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    Holy ground – Sh’mot

    God speaks to Moses at the burning bush

    “The place where you stand,” said God to Moses, “is holy ground” (Ex. 3:5).

    Since the episode took place outside the Land of Israel, we wonder how there could be holy ground except in the Holy Land.

    It depends on what makes a place holy. If it is a matter of maps and borders, we have a right to ask why foreign territory – in this case no-man’s land – can be regarded as holy.

    If we adopt the principle that a place becomes holy if sacred things happen there, then the Sinai desert can be holy as can any spot on earth.

    This explains the rabbinic concept that a person’s home is a mikdash m’at, a miniature sanctuary, with the meal table as an altar.

    The actual words of the parashah are “The place where you stand is holy ground”.

    If the place where you take your stand is dedicated to holy thoughts, words, deeds and hopes, then geography does not matter. What matters is what you stand for, wherever you happen to be.

    It is best in Israel, but the rest of the world has potential for holiness too.

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