This post is part of a weekly series on the Nishmablog presenting the questions to which he responded and the answers that he gave.
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Question: I truly support Israel, but in this day and age it is difficult to do so, with so much dissent in the news and on the streets. Where in the Torah does it state that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews? Does the Torah delineate borders?
"I truly support Israel, but in this day and age it is difficult to do so, with so much dissent in the news and on the streets. Where in the Torah does it state that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews? Does the Torah delineate borders?"
The connection between the People of Israel and the Land of Israel is long and complex. A good portion of our Tanach is a "love story" between the people and the land. And so the scope of this article is too brief to do it Justice.
The Torah Based claims of the Torah Observant Jews and the Historical claims of the Jewish Nationalists are all based upon Tanach - albeit from slightly different perspectives. Yet these perspectives overlap. Even those Orthodox Jews who oppose Politcal Zionism all favor re-settlement of Our Holy Land.
It could be argued that we have no right to Israel without permission from the rest of the world. And that permission has been granted both by the League of Nations and the United Nations.
"Where in the Torah does it state that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews?"
The "Promised Land" was designated for the descendants of Abrham Isaac and Jacob - numerous times. Caveat - Only to that subset of our forefathers that was exiled to Egypt and left via the Exodus! By process of elimination this encompasses only the descendants of Jacob-Israel, Rachel, Leah etc.
Genesis ch. 15
Exodus ch 3
Technically it was not given only to Jews [Judeans] but all Israel. But with 10 of the original trines having been "Lost" -practicall speaking it means Jews as the only identifiable Israelites today.
"Does the Torah delineate borders?"
Indeed it does
The Boundaries are delineated in Numbers 34
Also in the Book of Joshua.
Note too that
David conquered other territitories and when Ezra and Nehmiah returned the boundaries evolved again. To know the precise boundaries requires a detailed knowledge of geography - which I lack.
The so-called Trans-Jordan was assigned to Reuben Gad and half of Menasseh [see Numbers 32]. Later in history - Jabotinksy and the Revisionists revived the Jewish claim to those territories - which were apparently included in the original Balfour based Mandate before the first Palestinian Partition circa 1924.
Many Christians and even some Moslems recognize the Israelite claim to its ancestral land based upon scripture
- The Very First Rashi on Humash
- Nachmanides on the Torah
- The Kuzari of R Yehudah Halevi
- The Qinot [elegies] for the ninth of Av - in the "Zionide" section