that his descendants would sin and be expelled from the land. Hence Hashem repeated His promise to Yaakov and said: “I shall not forsake you until I have carried out what I have spoken regarding you.” Hashem was telling him: “Even if I give the land to your descendants and they lose it, I will serve as guarantor for them and give it to them again.” Thus, as David HaMelech says, Hashem established it as an everlasting covenant that He shall give us the land of Canaan. That is, even after He gave us the land, the words “shall give” remained in force, and they continue in force for eternity. Hashem will keep giving us the land until we secure our hold on it permanently.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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