53 And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have assigned the land to you to possess.
v’-ho-rash-TEM et ha-A-retz vee-shav-tem BAH KEE la-KHEM na-TA-tee et ha-A-retz la-RE-shet o-TAH
נג וְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וִישַׁבְתֶּם־בָּהּ כִּי לָכֶם נָתַתִּי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ לָרֶשֶׁת אֹתָהּ׃
33:53 I have assigned the land to you to possess.
This verse is the source for the biblical command to settle and inhabit the Land of Israel. It emphasizes the importance of living in the land and, according to many, hints to a prohibition of leaving Israel without a compelling reason. As Sefer Bamidbar draws to a close, the people are on the verge of entering the Promised Land and fulfilling these words. They would remain in the land for hundreds of years, but sin and transgression eventually led to their exile. For centuries, the Jewish people yearned to return and resettle their land. While over the centuries, some individuals were able to fulfill these dreams, the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 made it possible for any Jew who wishes to return to come and settle in their homeland. Today, there are approximately six million Jews and eight million total residents in Eretz Yisrael. How fortunate we are to live in a time when the Land of Israel is so accessible to all.