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24.03.2014 10:40    Comments: 0    Categories: Weekly Parashah      Tags: torah  shabbat  parasha  shemini  

Achieving Eden in the State of Israel

The State of Israel has existed for fifty-three years. In terms of gematria, numerical value, the number fifty-three translates as gimel-nun, “Gan,” meaning “Garden.” It is known that regarding “Gan Eden,” the Garden of Eden, the Rabbis derive from the Torah that the “Garden” and “Eden” constitute two distinct entities: They expound, “‘A river flowed out of Eden to water the Garden’ (Genesis 2:10) -- The Garden and Eden were separate from each other” (Berachot 34b).

The Garden was a sort of vessel. Eden was like the soul within, the divine source giving the body life.

G-d set man down in the Garden of Eden: “G-d took Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to watch it” (Genesis 2:15). Although Adam had been set down in the best, most ideal place, the place where the Garden and Eden were joined together, G-d still commanded Adam to “work it and watch it,” which our sages understood to mean keeping both the positive and negative precepts of the Torah. How much more so that we, who are in a place like the Garden, sunken in materialism and in physical vessels, must work it and watch it so that we can uncover Eden, the divine goodness and bounty in our world.

Imagine a farmer who wishes to grow sweet fruits. To do so he must work the field and watch it. He must work it, by ploughing, planting, watering and tending to the trees, and he must watch it, against harmful animals, weeds and thieves. Just so, we in our lives must work and watch our individual and national gardens if we are to merit the sweet fruits, the resulting “Eden.”

Today, we have merited to have a “national garden,” a national home, for fifty-three years. Our country is economically and militarily strong and advanced. Within our home, however, our national garden, we must toil and watch in order to uncover the Eden, i.e., the bounty and goodness, the divine source.

The main task of working and watching our individual and national home involves increasing our love and faith. A home that has love and faith is a home that is lit up, a garden full of sweet fruits.

Let us increase love and faith in our national home. By doing so, we will merit to see with our own eyes the fulfillment of Isaiah 51:3: “For the L-rd shall comfort Zion. He will comfort all her desolate places. He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the L-rd. Joy and gladness shall be found in it, thanksgiving and song.”

Wishing you a joyous Israeli Independence Day,

Longing for complete salvation,

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