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Bais HaVaad on the Parsha, Parshas Matos-Mas’ei

Boundary Issues

Excerpted and adapted from a shiur by Rav Moshe Zev Granek

July 8, 2021


Command the children of Israel and say to them, when you arrive in the Land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance, the Land of Canaan according to its borders.

Bemidbar 34:2

According to Rashi here, the reason for delineating the borders of Eretz Yisrael is because the mitzvos hateluyos ba’aretz (mitzvos dependent on the Land, like trumos and ma’asros) only apply there. The problem is that the Gemara says that location alone does not trigger obligation in these mitzvos; the land must also be given kedushah. The Rambam (Hilchos Bais Habechirah 6) explains that for those who entered Eretz Yisrael with Yehoshua (known as olei Mitzrayim), this kedushah was caused by the conquering of the land, while for the olei Bavel who returned from exile to build the Bayis Sheini, it was attained by chazakah (acting as the owner of the land). Moreover, one cannot argue that according to Rashi, the kedushah is limited to areas within the Torah’s borders, because land conquered beyond those borders also becomes obligated in mitzvos hateluyos ba’aretz (see Gittin 7a).

The Mishnas Yosef (Shvi’is 6) explains that when even a portion of the land was conquered, that automatically conferred kedushah upon the entire area. If so, Rashi is saying that the entire area inside the Torah’s borders automatically receives kedushah when even a portion of it is  conquered.

The Rambam appears to disagree. He writes (Trumos 1:7) that the borders of Eretz Yisrael in Yehoshua’s time only included those locations mentioned in the Mishnah (Gittin 2a), a smaller area than what the Torah delineates here. R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Ma’adanei Eretz, hilchos trumos) explains that kedushah was not automatically given to all of Eretz Yisrael, only to the part that was conquered.

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