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Parshat Chukat: The Vitamins of Kedusha in “Milk and Honey”?

By: Other

In this parsha, Am Yisrael kvetches that Moshe and Aharon did not bring them into that Promised Land of “figs, grapes and pomegranates” . Their complaint hints at the root of the problem that many people have misunderstanding Eretz Yisrael. It’s true that it’s the greatest Land in the world, and lacks nothing, Eretz asher lo techsar kol bah" But we must understand, what is the essence of that Land of Milk and Honey?

Rav Kook points out beautifully that it can’t be a coincidence that chazal tell us in Masechet B’chorot 6b, that these are the same two liquids which theoretically, according to the general rules, should be unkosher. Milk, which, at one point in the body was blood, should not be permissible. Similarly honey,[1] as all derivatives from nonkosher animals (like pig’s milk), should be assur as well! Nevertheless, the Torah teaches us that what you sometimes would have thought, at first glance, is non-kosher, is actually not only kosher but even holy l’mehadrin!

What the Torah is telling us is that the physical land and her pleasures, which everywhere in the world generally distract you from spirituality, in the Land of Israel are actually not at all a distraction, but are holy, as well!

We don’t want to come to Eretz Yisrael just because her “figs, grapes and pomegranates” are great physically, but also because there is holiness in each and every raisin!

That’s how the Bach[2] explains why we pray in the “Al HaMichya” bracha after eating cake and the seven species, Ve-ha'aleinu le-tochah... ve-nochal mi-piryah,that Hashem should bring us up to Eretz Yisrael to, among other things, ”eat her fruit”. Yes, there is actually G-dliness in the holy fruit of our Land (see the Bach inside- it’s awesome)!

For those temporarily in galut, even if you can’t breathe the holy air or walk in the holy soil of Eretz Yisrael, at least try buying and eating the holy produce of the Holy Land. It’s obviously not a substitute, nevertheless, each Jaffa Orange helps somewhat replenish your “vitamins of K’dusha” until you can come back to Eretz Yisrael!

Lehitraot b’Eretz,

Rav Ari Shvat





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