Land of Israel and Jewish heritage – 25

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Land of Israel and Jewish heritage

A series from the book written by Naveed Anjum

Jewish Life in the Land of Canaan, cont’d

The Promised Land, cont’d

Jews have lived in the Promised Land continuously from the time of its original conquest by Joshua more than 3200 years ago until the present day. Although Jews have not always been in political control of the land, and Jews were not always the majority of the land’s population, they have always sustained their presence in the Holy Land.

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The land of Israel is central to Judaism. A substantial portion of Jewish law is related to the land of Israel, and can only be performed in the Holy Land. Some rabbis have declared that it is a mitzvah (commandment) to take possession of Israel and to live in it (relying on Numbers 33:53). The Talmud suggests that the land itself is so holy that merely walking in it can gain you a place in the World to Come. Prayers for a return to both Israel and Jerusalem are included in daily prayers as well as many holiday observances and special events.

For a Jew to live outside of Israel is considered an unnatural state. The world outside of Israel is often referred to as “galut,” which is usually translated as “Diaspora” (dispersion), although a more literal translation would be “exile” or “captivity.” In 135 C.E., the Romans exiled the majority of Jews from the land of Israel after defeating them in a three-year war. The Jewish remnant did not regain any political or ruling control over the land again until 1948 C.E. Next, we will discuss the presence of Jewish life in the land of Israel in a chronological sequence.

(To be continued…)

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