6 that same day I swore to them to take them out of the land of Egypt into a land flowing with milk and honey, a land which I had sought out for them, the fairest of all lands.
ba-YOM ha-HU na-SA-tee ya-DEE la-HEM l’-ho-tzee-AM may-E-retz mitz-RA-yim el E-retz a-sher TAR-tee la-HEM za-VAT kha-LAV ud-VASH tz’-VEE HEE l’-khol ha-a-ra-TZOT
ו בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא נָשָׂאתִי יָדִי לָהֶם לְהוֹצִיאָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אֶל־אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־תַּרְתִּי לָהֶם זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבַשׁ צְבִי הִיא לְכָל־הָאֲרָצוֹת׃
20:6 The fairest of all lands
Eretz Yisrael is described here as ‘fair’ or ‘beautiful,’ in Hebrew tzvi (צבי). The word tzvi also means ‘deer,’ which prompts the Talmud (Ketubot 112a) to compare the Land of Israel to the skin of a deer (see also Daniel 11:16 where the Land of Israel is referred to as eretz ha-tzvi, ‘the beautiful land’). Just as deerskin stretches to fit over the body of the deer but shrinks when removed, so do the physical borders of Eretz Yisrael stretch to fit its Jewish inhabitants, but shrink when they are exiled from the land. Perhaps a deeper message can be applied for Israel’s inhabitants as well. Unlike other places in the world, the inhabitants of Israel must “stretch” themselves morally and spiritually to appreciate the holiness of the Land of the Deer, “the fairest of all lands.”