Strangers on the Land

From this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Behar:

“But the land must not be sold beyond reclaim, for the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with me.” – Leviticus 25:23

In the middle of a litany of laws dealing with how to treat the resident alien (in Hebrew: “ger toshav“) we find this remarkable verse that suggests that at the end of the day, we are all really resident aliens after all.

This short verse has a myriad of spiritually radical implications. Just think of what our national priorities might look like if we truly took this idea to heart. Consider its impact on environmental policy, on immigration, on foreign policy, on trade…

As I mentioned in my last post, I believe this concept is absolutely intrinsic to the Jewish world view. The earth does not belong to us – it belongs to a greater and more transcendent Good. In the end, redemption will only come to the land when we truly come to realize the extent to which we are all but strangers upon it.

2 thoughts on “Strangers on the Land

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