Monday, March 08, 2010

TLATD #4: Border Towns are Special


The holy Zohar teaches that Hashem looked into the Torah and then created the world. The Torah then is the blueprint for the world, and one that wants to know how the world runs would be wise to play close attention to the Torah.

Last week Daf Yomi (Sanhedrin 16b) covered the law relating to a subverted town. In a nutshell, a subverted town, is a town where majority of the local population worships idols. Such a town, under biblical law, is razed. However there is a criteria that supersedes even our concern for this cardinal sin.

The Gemara is concerned that if we raze too many subverted towns it could lead to desolation in Eretz Yisrael. For this reason, towns guilty of this sin could be left standing simply for the purpose of protecting Eretz Yisrael. The sages debate the exact specifics of what and where we consider "too many to raze" but all agree to this principle which is clearly stated in the Mishna. The Gemara then comments on another point the Mishna makes about razing border towns.

As Artscroll translates it:

A Baraisa was taught in accordance with the view of R' Yochanan:

...And in the areas close to the border of Eretz Yisrael we may not designate even one subverted town. Why may we not designate a subverted town close to the border? Because Nuchrim might hear about the town's destruction and ravage Eretz Yisrael.

It's unfortunate that the leaders of the modern state of Israel did not pay more attention to the advice of the Torah when making foolish decisions. It is especially important for the well being of Eretz Yisrael for border towns to not be abandoned. Doing so only emboldens Israel's enemies.

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