Returning Home by Ami Friedman


In Vayikra 25:10 the Torah states:וקדשתם את שנת החמישים שנה וקראתם דרור בארץ לכל יושביה יובל היא תהיה לכם ושבתם איש אל אחזתו ואיש אל משפחתו תשובו. Rashi states that Yovel is a distinct year because it has a specific name.  He says that the word Yovel means a ram’s horn and this year is called Yovel because of the Shofar blowing.  The Ramban dissents claiming that a goat’s horn can also be used as a Shofar.  He quotes the Ibn Ezra who argues that the word Yovel means being sent somewhere.  The Rambam believes that Yovel pertains to the words וקראתם דרור and not to והעברת שופר תרועה which refers to the Shofar because the word Yovel follows the word דרור.  He concludes that Yovel refer to the freedom to settle “anywhere” (i.e. one’s own house) that he had to sell earlier because of debts.  The Ramban says that the word Yovel means to transport oneself because it says (Yeshayahu 23:4)יובילוהו רגליו מרחוק לגור .  He explains יובל היא תהיה לכם to mean all of you, Bnai Yisrael, return to your own land.  He explains יובל היא שנת החמישים שנת תהיה לכם as every 50th year should be devoted to returning home and not to harvesting.

Today, we have the obligation to return to our homes in Israel that we lost 2000 years ago.  The Jews are the only people who want to live in their original homeland under any circumstances regardless of how many years they have not been living there.  On the contrary, Europeans left their countries and settled in the Americas and Australia.  We learn from Yovel that after 50 years since Israel was reborn, it is now time that every Jew, as it says לכם, must reclaim their lost lands and live in Israel.

The Middle Man by Rabbi Yosef Adler

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