The Good of the Land of Israel - Tuv HaAretz by Rabbi Shapira

This is a Sefer - book that describes many aspects of the spiritual concept of the Land of Israel and what it means both spiritually and physically. It is a series of classes that will be reading from this book and will be quite meaningful to understand on a personal level what it means when a leader of the Jewish People calls on the Jewish Nation to return to the Good Land of Israel.

Tuv HaAretz:

The Righteous Seventy Two

Chapter Four, Part 2

The concept [of the tzadikim of Eretz Yisrael functioning as conduits of divine influence for the entire world] is hinted at in the Tikunei Zohar (50b), "To my heart I have revealed Myself, and to My limbs I have not". Rav Chaim Vital asks, "Why did Chazal mention, 'I have not revealed My heart to My mouth'? (The heart represents the deepest secret - the revelation of Mashiach) Haven't we seen some great rabbis (including Rav Shimon Bar Yochai) discussing the advent of Mashiach? Yet the secret of the issue is thus: to those souls that are the aspect of the heart of the world, I have revealed the secret of the 'End of Days'. That is why they were able to talk about it in a shrouded way. Yet to those souls who correspond to the rest of the body, G-d has not revealed that secret." Their hearts have been separated… 36 in Eretz Yisrael and 36 in Chutz LaAretz

chanoch's Commentary

These two groups have another two levels of classification. There are hidden and revealed Tzadikim. This is why we always speak of 36 Tzadikim. Since there are 36 revealed Tzadikim and 36 hidden or concealed Tzadikim. This is my opinion.

That is what was meant by the above statement from the Tikunei Zohar, "To My heart I (definitely) revealed Myself, yet not My limbs". Who are considered "My heart"? The Torah. For the Torah has a head, body, heart and other limbs, just like the Jewish people. For it is said about the Jews, "the eyes of the congregation" (Numbers 15:24). [This description implies that we can describe other parts of the body to different groups of Jews.] They are the 70 [This number, 70 is the value of the letter ayin this is hinted at from the word "aynei" - the ayins - "eyes" mentioned in the verse above] members of the Sanhedrin - the Supreme Court of dissemination of Torah law. Moses and Aaron are above them. They are whom we refer to when it says "To My heart I revealed Myself". So too the Torah has seventy facets, they stem from two main roots, the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. About the exile, it is written, "Their hearts ('Libam' in Hebrew) have been separated" (Hoshea 10:2), "Libam" has the numerical value of 72. This refers to the 72 tzadikim; they are similar to the members of Sanhedrin [plus Moses and Aaron]. The essence of this is like the verse, "Praiseworthy are those that yearn for Him ("Lo" in Hebrew)" (Isaiah 30:18). The numerical value of Lo is 36. That refers to the 36 tzadikim in Eretz Yisrael. Yet there are another 36 tzadikim who live in Chutz LaAretz. This is what is derived from the verse, "Their hearts (Libam) have been separated" (Hoshea 10:2): "Libam", being 72, has been separated, 36 in Eretz Yisrael and 36 in Chutz LaAretz. If the majority of the Jews are in Eretz Yisrael then you can be assured that they are meritorious

G-d was alluding to this when He told Moses, "Gather for Me 70 elders… and I shall emanate to them from the spirit I have imbued in you" (Numbers 11:16-17). It is known that the face of Moses is like the sun. That is seen in the verse, "And I shall place rubies ("kadkod" in Hebrew) as your Sun" (Isaiah 54:12). Kadkod has the value of 48, which refers to 48 of the 70 tzadikim that draw their spirituality from the root of Moses. All of them are from the world of masculinity, therefore the Shechina [which is feminine, so to speak] goes after them to connect with them. That is the mystery of the verse, "Light is sewn for the tzadikim" (Psalms 97:11). Yet if heaven forbid there are no merits for the Jews, then the opposite can occur. And they would be left in Eretz Yisrael with only 24 of the 72 tzadikim. Upon that the verse states, "Let not the oppressed ["dach" in Hebrew] turn back in shame" (Psalms 74:21). "Dach" has the value of 24. King David is requesting of G-d not to turn away his prayers (for the Prophet depicts David as being exceedingly oppressed), nor the prayers of any oppressed people (like the Jews when they have no merits). A simple way of knowing the status of the merits of the Jews is to observe the following: if the majority of the Jews are in Eretz Yisrael then you can be assured that they are meritorious. Yet if the majority of the Jews are in Chutz LaAretz, then we know that they are culpable. Samae'l… separates their heart, causing most of the tzadikim to be in Chutz LaAretz

The depth of the above is that the existence of the world is dependent upon the tzadikim. It is they who, through their service of G-d, draw down divine influence to the land. Behold when the majority [of tzadikim] are in Eretz Yisrael, then they draw vast amounts of pure and clean divine influence. Yet the minority of them in Chutz LaAretz will suffice to spread out that which is being provided to them by the tzadikim in Eretz Yisrael. This is hinted to in the verse, "When the righteous abound the nation rejoices, but in the rule of the wicked they will groan" (Proverbs 29:2, "b'yirbot tzadikim yismach ha'am…"). The first letters of the first four words spell HaTzvi, meaning that when there are a majority of tzadikim in Eretz HaTzvi (literally "the lovely land"), then the rest of the nation in Chutz LaAretz shall rejoice in the tzadikim drawing forth the blessings of divine influence ad infinitum. Yet the second part of the verse, "…under the rule of the wicked" implies as that which is written in the Tikuney Zohar. There it says, "Who separates their heart"? It is none other than the yeast and leavening who are Samae'l and the snake. That is what is meant by the verse, "In the rule of the wicked they will groan(Proverbs 29:2), that refers to Samae'l who rules and separates their heart, causing most of the tzadikim to be in Chutz LaAretz, then the nation shall groan. For the amount of divine influence that descends to the world in that situation is pittance, being that so few tzadikim are in Eretz Yisrael, they can't draw down from the gate of heaven so much influence. This is like a candle, upon the thickness (quantity) of whose wick will be determined the grasp (i.e. strength) of the flame. So no matter how great in number are the tzadikim in Chutz LaAretz, they can only share that which was drawn down by the number of tzadikim in Eretz Yisrael.

The Zohar (157b) says, "Even when the Jewish people are in exile, the Shechina exiles herself after them, and gives to the ministering angels in charge of each country the sustenance they need. This of course is only subsequent to deriving the influence from the heavenly portal above Eretz Yisrael - Livnas HaSapir. From there spreads out all the influence for the exiles." This is what is meant by the Torah, "And you shall bless the Lord your G-d…" (Deut. 8:10), even in Chutz LaAretz; "…upon the good land…", because of those in the "good land" - Eretz Yisrael; "…that He has given you", the sustenance He has given you. For it is the Land of Israel that provides sustenance for the whole world. Eretz Yisrael is like the heart of the world that provides life force to the rest of the world

Yet there is another approach to this matter. That is that the tzadikim in Eretz Yisrael protect all the various places. The reason is that Eretz Yisrael is like the heart of the world that provides life force to the rest of the world, whereas the tzadikim in Chutz LaAretz offer no global protection, only local, to their own vicinity. They are like the limbs that benefit mostly themselves.

This is why the demise of tzadikim in Eretz Yisrael is such a damaging catastrophe for the whole world. It is written, "And Sarah died in Kiryat Arba, which is Hebron in the land of Canaan". That verse is strange, for why did it mention first the specific place "Kiryat Arba" and then the more general place "the land of Canaan (Eretz Yisrael)"? The answer to this is basically that the intention was to hint to the lofty stature of Sarah, for in her merit all the inhabitants of her surrounding neighborhoods benefited greatly. That benefit also extended to the entire land of Israel. Thus, at the time of her demise, was the demise of the benefit of the entire land. The reason for that is that the tzadik in Eretz Yisrael benefits his place and the entire world.

There are other times that the 72 tzadikim are split into two groups even within Eretz Yisrael. They are two groups of 24 each as in the verse, "And I shall place rubies -kadkod - as your Sun" (Isaiah 54:12). Kad = 24 and kod = 24, yet the third group of 24 remains outside of Eretz Yisrael. Upon this situation the verse says, "The sound of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous ones ["b'ohalei tzadikim yemin" in Hebrew], G-d's right hand does valiantly [chayil in Hebrew]" (Psalms 118:15). The first letters spell tzvi, implying that when there is 48 (the number of b'ohalei) tzadikim in the Land of the Tzvi, Eretz Yisrael, then there will be rejoicing and salvation in Chutz LaAretz. That is because of the kad = 24 kod = 24 tzadikim in Eretz Yisrael. Originally there were 36 tzadikim, as in the value of the word ohel, tent. Yet later they were expanded to two thirds of 72 = 48, meaning two tents (groups of 24), that is why the verse says b'ohalei = 48, which is the plural of ohel. That is also the reason that two terms used are "rejoicing" and "salvation". And what has caused this? "…G-d's right hand does valiantly (chayil in Hebrew)"; chayil = 48. In other words, chesed [with a numerical value of 72], the attribute of mercy, works in this world and does valiantly because of the chayil = 48 tzadikim that are in Eretz Yisrael. When there are … 48 tzadikim in the Land of the Tzvi…then there will be rejoicing

Yet we must delve deeper to understand the root of the 72 tzadikim and from whence they come. Know that the Arizal brings in his Drasha of the Thirds (Etz Chaim Gate 11, Chapter 3) that each chesed is divided into six thirds. Behold the Five Chasadim are split into 30 chasadim. That is the essence of the verse, "And Abraham is surely to become (hayo yeheyeh in Hebrew)" (Gen 18:18). [Yeheyeh = 30. Abraham had a hei, with a numerical value of 5, added to his name, enabling him to "surely become"]. In other words, Abraham who represents chesed, spreads throughout the "body" of Zeir Anpin, to the extent of the number 30, which equals that of yeheyeh . Only then can the chasadim enter the yesod of Zeir Anpin, where it is also split into six, giving us a total of 36 chasadim. Then at the time of the unification of the yesod of Zeir Anpin with the yesod of Nukva, he transfers over those general chasadim. That is what is meant by the verse, "And Abraham gave all that he owned to him (lo in Hebrew)" (Gen. 25:5). [Lo = 36.] This means that basically Abraham, the man of chesed, gave all that he had -36 chasadim- to Isaac. He [Isaac] is basically Rachel, for the word l'Yitzchak, "to Isaac", has the numerical value of 238, the same as the numerical value of "Rachel". This is because all of their rectifications are from the aspect of gevurot, which are called Isaac, and she, Rachel, is called by his name.

Behold, opposite those 36 chasadim, which are incorporated into the yesod, also known as tzadik (and by virtue of the yesod all those chasadim are called tzadikim)--are the 36 gevurot, which are incorporated into the yesod of Zeir Anpin (and are also referred to as tzadikim).They are the root of the 72 tzadikim we have been discussing. And if their heart was separated, as in "Their hearts (Libam, in Hebrew) have been separated" (Hoshea 10:2), who separated it? The yeast and leavening, which are the "mixed multitude" (see Ex. 32:38). The mystery of this, is the verse, "And it separated between water and water" (Gen. 1:6). See Tikuney Zohar 51 a. The intent of this is that at the time when the "mixed multitude" are ruling in the world, then the Nukva of Zeir Anpin is in the position of back to back. Therefore she [Nukva] has nothing [from Zeir Anpin], only gevurot [represented by the back], which is basically the state we are in - our current exile.

That is the situation of "Their heart [Libam, equaling 72, representing the 72 tzadikim] has been separated", referring to the 36 gevurot, the aspect of Chutz LaAretz, the back of Zeir Anpin and the 36 chasadim, the aspect of Eretz Yisrael, the yesod of the front of Zeir Anpin. This is the verse (Gen. 1:6)"And it separated between water…" --meaning chasadim, "…and water" - gevurot . The first letters of the words "…between water and water" ("bein mayim lamayim") spells "Libam"--their heart. Yet at the time when the chasadim and gevurot join together, as in the union between Zeir Anpin and Nukva during the Mussaf prayer of Shabbat, or how they will be at the time of the final redemption, then Zeir Anpin gives the Nukva the 36 chasadim. Upon that situation is written, "Chesed - the kindness of G-d fills the land" (Psalms 33:5), meaning that all 72 tzadikim, whose number equals that of the word chesed (which has the numerical value of 72), "fill the land", the land of Israel that represents the Nukva being given those chasadim. That would cause the 36 gevurot to transform into chasadim by virtue of their being "sweetened". Upon that situation is written, "He who forms their hearts (libam, again) together" (Psalms 33:15), as well as the verse "Their heart (Libam) will rejoice in G-d" (Zachariah 10:7), literally.

I have heard from my beloved Ramaz [the author's mentor], that all of this commentary is hinted at in the verse, "About this our hearts were ill" (Lamentations 5:17 "Al zeh hayah daveh libeinu"). In other words the tzadikim, who are called the heart and eyes, as was mentioned earlier, have been negatively affected by [the absence of] "this"--"zeh". Zeh has the numerical value of 12 [which, when added to the first 36] can create chayil (which has a numerical value of 48), meaning "valor". This is also the understanding of the rest of the verse, "… upon these (ayleh = 36), our eyes were dimmed", the eyes referring to the tzadikim. It is specifically the lacking of "this"-- zeh (which equals 12), that makes the heart ill. The heart is the "architect", as is mentioned in the commentaries of the sages (Bereishit Rabba 27:4). Since from the "waist and below the heart", there are two thirds, which are the secret of the 24. Yet when there is a lacking in the "ayleh" (which equals 36), then there is darkness in the eyes. For then the heart and eyes of the Jews are shut. The wise shall understand and their lips will kiss (this concept).

End of Chapter Four.

chanoch's Commentary

There are always 72 Tzadikim between the Land of Israel and the rest of the world. We need to realize that in our generation almost all of the Tzadikim are concealed and that the majority of the Jews will soon be in Israel if they are not already a majority of the Jews in the world. None of that relates to how many Tzadikim are in the Land of Israel. Remember a Tzadik is someone who is Righteous at a specific moment. In time it will become clear as to how many Tzadikim are in the Land of Israel and that number is volatile and will change moment by moment, in my opinion.

Levels of Relating to Israel

Chapter Five, Part 1

To clarify this discourse we must make six distinctions:

chanoch adds: What discourse? There are levels of Hierarchy in the physical world as described in the Zohar in the Parasha of Shelach Lecha. These levels are being revealed to the majority of the Children of Israel who do not study the Zohar. These distinctions are expressed as relating to the human souls not relating to the lands of the world as is done in the Zohar.

1. He who has never entered Eretz Yisrael.

2. He who has gazed upon the land from afar yet never physically entered.

chanoch adds: In our generation this would apply to people who have seen videos and pictures of the cities and people within the land itself.

3. He who has entered the land yet exited and died in Chutz LaAretz.

chanoch adds: These are tourists and also people born in the land which the land "vomited" out.

4. He who has the merit of his bones (alone) entering the land.

chanoch adds: These who die outside of Israel and have their bodies buried in the Land of Israel. There is also the possibility of mixing levels. An example is an Israeli tourist who dies outside of Israel and then is buried in the Land. This would be someone who is in both category 3 and 4.

5. He who was born abroad yet ascended to Eretz Yisrael and died and was buried there.

6. He who was born in Eretz Yisrael and never ever left her.

Obviously these levels are in ascending order. Yet each level represents very lofty concepts. Likewise it is obvious that this entire lowly earth is opposite the realm of malchut. Within that realm there are three subdivisions: the sea, the land, and Eretz Yisrael. Each one surrounds the next, as the sea surrounds the landmass. The aspect of the sea corresponds to the white of an eye that represents chesed. The rest of the land is likened to the darkness of the eye that represents gevura. From there, the inner gold of the eye and its appendages are drawn inward. That is why the mere airspace of Chutz LaAretz contaminates. For it is split, in an aspect of externality, into seventy sections in relation to the gentile nations.

Eretz Yisrael corresponds to the line of green that surrounds the pupil, also called the bat ayin. This is in an aspect of tiferet, which is also called Israel. In the middle of Eretz Yisrael is Jerusalem, which corresponds to the pupil; she represents the Shechina. The previous three hues that surround it are hinted to in the word "Shabbat" [spelled shin, beit, tav]. Shin [the letter]-bat: shin has three heads to it which represent the first three hues which surround and precede the bat, the pupil. The three of the shin are the [three] Patriarchs--not actually the Patriarchs themselves but rather the three existing realities which are the adornment of the malchut. The bat refers to the bat ayin which is a name for the actual malchut. For she is the daughter (bat in Hebrew) and one of the ten attributes. She herself is subdivided into ten, which correspond to mystery of the Ten Levels of Holiness of Jerusalem.

In my impoverished opinion there is another hint to Jerusalem being called the bat ayin - "Daughter of the eye". That is because Sama'el is the numerical value of 130, whose numerical value equals the word ayin-eye; he receives all his power from the palace of Livnat HaSapir [which is directly under the heavenly portal directly over Jerusalem]. From there he divides it amongst the ministering angels of the seventy nations, hence the letter ayin whose value is 70. Therefore Jerusalem is the beit - house, for the seventy angels who receive their power from there.

Advantages of Being in the Land of Israel

Chapter Five, Part 2

The closer one's connection to the Land, the greater the benefits

Behold, he who doesn't live in Eretz Yisrael is called by the sages as, "One who is as if he has no G‑d." (Ketubot 111) The reason for this is simple. Every Jew's soul emanates from a holy place, and therefore the kelipot really have no real power to rule over him. That is derived from the verse, "For G‑d's portion is His nation." (Deut. 32:9) They are G‑d's portion, not the portion of the angels. Therefore the ministering angel of his country has no real power over him, yet the Shechinah is not resting directly upon him either. This is because he is engulfed by the depths of the sea of the kelipot that is in the contaminated airspace of his foreign country. Therefore he is considered to be without G‑d. Torah and mitzvot…are enclothed by the forces of that contaminated airspace of Chutz LaAretz

chanoch's Commentary

The author of this Sefer is not a practicing Kabbalist, to my knowledge. Kabbalah teaches that everything is based on consciousness. The physical location of a body is an effect. If someone is able to maintain the consiousness that they are in Israel at all moments then there is no reason one needs to be physically in the Land of Israel. Of course there is no underestimating the difficulty in maintaining that consciousness especially if one is constantly impacted by the contaminated airspace of the physical location they are within being outside of Israel.

It is certain that his Neshama, Ruach, Nefesh, and Body are totally enclothed within that contaminated airspace. Therefore all his Torah and mitzvot aren't totally pure, for they too are enclothed by the forces of that contaminated airspace of Chutz LaAretz. If that is not enough, even when he dies and his soul leaves his body, his Neshama can't rise up in absolute purity, for it in enclothed by that kelipa. Aside from that, the soul must go through a rolling process until it finally reaches the airspace of Eretz Yisrael. Only from there can the Neshama ascend to the Garden of Eden. This we know from the sages' statement that "the entrance to the Garden of Eden is through the Cave of Machpela [in the holy Israeli city of Hebron]." (Zohar Chadash Rut) From the earthly Garden of Eden the Neshama ascends to the heavenly Garden of Eden.

chanoch adds: This is an explanation for the idea that the body will also have to roll into the Land of Israel in order to be resurrected when that event actually occurs.

When we contemplate upon the advantage of Eretz Yisrael over other lands we should make three categories. Yet we must also keep in mind that within each category lies many more sub-divisions and aspects:

1) The performance of mitzvot in purity and cleanliness his entire life.

2) The separation of the Neshama from the body upon death.

3) The resurrection of the deceased of the future.

These three categories are going to vary greatly dependent upon many factors. For he who was born in Eretz Yisrael and remained there all his life, his soul descended to his body in purity and was never contaminated by the air of foreign countries. That level is a tremendous boon to his service of G‑d. This level applies to a certain degree even to those who enter Eretz Yisrael before their Bar/Bat Mitzva. For according to the teachings of the sages (Zohar Mishpatim), the element of soul called the Good Inclination and full Neshama [sometimes even the Ruach and or Nefesh] only enters his being at Bar Mitzvah. Therefore all mitzvot that he does from then on, are in complete purity. He was raised in a good name and passed on with a good name.

Yet he who ascends to Eretz Yisrael in an advanced age can not attain that level. Rather he only merits the other two categories, the separation of soul and the resurrection in the future. Lastly, he who arrives in Eretz Yisrael only subsequent to dying, of course, only merits the resurrection. Which contains within it the advantage of the souls returning to the body, as in "And your bones I shall strengthen." (Isaiah 58:11) That is since he was interred in purity in Eretz Yisrael. A Jew who resides in Chutz LaAretz and performs…mitzvot with as much purity as he can, nonetheless… will send spiritual power to the ministering angel of that country.

Now when we come to expound upon the advantages of the first category we find them numerous:

The Neshama has never been tainted nor contaminated by the air of Chutz LaAretz.

His mitzvot were performed in absolute purity. The very spirituality generated by those Torah and mitzvot never was tainted by that kelipa.

The divine influence that is drawn down by means of his Torah and mitzvot gives no nourishment or strength to the foreign angels. For a Jew who resides in Chutz LaAretz and performs Torah and mitzvot with as much purity as he can, nonetheless the spirituality generated therein will send spiritual power to the ministering angel of that country.

The above was certainly true when the Shechinah was residing openly in Eretz Yisrael. The fact that the foreign powers receive influence can be seen from the verse of King David, "For they have driven me away this day from connecting myself to the heritage of G‑d saying, 'go serve the god of others'" (Samuel I 26:19). Literally serve and channel influence to those foreign gods who are the kelipot as mentioned previously. The meaning of this is that he who lives in Eretz Yisrael even in its state of ruin, is as if he has a connection to G‑d. Yet if Eretz Yisrael is built up [i.e. with the Holy Temple and the Shechinah] then they literally are connected to G‑d. Whilst always in Chutz LaAretz its as if he has no G‑d. That is why David, who is our anointed one [the soul of Mashiach], said, "they have driven me away this day from connecting myself to the heritage of G‑d", for he experience a real exile.

Furthermore, Eretz Yisrael in his time wasn't built up, there was no Holy Temple; even the Tabernacle had been laid useless (like a public altar) by the removal of the Holy Ark. Even regarding Our Teacher Moses, we see the Torah writes, "With me as well [Gam bi in Hebrew] G‑d got angry." (Deut. 1:37) Gam bi has the four letters (GMBI) that start the words from the verse of King David, "They have driven me away this day from connecting myself to the heritage of G‑d/Gershuni Mehestapayach Benachlas Hashem." (Samuel I 26:19)

[Note: the text continues enumerating further advantages of being in the Land.]

chanoch adds: While it is true that someone doing Mitzvot in the Land of Israel is not contaminated by the atmosphere. Yet if someone does not have a proper Kavenah while doing an action of Mitzvot and / or a good deed that action is still corrupted. It just is not corrupted from this aspect of the atmosphere of the Land and the feeding of Angelic Ministers.

There are other extra mitzvot for the land that are only capable of being fulfilled while living in the land. There is no doubt that the benefits, advantages and qualities there are so great that one is precluded from performing them in Chutz LaAretz. This is because the power of that level of holiness is not befitting to supply influence to Chutz LaAretz, as was said by our sages that you shouldn't bring challah (the dough offering from Chutz LaAretz, and if it was brought then you should burn it like chometz (leavened bread) on Pesach Eve. The same applies to teruma (donations to the kohen), bikurim (first fruit offerings) and other similar mitzvot. The reason for that is because of the awesome greatness of those mitzvot in relation to the land.

All the borders of Eretz Yisrael are bodies of water…for before anyone can enter her holy airspace they must first… purify themselves by immersion

The prayers in Eretz Yisrael are most desired and accepted by G‑d. This is true because in Eretz Yisrael there are not so many prosecuting forces intercepting our prayers. The reason for that is that the letters that we pronounce in our prayers are not engulfed by the impure air. This is why the prayers of the land transform into a crown befitting the Creator of the world. This is hinted to in the verse, "Behold, the cries of the children of Israel/Hinay Za'akas Bnei Yisrael have come to Me." (Ex. 3:9) The first letters spell, HaTzvi [meaning "deer" or "loveliness"] referring to the Land of Israel. In other words in the Land of the Tzvi, G‑d Himself immediately accepts our cries and prayers, without any angel as an intermediary. That is not the case outside the Land. For there the prayers are enveloped within the contaminated air, and there are a few of the External Forces that prosecute against the acceptance of those prayers. Once those prayers reach Eretz Yisrael they need to be purified and cleansed before being able to ascend before the heavenly throne. This is what is meant by Rav Cordovero (in his book Ohr Yakar): "This is why all the borders of Eretz Yisrael are bodies of water; East is the Jordan River, West is the Mediterranean, South is the Egypt River, and North is the Euphrates. For before anyone can enter her holy airspace they must first traverse a body of water and purify themselves by immersion. For only then (after purification) can that person receive his addition to his Neshama."

chanoch adds: The Land under discussion is not the land borders of the modern state of Israel. The Land being discussed is what the Torah describes as the borders of the Land of Israel. These 4 rivers / bodies of water are the borders described in the Torah.

The second category of qualities has much sub-division as well. For example:

Death in Eretz Yisrael is not carried out by the Angel of Death, rather it is done by means of a holy angel. This angel, although stemming from the aspect of chesed, gets enclothed in gevura in order to remove the soul from the person. This is likened to an animal being ritually slaughtered [i.e. in a kosher manner] with a perfectly smooth blade rendering the person "pure". This is opposed to death in Chutz LaAretz, where death is meted out by Sama'el with a blemished and defective blade rendering the person invalid.

For one who dies in Chutz LaAretz, his soul, at the time of its departure from the body, is enclothed by the forces of Chutz LaAretz, thus being contaminated. The soul must exert tremendous effort just to reach the gates of heaven. There it is purified from its contamination in order that it should be allowed to ascend.

The body of those buried in Chutz LaAretz must roll underground from the place of burial until Eretz Yisrael, in order to arise at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead. With each border he must pass, he is harassed and tormented by the forces of each country. Upon this, the sages write, "there is no comparison to one who is absorbed into Eretz Yisrael while alive as opposed to after death. (Ketubot 111a)

Again, to expound upon the third category of qualities of Eretz Yisrael, there are many distinctions to be made. A few are:

The actual differences and specifics each soul will experience during that rolling from Chutz LaAretz.

The fact that the resurrection of the dead in Eretz Yisrael will precede that of those buried in Chutz LaAretz.

The souls return to visit their bodies on Shabbat and New Moons, as mentioned in the Zohar (I 81a and b). For those buried outside Eretz Yisrael, the Neshama must pass through the contaminated air space of Chutz LaAretz to reach its body. This causes much distress to both body and soul.

The above advantages are all attained by one who was born in Eretz Yisrael and never left. He who ascended to Eretz Yisrael in his youth has nearly all of them; a reduction of those advantages exists only because he was born into foreign soil. Yet one who grew up outside the land and then came doesn't even receive those benefits. That is true even if he was able to perform some of the mitzvot of the land. He who enters the land at an advanced age, and passes on, will basically benefit from the last two categories. One whose bones are interred from his grave abroad and brought to Eretz Yisrael benefits only from the third category, namely the resurrection and the ease of visitation of the Neshama. The soil of the Land is likened to the soil of the Altar, for man was created from the place of his atonement

Lastly, he who is brought as a corpse to Eretz Yisrael has an additional advantage. For the soil of the Land is likened to the soil of the Altar, for man was created from the place of his atonement. For us Jews, who were definitely created from this soil, it is befitting to return to the holy place from where we were hewn.

Yet the Zohar (parashat Acharei Mot 72) says something quite different. "Rav Yehuda says, 'Anyone who did not merit to dwell in his chamber in the Holy Land, and when he dies, only then does he arrive, upon him it is written, 'the place of My heritage you have made an abomination'. (Jeremiah 2:7) For his soul remains under the authority of the foreign land while only his body comes into the authority of the Holy Land. It is as if he has made the holy profane and the profane holy!" From the above Zohar it seems that one would be prohibited from bringing his corpse to Eretz Yisrael for burial. Soil from Chutz LaAretz that is brought into Eretz Yisrael …is the mystery of converts

Yet further, the Zohar (Teruma 141b) states, "G‑d made a healing for the land, for when that body (brought from Chutz LaAretz) has decomposed, G‑d blows a wind to extricate from the Land that contaminated spirit, for He has mercy on His land. [This basically prevents the contaminated spirit from entering the land; in other words, the body gets purified by G‑d's mercy for the purity of the land.]

The law is known that if the soil of Eretz Yisrael is taken out of its boundaries the legal status of that soil is "foreign soil". Soil from Chutz LaAretz that is brought into Eretz Yisrael is considered the soil of Eretz Yisrael. That is the mystery of converts. Therefore one who arrives in Eretz Yisrael whilst not yet decomposed, his benefits are great. Yet, if one leaves Eretz Yisrael after death it is inversely related. That was the reason for Our Father Jacob commanding that he be brought back to Eretz Yisrael immediately after his death.

Viewing the Land of Israel from Afar

Chapter Five, Part 3

Via the power of sight, one may access the holiness of the Land.

We still must clarify what is the benefit of viewing the land from afar, if he were never to enter it.

One verse says, "If even a man of this [evil] generation, were to even see the good land" (Deut. 1:35). This implies that the mere viewing of the land has some great benefit. Further, Moses pleaded for and was granted this privilege just prior to his death. As is written, "Ascend to the top of the mountain…and see the land that I am giving the children of Israel" (Deut. 32:49), as well as "Moses ascended the mountain …and G‑d showed him the entire land" (Deut. 34:1). The above all indicate that there is a benefit to seeing the land even if one is barred from entering it.

That benefit can be best understood by the passage of the Zohar (Shelach 169 a) starting, "And Joseph shall place his hands upon your eyes" (Gen. 46:4). There, the Zohar expounds upon the concept of the eyes being the preface of the forms that are imagined by ones wisdom. First one gives a form to the concept with his knowledge and wisdom, and behold the form is drawn there. If the form of that concept is a base material and physical one that appears to one's mind, then that detracts from the quality of that concept. When one envisions holy concepts they have the power to rectify his soul…

chanoch adds: This is saying what one imagines - thinks about - is creating a form that draws the fulfillment of desire. That fulfillment is Light. Also know that the paragraph is telling us to control those thoughts not to include physical forms. How does one imagine something not physical? That is one of the steps in learning Mind Over Matter.

Just so, it is prohibited to gaze at women, for even if one doesn't envision performing a licentious act, in the end he will imagine in his mind that form and he may contemplate or just imagine something improper even if he never acts upon those thoughts. The reason for that is that the images and forms that he had developed in his mind profoundly damage his soul. Yet the flip side is true, for when one envisions holy concepts they have the power to rectify his soul.

From the above concept, we can derive a few benefits for our service of G‑d. When person imagines in his mind a holy form, that very form shall be complete his wisdom. This is what is meant by Rabbi Aba in the Zohar (Mishpatim 123b) where he discusses his keeping an image of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in front of him. Through that image he was able to attain great level of understanding. That is what is meant by the verse, "And your eyes shall behold your Teacher" (Isaiah 30:20).

chanoch adds; That is why it is the practice of Kabbalah Students to gaze at pictures of Tzadikim. Some even think it is beneficial to gaze at the pictures of graves if one does not know what the person in the grave looked like. This applies to historical personages like Joseph HaTzadik.

That is also what is meant by the verse, "Don't turn to the idols" (Lev. 19:4). There is a prohibition against merely looking at an idol worshiper, for that disgraceful image damages the soul. That is the same reason why we are prohibited from looking at an evil person.

Yet when an image of a person greater than you is in your mind, one can attain wondrous vistas of spirituality. That is the reason one is obligated to greet his Rebbe on each holiday. For that greeting shall impress the image of his Rebbe in his mind. [The phrase here is ambiguous, and can actually be understood as - that by greeting his Rebbe he can impress his Rebbe's mind in his own- namely granting the person the ability to conceive the level of his master]. The divine providence can be found everywhere; nonetheless it is incomparable to one contemplating … the Shechina while being at a holy place…

In that fashion we can also understand the verse, "[Elisha said] As G‑d, before whom I have stood, lives," (Kings II 5:16). Elisha is referring to his standing in front of Elijah [his teacher]. This means that when he stood and observed Elijah, Elijah's image was definitely ingrained in Elisha's mind. The vision of Elijah, standing and serving his Master with such intense connection while in a prophetic state, was as if he were constantly before G‑d. [That enabled Elisha to claim as if he stood before G‑d as well].

That is also one of the reasons for the commandment of, "All of your men shall be seen (or see) [by the] countenance of your Master" (Ex. 23:17). For the men should depict in their minds the splendor of the image of the existence of the Shechina standing there. And even though divine providence can be found everywhere, nonetheless it is incomparable to one contemplating and engraving an image of the Shechina while being at a holy place. That is a way of understanding the verse, "And you shall not see My countenance empty" (ibid.). As well as in many other verses in the Torah.

Therefore one should close his eyes during prayer, in order to remove from his mind physical forms entirely, and unify his thoughts with intellectual images.

Behold, there is no doubt that when two great friends see each other, the mere seeing definitely causes them great joy and happiness, and they engrave each other's image in their minds. That is true because of their great love. Yet the inverse is true for enemies. With that, we can understand the following verses: "No evil sojourns with You" (Psalms 5:5) and "Who asked of you to trample My courtyard" (Isaiah 1:12). For when G‑d is angry with us, our appearing before him in His temple will evoke further hatred and anger. G‑d showed him the entire land by means of the Hidden Light of Creation…

chanoch adds: What do you think happens when you gaze at a Shiluv - intertwined Hebrew letters?

That is the reason why the spies were not allowed to enter the land, as in the verse, "none of the men of these people shall see the good land…" (Deut. 1:35). This is because they had spoken degradingly of the land and they hated it [like enemies of the land]. Therefore it is befitting that their image not be brought into the land, in order to avert the evocation of hatred and anger (if they were to be seen amongst the rest of the people) instead of love.

Yet by Our Teacher Moses that wasn't true, rather, "And G‑d showed him the entire land" (Deut. 34:1). [This was even though it was from afar]. The Zohar explains this concept as follows. Why did Moses see all the land, which is impossible for the physical eye to do? Really G‑d showed him the entire land by means of the Hidden Light of Creation. For with that light one could see from one end of the world to the other (Chagiga 12a).

chanoch adds; The Ohr Ganuz or Hidden Light includes all images within it, this is my opinion.

And now with those prefaces, we can understand the mystery of why we display (during the ceremony of Hagbah -- the lifting of the Torah scroll) to the congregation the writing in the Torah scroll. This concept was also demonstrated in the Holy Temple of heaven, as mentioned in the Zohar.

End of Chapter Five.