1. One of the unique dimensions of this week’s Torah reading is the division of Eretz Yisrael as an inheritance to all the tribes and to each individual Jew. This is particularly relevant at present, as we are on the threshold of the redemption and can hence derive lessons from this in regard to the division of Eretz Yisrael in the Era of the Redemption. Since, however, we are still — albeit only momentarily — before the Redemption, there is also a lesson that can be derived regarding our conduct at present, for “the Torah is eternal.”

This lesson is based on the Tzemach Tzedek’s directive to a person who wanted to make aliyah to Eretz Yisrael in order to devote himself to Torah study and the service of G‑d there. The Tzemach Tzedek told him that instead of going to Eretz Yisrael, he should, “Make this place Eretz Yisrael.” The directive is applicable far beyond that individual instance. At every time and in every place, a Jew has to make his place Eretz Yisrael, a place where Yiddishkeit and G‑dliness are openly revealed.

This directive is, however, problematic. In practice, the Diaspora is not Eretz Yisrael, and only in our Holy Land is the complete observance of the Torah and its mitzvos possible. Indeed, while we are in exile, we pray three times a day for G‑d to “gather us together from the four corners of the earth to our land.” If so, what is the meaning of the directive to “make this place Eretz Yisrael”? The question becomes ever more poignant in light of the fact that at any moment, the exile will end and we will proceed to Eretz Yisrael.

This question can be resolved within the context of the resolution of a problematic aspect of the division of Eretz Yisrael as mentioned in this week’s Torah portion. The Torah relates that the division of the land into tribal portions was carried out by means of a lottery. Rashi explains that, not only was the portion of Eretz Yisrael to be given to each tribe written on the lot picked for that tribe, the lot itself spoke and announced this matter. A question arises: G‑d does not work a miracle without a purpose. If so, what purpose was served by the lot speaking.1

It can be explained that since G‑d commanded, “The land shall be divided by lot,” every aspect of the division of the land should be dependent on the lottery. And therefore, to show that the division was genuine and not merely a chance phenomenon, there was a need for the lot to speak.2

This explanation is, however, itself in need of clarification: Since the lottery was not a purpose in and of itself, but merely a means of dividing Eretz Yisrael, why was it necessary for there to be such a miracle?

The latter question can be resolved on the basis of the Rogatchover’s explanation that every concept in Torah, even when it appears to be a matter of necessity is designated by a unique Divine Providence. For example, the journeys of the Jews in the desert to Eretz Yisrael, although they were only an intermediary, a means to allow the Jews to reach our Holy Land, they still receive a measure of holiness and importance as reflected in the verse, “And Moshe wrote down the places from which they departed for their journeys according to the word of G‑d.”3

Similarly — and indeed, to a greater extent — this concept applies regarding the lots through which Eretz Yisrael was divided, for G‑d commanded that the land be divided in this manner. Hence, every aspect connected with the lottery was important. And for this reason, the lot itself had to speak and in this manner, demonstrate how the division of the land depended on it.

There is an inner dimension to this concept. The conquest of the land of Canaan by the Jewish people, and its transformation into Eretz Yisrael, a holy land where the connection to G‑dliness, Yiddishkeit, and holiness, is apparent, reflects the spiritual task of the Jews in the world at large. This is the intent of the creation to transform this physical world into a dwelling for G‑d, i.e., a place where G‑d reveals Himself completely, as a person reveals himself in his own home.

For the conquest of the land to be complete, all the particular dimensions — both of the land and of the Jews, those accomplishing this conquest — must be involved. This implies: a) One must conquer the entire land. As long as a portion of the land is not conquered, one’s conquest — even of the lands over which one has in fact taken control — is not complete. For there is always an element of danger of war being waged by those people who have not yet been conquered. b) The conqueror must invest all of his energies and his three powers of expression: thought, speech, and action, in the conquest. If one of these potentials is not involved, his conquest is lacking. Thus, he involves his thought in planning the campaign, his speech, in giving directives to carry it out, and his actions, in actually bringing it to fruition.

A similar concept applies in regard to our mission to establish a dwelling for G‑d within this material world. It is necessary that: a) all the aspects of the world must be included in the dwelling; i.e., it must become evident throughout the entire world that every dimension of the world belongs to G‑d; b) Just as a person reveals every aspect of his personality in his home, his thought, his speech, and his action, so too, all the spiritual parallels to thought, speech, and action must be revealed in G‑d’s dwelling in this world.

Similarly, since the world is transformed into G‑d’s dwelling through the activity of the Jewish people, all of our means of expression, our thought, speech, and action, must be used — and must themselves become — a dwelling for G‑d. Accordingly, there are certain mitzvos that are to be fulfilled through thought (for example, prayer), others through speech (Torah study), and others through action (deeds of kindness).

More particularly, every mitzvah can and should be fulfilled on all three planes of thought, speech, and action. In a similar way, in the Shema, we declare how our love for G‑d should be “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.” Similarly, every dimension of our service should involve our entire being and all of its particular elements. And through such service, we will transform every particular element of our being.

Based on the above, we can understand why it was necessary for G‑d to make a miracle and have the lot announce the portions of Eretz Yisrael to be given to each tribe. Since the lottery was necessary as a preparation for the conquest of Eretz Yisrael, it was necessary that it include all the means of expression of thought, speech, and action. Thus in addition to the actual deed of preparing and picking the lots (action) and the intention which Moshe and the Nesi’im invested in the lottery (thought), G‑d wrought a miracle and the lot itself spoke (speech). Indeed, it was the lot speaking which made the greatest impression on the people at large.

This leads to a further concept. The lottery was merely a preparatory step to the conquest of Eretz Yisrael. Nevertheless, all the means of expression, thought, speech, and action, were involved with it. This shows how a person must be deeply involved in every phase of his activity, to quote an expression of the Rebbe Rashab, “A pnimi (a person who invests his inner being in his life experience): in whatever he is involved, he is totally involved.”

This concept was expressed in connection with the following narrative: Once the Yeshivah students were singing a niggun in preparation for the recitation of a maamar. The Rebbe Rashab noticed that they were singing hurriedly, to the extent that it was clearly evident that they were interested in the maamar, and not in the niggun.

The Rebbe delivered an entire sichah in which he emphasized that even when one matter is only a preparation for another matter, one must invest oneself in the first matter entirely. “Whatever one does, one must do truthfully... [Therefore,] as long as one is involved in a matter, one must be totally involved.” Afterwards, when the second matter comes, then one should be totally involved in that.4

There are two points in the Rebbe Rashab’s sichah: a) that this total involvement is a reflection of truth and inner commitment; b) that through being fully involved in the preparatory stages, one insures that the activity for which one prepares oneself is also carried out in a proper manner.

There is an added point: G‑d established the pattern that before being involved in one’s essential activity, it is necessary to undergo several preparatory stages and in this manner, one prepares oneself and the world at large for that essential activity. Accordingly, the preparatory stages have all the importance of the essence of the activity itself and require full-hearted involvement.

An example of this concept can be seen in regard to education: On one hand, education is merely a preparatory stage for the observance of the mitzvos. On the other hand, it must be given independent importance. Indeed, there are times when the importance of educating a child for the performance of mitzvos supersedes the importance of the performance of mitzvos themselves.

On a larger scale, this concept can be explained in the following manner: Ultimately, there is one intent for the totality of our service, making this world a dwelling for G‑d. The fulfillment of this intent involves certain activities which are preparatory in nature and others which reflect the essential intent. Nevertheless, from the perspective of G‑d’s essence, all are associated with the same fundamental intent. Accordingly, man must invest himself fully in all dimensions of his activity, even those which appear merely preparatory in nature.5

Based on the above, we can appreciate the service required by the directive, “Make this place Eretz Yisrael.” Our service in the Diaspora at present is a preparation for the ultimate service which we will perform in Eretz Yisrael. Nevertheless, the fact that we are found in the Diaspora at present is not a mere accident and has a specific Divine purpose. Furthermore, that purpose is connected with the ultimate purpose of transforming this world into G‑d’s dwelling. Accordingly, effort has to be invested into each and every place, and each and every situation, reflecting within it the ultimate intention, that it become part of G‑d’s dwelling, as will be revealed in Eretz Yisrael in the Era of the Redemption.

Thus, every place where a Jew exists will be transformed into Eretz Yisrael,6 a place where G‑dliness is openly revealed. And furthermore, this will bring the world to its ultimate state, the state of redemption, when we will serve G‑d in Eretz Yisrael in the most literal sense.7

This is particularly true since we are speaking within the context of preparing the world for the true and ultimate redemption. This implies that the service which prepares the world for this redemption must also be “true and ultimate” in nature; i.e., it must be “ultimate,” involving every dimension of our experience, and “true,” involving every aspect of our being. And through service in this manner, we prepare ourselves and the world at large for the ultimate Redemption.

This implies two dimensions in the service of “Making this place Eretz Yisrael:” a) The service must involve “this place,” the Diaspora; b) Within the Diaspora, a person must infuse the spirit of Eretz Yisrael, i.e., of the Redemption.

And this itself will prepare us for and thus hasten the coming of the Redemption, and the beginning of the era when “Eretz Yisrael will spread into all the other lands.”

2. Each person — man, woman, and child — has a different portion of the world. Thus, everyone possesses an individual responsibility to make his portion of the world Eretz Yisrael. No person’s portion of the world resembles another’s. Each person lives in a particular place and has a specific and individual mission in that place. Similarly, each day and more particularly each moment, is associated with a specific Divine intent. And therefore, to prepare the world at large for the Redemption, each person must “Make this place — his individual portion of the world — Eretz Yisrael.”

One might ask: I live only in a small place and my life is seemingly insignificant. What importance is there in how I conduct myself and how can my conduct have an effect on the world at large? Similarly, in regard to the Redemption, a person might ask: How is it possible for me to bring about the Redemption? My service involves only a small portion of the world.

This is the meaning of the directive: “Make this place Eretz Yisrael.” A Jew must infuse G‑dliness into his portion of the world. This will have an effect on the world as a whole, for each portion of the world includes within itself the entire world at large. And in this manner, a person can fulfill our Sages’ directive, “Each and every person is obligated to say, ‘The world was created for me.’ ” For by fulfilling the intent associated with his individual portion of the world, he can bring the entire world to a state of fulfillment.8 Through experiencing a personal redemption, and expressing that redemption in every aspect of his conduct, each person can hasten the coming of the Redemption in the world at large.

This message that each person should “Make this place Eretz Yisrael,” i.e., have the redemption pervade his life experience should be communicated to others, to the members of one’s family, to one’s students, and to all the individuals with which one comes into contact. And in this way, the manifestation of the spirit of redemption in all these particular aspects of existence, will lead to its manifestation in a complete manner in the world at large.

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3. An additional emphasis is placed on this concept on the present Shabbos, the Shabbos on which the month of Av is blessed. Although often Torah sources refer to this month with this name, it is common custom to refer to the month as Menachem Av when blessing it. Av meaning “father,” has a positive connotation, indicating that it serves as a source for positive activity. Menachem meaning “comfort,” however, reflects a more inclusive intent, referring to the comfort for the exile the Jews will receive in the Era of the Redemption. The name Menachem is placed before Av to indicate how this, the Redemption is the fundamental intent. The descent of the exile was intended only as a preparation for the Redemption. Indeed, we find that at the very beginning of the creation, “the spirit of G‑d — the spirit of Mashiach (Rashi) — hovered over the waters,” for this is the intent of the entire creation.

This points to the intent of these Three Weeks, that they serve as a preparation for bringing about the Redemption. This is further emphasized by that fact that this year, Rosh Chodesh Av falls on a Friday. Our Sages emphasize that Adam was created on a Friday so that “he would appreciate that ‘everything is prepared for the feast.’ ” In an ultimate sense, this refers to the feast of the Era of the Redemption. Similarly, we must realize that — when looking at the history of the world as a whole — it is now Friday, after midday. We are preparing for Shabbos, indeed as the Previous Rebbe announced, our preparations are complete, “even the buttons are polished,” and we are all “standing together prepared to bring Mashiach.

As a further preparation for this Era, to reveal the positive qualities and joy that are latent in these Three Weeks, siyumim, conclusions of Torah works, should be held on each of the Nine Days including Shabbos, and this year, including the Shabbos of Tishah BeAv. And these activities will hasten the transformation of these days into days of celebration, when with true and complete joy we will proceed together with Mashiach to Eretz Yisrael in the true and ultimate Redemption.