Deuteronomy 21:1
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1  If, in the land that Hashem your God is assigning you to possess, someone slain is found lying in the open, the identity of the slayer not being known,

kee yi-ma-TZAY kha-LAL ba-a-da-MAH a-SHER a-do-NAI e-lo-HE-kha no-TAYN l’-KHA l’-rish-TAH no-FAYL ba-sa-DEH LO no-DA MEE hi-KA-hu

א  כִּי־יִמָּצֵא חָלָל בָּאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לְרִשְׁתָּהּ נֹפֵל בַּשָּׂדֶה לֹא נוֹדַע מִי הִכָּהוּ׃

 21:1   In the land that Hashem your God is assigning you

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993)

The axed heifer is one of the few biblical commandments that can be performed only in Eretz Yisrael even though it is not an agricultural law. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik explains that the reason for this is that this law is incumbent on the ‘Congregation of Israel,’ not on individual members of the nation, and the Israelites are only considered the ‘Congregation of Israel’ when residing in their land. This highlights the centrality of the Land of Israel to the People of Israel: They are considered the Congregation of Israel in every sense of the term only when they live in their land. The ability to fulfill national biblical commands such as this is one of the reasons it is so important for Jews from all over the world to come on aliya, to move to Israel.

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Deuteronomy 21
Deuteronomy 22

Comments ( 2 )

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  • Quote: Rabbi Joseph B. Solovietchik explains that this is a commandment that is incumbent on the Congregation of Israel, not on individuals, and the Israelites are only considered the Congregation of Israel when residing in the Land of Israel.Is this still the case, do the Jewish people who live outside Israel believe they are not part of the Jewish Nation? I come from Wales and I live in New Zealand [for 60 years], I feel no less part of Wales now than I did when I lived there. I don't get to vote, but I still identify with and feel very much part of my homeland. Is it not the same for the Jewish people?

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Deuteronomy 21:1

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