Parshas BHar The Portion of the Ger in Eretz Yisroel

Written by Rabbi Rudman, 19/5/2019

 In this weeks Parsha, (at least in Eretz Yisroel it is BHar) we discuss the various portions in Eretz Yisroel, and their ownership. The Parsha then segues into ownership of other types of property. Included in this is the ownership of slaves. Within this section we learn about the possibility of purchasing slaves from within the population of Canaan, but only from individuals who are not from the seven nations of Canaan. In the Pasuk there an unusual phrase is used, which the Baal HaTurim points out. I would like to analyze that phrase and the idea that arises from it.

The Pasuk writes[1], which they gave birth to in your land. Rashi explains[2] that it is referring to a child born to a father from any nation other that the seven nations of Canaan. Even if the mother is from those seven nations, he is not considered a Canaanite. Therefore, you can allow him to remain in Eretz Yisroel, and he can be purchased a slave. This same phrase appears also in Yechezkel.

In the 47th Perek of Yechezkel [3], there is a discussion of the final boundaries of Eretz Yisroel in the time of Moshiach. The end of the Perek says, You shall divide this land according to the tribes of Yisroel. And you should divide it by lot for an inheritance for you and to the Geirm that dwell among you, who shall have children among you; and they shall be to you as the home-born among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Yisroel. And that in whichever tribe the stranger dwells, there you shall give him his inheritance, says HaShem. In these Pesukim of Yechezkel that same phrase used in BHar appears.

The Baal HaTurim quotes[4] the Mesorah, who says that these are the only two times this phrase appears. (The Mesorah was a list of all the different anomalies in Tanach. This was a method to ensure the accuracy of the Tanach, by tracking these differences to ensure they were not lost.) He quotes a Midrash in Kohelet Rabbah[5] that explains this Pasuk. Even though in this weeks Parsha we learn that the Geirim did not have a portion in the land, but when Eretz Yisroel will be re-divided in the time of Moshiach they will receive a portion. So the phrase is used in this weeks Parsha to teach us that even in the way the land is divided at this point the Gerim do not have a portion, there is hint that in the future they will.

This concept is a fascinating insight into the concept of Geirus and their importance in the structure of Klal Yisroel till the time of Moshiach. I would like to try to clarify this.

The Sfas Emes asks an intriguing question[6]. The Neshama of a Ger is actually a Jewish Neshama that was born into a non-Jewish setting. That happens either because of the sparks of Kedushah that were scattered throughout the world as a result of the sin of Adam[7], or an individual sin of someone that causes this to happen[8]. Those holy Neshamos are ultimately converts that return to Klal Yisroel. But the word Ger, is always explained that they are now strangers in Klal Yisroel. That is why it is a special Mitzvah to love them, since they are removed from their original birth place. But since their Neshama is actually from Klal Yisroel, they are returning home. Why are they called Ger?

He answers by turning the regular understanding around. Actually the name is a sign of distinction, like a medal given to a soldier who performs a difficult mission behind enemy lines. His Neshama went into the places of Tumah to return those sparks of Kedusha that were lost, at great danger to himself. This is similar to what Klal Yisroel did in Mitzrayim. It is written that from the sin of Adam a large portion of the Kedusha went into the darkness of Mitzrayim. Our Galus there was to return them. That is why the Mitzvah of loving the Ger is tied to our being Geirim in Mitzrayim. Klal Yisroel were the original Geirim to go into darkness, so we can appreciate their sacrifice.

He continues to show that this process continues until the times of Moshiach. Dovid, and by extension Moshiach ben Dovid, descend from Geirim. Since they come from Ruth who brought back her spark, they can be the source from which ultimately all the sparks of Kedusha return. And that is why when Moshiach arrives, there are no more Geirim. The process of the arrival of Moshiach is to collect all those sparks. When they have all arrived, there is no reason for someone to convert. Anyone who wants to convert, it is ultimately for ulterior motives, and they cannot be accepted.

That is why in Tehillim Dovid writes, HaShem watches over the Geirim. Dovid himself is praising the fact that HaShem watched over Ruth, whom as opposed to Orpah who left; his matriarch was protected and merited to return her Neshama to its original source. And therefore he is now part of Klal Yisroel.

With this introduction we can understand the different ways that Eretz Yisroel is divided and why ultimately the Geirim receive a portion, as opposed to by the division of Yehoshua when they do not.

The original division of Eretz Yisroel was very unusual. The original plan was that the nation that left Mitzrayim was to be the same generation to receive the Torah. Then with the first Luchos they would enter Eretz Yisroel under the leadership of Moshe. That would have created a perfect connection between the Jewish people, the Torah, and Eretz Yisroel. If that would have happened there would have been no Churban, and this would lead directly to Moshiach. But as result of the two sins; the Eigel which disconnected us from the Torah, and the Meraglim which disconnected us from Eretz Yisroel; we lost that connection. The fact that there was a disconnection between these two generations is the source of all our troubles to this day[9].

But HaShem left us one way to connect the Torah to Eretz Yisroel. Even though the nation that left Egypt did not actually enter the land, they had a virtual portion in the land. The Gemarra teaches[10] that even though the division of the land was to those who entered Eretz Yisroel, it was through those who left Egypt. The actual six hundred thousand portions were divided according to those who left Egypt, and then given to the next generation. This created a connection between those who left Egypt and received the Torah, and the portions of Eretz Yisroel.

This also creates the following equation. Chazal teach us that there are six hundred thousand letters in the Torah. (Even though that is not the number if you actually count them, there are many answers to that issue.) Thus, [600,000 Jews] = [600,000 letters in the Torah]. And also, [600,000 Jews] = [600,000 portions in Eretz Yisroel]. Therefore [600,000 portions in Eretz Yisroel] = [600,000 letters in the Torah]. Each portion of Eretz Yisroel is to fulfill a particular letter in the Torah through a specific person in Klal Yisroel. That connection is through the generation that left Egypt.

Therefore, we can explain that at the time of Yetzias Mitzrayim the process was to connect Eretz Yisroel to the Torah. Anyone who was not at Matan Torah would interfere with this process. That is why Yitro who was at Matan Torah does receive a portion, albeit in a diminished way, in Jericho[11]. But at the time of Moshiach, all the Neshamos are to return. Therefore, at that time all the Neshamos enter into that equation connecting the Torah to Eretz Yisroel, and they all will receive a portion in Eretz Yisroel.

This written on the airplane to Chutz Laaretz, a very appropriate place to remind myself of the value of Eretz Yisroel. However, my wife and I are travelling to a Chasuna of a dearly beloved Talmidah, and to participate in the Simcha together with her very special family. R Chaim Shmulevitz ZTL wrote to a Talmid getting married in Chutz LaAretz where he could not attend: Binyomin named all of his ten sons after the various aspects of his relationship with his missing older brother Yoseph. One was named Chupim. Rashi explains that is to remind him that they were not at each others Chupah. From here we learn that to miss the Chupah of someone close is a sorrow to be mentioned in the Torah. BH at least in this instance we can participate, and wish them Mazal Tov in person.

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