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    The law & the land – B’har

    There is a terrible travesty being perpetrated daily by those who deliberately misunderstand the Bible.

    They drive a verbal wedge between Judaism and Zionism. They say that Judaism is a religion (prayers, piety, propriety; theology, philosophy, spirituality) – and territory has nothing to do with it.

    If an ignoramus says such things we can put it down to lack of knowledge of the Bible. But anyone who reads the Bible, however cursorily, must have noticed how often the sacred text interweaves law and land.

    This week’s sidra for example. “When you come into the land which I give you – note that phrase, ‘which I give you’: we didn’t just invent our tie to the Holy Land – the land shall keep a Sabbath unto the Lord” (Lev. 25:1-2). Just as the human being must have a 7th-day Sabbath, so the land must have a time to lie fallow.

    Pinhas Peli points out in his book, “Torah Today” (1987, page 148) that Judaism is concerned both with soul and with soil.

    It is particularly galling to see that though countless Christians are well aware that Zion is an integral part of the Bible, few official Christian voices say this in public. We know they are afraid for the Christian communities and churches in the Middle East, and that is indeed a major problem, but where is the moral courage, the defence of the truth, which is part of being a Christian?

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