web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Book Of Jewish Sovereignty

The essence of Jewish sovereignty is that Eretz Yisrael belongs to God. God is sovereign, and the sovereignty of the Jewish people derives from that.
Shiloh, an early capital of Biblical Israel.

Shiloh, an early capital of Biblical Israel.

The last “book” of Torah, Devarim, is also called Deuteronomy because it contains many laws especially relevant to the conquering and settlement of Eretz Yisrael that were not presented in the first four books.

It reflects the transition from the end of one period to the anticipation of another. Having been enslaved in Egypt for hundreds of years, having escaped and wandered the desert for 40 years, the Jewish people are about to experience a new leader and engage in “taking possession” of Canaan, Eretz Yisrael.

Although these words are politically loaded today, historically they are commonplace. Jewish sovereignty, however, is different. It is nationalism not as a political entity but as a spiritual ideal.

Moving from wandering in the wilderness to establishing a homeland, from tribal encampments to cities, from nomadic exile to permanent settlement, the Jewish people will have to fight wars. At least as important, moreover, they struggle to establish a Jewish civilization in the midst of foreign inhabitants and idolatry. All of this requires inner fortitude and national unity that had never been tested.

No doubt the Israelites were unsure of their mission and whether they were up to it. It is therefore no surprise that this section of Torah is filled with exhortations not to be afraid, and promises that things will turn out well if they will observe the commandments and build, in the land God promised them, a society that will reflect God’s oneness and majesty.

The directive of Moses is clear: take possession of the land, your inheritance from God, the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, a land of blessings – and curses, depending on how one behaves. Unlike other conquerors, the Jewish people did not seek power but rather to create a place dedicated to a spiritual purpose, a civilization focused on God’s presence.

The essence of Jewish sovereignty is that Eretz Yisrael belongs to God. God is sovereign, and the sovereignty of the Jewish people derives from that.

The right to rule does not depend on one’s ability to conquer but on what one does afterward.

To accomplish its task the Jewish people needs a country, a physical representation of a spiritual direction, a political entity with laws and institutions – Jewish sovereignty. The word that appears in Torah to describe the initial stages of this process is “lareshet,” from the root yud-reish-shin (inherit). Understanding of the word depends on its context: conquest, taking control and establishing one’s authority – sovereignty – as a spiritual act mandated by God.

Translated as “taking possession,” lareshet appears many times, often in connection with nun-chet-lamed-taf, which is also translated as inheritance.

Although in Hebrew the “roots” are of three letters, they come in “families” which have a common two-letter root and a common meaning.

These cognates, sort of “brothers” or “cousins” of yud-reish-shin, include: yerushah/morashah (inheritance); rashut (authority, ownership) from the root reish-alef-shin; rashum (registered) from the root reish-shin-mem; reishut (permission) from the root reish-shin-hei; reichush (property) and rachash (acquire) from the root reish-kaf-shin – all expressions of concepts of legal rights and relationship to property.

To whom, however, did the land belong? The land the Jews conquered and occupied was inhabited by various tribes, city-states and powerful kings, some native and others not, like Hittites from what is now Turkey and Philistines from what is now Greece. What right did Jews have to conquer this territory and occupy it? Perhaps anticipating this challenge, the Torah emphasizes over and over the sanctity of this specific area and the purpose of Jewish conquest and sovereignty: the establishment of an earthly kingdom that would reflect the Kingdom of God.

About the Author: Moshe Dann is a writer living in Jerusalem.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Book Of Jewish Sovereignty”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Poster for anti-Semitic rally to fight "Jewification" of north London neighborhood of Stamford Hill.
Anti-Semitic Rally Opposing ‘Jewification’ of Britain
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Moshe Dann
David_Grossman

Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.

Shiloh, an early capital of Biblical Israel.

The sovereignty of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael is not only a political act but also a moral and spiritual one.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

The expulsion of 10,000 Jews from their homes five years ago was not a localized event in the Gaza Strip. It was a national implosion, a national disgrace. It caused enormous physical, psychological, social, cultural, military and strategic damage to the entire nation – and it still does. Like an ecological disaster, its foulness still seeps through our foundations, and continues to poison us.

Readers of Clayton’s short stories know that he is not only a master craftsman, but that his stories are inquires into the purpose of life; he is a moral philosopher.

In case you didn’t notice, olive trees in Judea and Samaria are under attack. The alleged culprits are Jews living there. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry called it “terrorism.”

Supporters of the planned mosque and Islamic center near Manhattan’s Ground Zero have focused on the issue of religious freedom. But as thousands of mosques have already been built throughout America, this is false – a straw man if ever there was one.

The issue in the girl’s school controversy in Emmanuel is not about ethnic discrimination but about differences between religious groups. The school’s educational policies are based on the level of observance, not ethnic background.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-book-of-jewish-sovereignty/2014/06/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: