Israel Forever

For the week ending 18 July 2009 / 25 Tammuz 5769

What's in a Name?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

The importance of maintaining the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael is highlighted by something which Jews throughout the world will hear this week as the Torah portion regarding the division of the Holy Land among the tribes is read in the synagogue.

Two of the cities in the portion granted to the tribe of Reuven had names that their original inhabitants had given them to honor the idols they worshipped. When the Torah relates that Nevo and Ba'al Meon were developed by the Reuvenites, it mentions that they changed the names of their cities in order to avoid any mention of idolatry.

This should serve as a lesson to our own generation to avoid introducing any element of pagan culture into our Holy Land. Only by steadfastly preserving the unique holiness of our people and our Land can we secure Israel forever.

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