Thursday, August 4, 2011

Residents of the Land

It is well known that the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, yearned to move the Eretz Yisrael with all of his soul, and even made several plans to leave the diaspora for the holy land. The residents of Eretz Yisrael were so excited when they heard about this that they even built a shul for him. Sadly, his desire never came to fruition.
When the Chofetz Chaim’s son, Rav Leib, visited Eretz Yisrael and then returned to galus, his father rebuked him. “Why didn’t you stay? Returning was nothing more than a foolish mistake. We are in the time known as ikvesa d’mishichah, the end of days. When Moshiach finally arrives, we cannot be sure that we will have the merit to even enter eretz Yisrael. But if we are already living in the land before Moshiach arrives we can feel secure that we will not be evicted from our home...”
When Rav Yashar, z”l, recounted this story he commented, “One may well wonder about the Chofetz Chaim’s source for this surprising teaching. I believe that his source is from the gemara. In Kesuvos 111 we find that the land and holiness of Eretz Yisrael is compared to the altar. This is learned from the proof that one who is buried in Eretz Yisrael is considered as if he is buried under the mizbeach. We see this from the verse. On the one hand we find, 'וכיפר אדמתו עמו' and it also says, 'מזבח אדמה תעשה לי'. This equates the land of Eretz Yisrael to the altar.
“Since we find in Zevachim 84 that what is brought up on the altar is not removed except under exceptional circumstances, it seems clear that the same is true of one who is already in Eretz Yisrael before Moshiach comes!”

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