Thirty-seven centuries ago, a covenant was made by the Creator of the universe with the first Jew: that Israel’s mission as G‑d’s chosen people will be realized on the soil of the Holy Land. “To your descendents I have given this land,” said G‑d to Abraham following their Covenant Between the Parts, “from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates River. [The lands of] the Keini, the Kenizi and the Kadmoni. The Chiti, the Perizi, the Refa’im, the Emori, the Kenaani, the Girgashi and the Yevusi.” (Genesis 15:18–21)

Historically, Jews have settled and taken possession of seven of these ten territories. The remaining three—the lands of the Keini, Kenizi and Kadmoni—await the coming of Moshiach and the redemption. In contrast to the other seven lands, no conquest or negotiation will be necessary. The era of Moshiach will bring the cessation of all conflict, and a universal recognition of the Almighty as master of the entire earth and of the Jewish people’s role as the focal point of His creation. The nations of the world will recognize the integrity of all of the Land of Israel as the eternal heritage of the Jewish nation.

The “Land of Israel” entails more than the physical environment for our lives as Jews. In parallel to the geographical Israel, a psychological “ten nations” comprise our inner terrain. Also within the mind and heart are “territories” to be conquered, settled, developed and sanctified as “holy land.”

The Kabbalists enumerate three intellectual and seven emotional faculties within the human psyche. Under the present-day condition of the human psyche, our efforts at self-improvement involve, by and large, the “lands of seven nations,” or the emotional side of our character. With the proper guidance we can overcome, and even change, negative feelings and desires. But to change one’s entire mindset is a different matter: To cease to see things from our self-bound perspective, to change our very definition of reality, seems beyond the capacity of our ever-subjective mind.

Yet there will come a time when “the world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d, as the waters cover the sea”—when the human mind will free itself from the confines of the ego and comprehend the absolute and exclusive truth of its Creator. Man will come to appreciate that he is not an entity in his own right, but an expression of the all-pervading reality of G‑d.