8:13 All the dust of the earth turned to liceWhen Yaakov lay on his deathbed in Egypt, he made his son Yosef promise to bury him in the Land of Israel (Genesis 47:29-31). Rashi cites three reasons for why he issued this command, the first of which is related to this plague. Yaakov did not want to be buried in the Egyptian soil which would crawl with lice, as described in this verse. In Rashi’s second answer, he explains that that when Mashiach comes and the dead are resurrected from their graves, the remains of those buried outside Eretz Yisrael will need to painfully roll great distances to get to Israel. To avoid this, Yosef asks to be buried in the Holy Land. Finally, Rashi writes that Yaakov did not want to be deified by the Egyptians after his death. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, however, suggests a fourth reason. Though he had lived in Egypt for seventeen years, he longed to be back in his homeland and wanted to impress upon his descendants that the Land of Israel is where they really belong. To this day, there are many who follow Yaakov’s example. Appreciating the value and significance of the land, they ask their descendants to bury them in Israel even if they are unable to live there.
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