SPEAKING TO OUR CHILDREN…for eternity
We all know how important it is to speak to our children. We build a relationship of love and trust with our children with the words we use. Not only our words, but our actions, our facial expressions, our body language all transmit messages which create a loving relationship with our children.
Our forefather Jacob was the first of the Avot to mould his family successfully into one unit; all twelve sons were totally righteous. Their relationship was rock-solid. But Jacob was not satisfied. He wanted his relationship with them to be eternal. He wanted to communicate with them after his death. How?
In Parshat Vayechi, we are told that as the day of Jacob’s death was approaching; he said to his son Joseph, “..do not bury me in Egypt…bury me in the burial place of my fathers [in the land of Israel].” Rabbi Shimshon Refoel Hirsch explains that Jacob was concerned that his children were beginning to feel at home in Egypt, “the Nile had become their Jordan, Egypt was no Galut.” Therefore, he told his son to bury him in their true homeland. “You hope and wish to live in Egypt. I do not wish even to be buried there.”
Jacob’s instruction to be buried in Eretz Yisroel ensured that his children would continue to receive his message posthumously. He would be reminding them constantly that the land of Israel is home. The Diaspora is a station, not a destination.
A Jew today may be living in any of the four corners of the Earth. But where does he or she consider home? It has to be Eretz Yisroel. A Jew lives in a country in the Diaspora “to sojourn there”. But his attachment to Eretz Yisroel should be “a three-ply cord” – an indestructible bond.
But how can he convey this to his children?
In the footsteps of our forefather Jacob, he can reserve a burial plot in Eretz Yisroel. Hopefully he will not use it for many years, but even now he will be making a powerful statement that Eretz Yisroel is home. This message will be constant and eternal. We do not know where our children and grandchildren will find themselves in the future or what their attachment to Judaism will be. But we can still be there for them, ensuring that the connection will be unbreakable. They will visit; they will always be reminded that “home” is Eretz Yisroel.
Some say, “What difference does it make, where I am buried?”
But they are missing a wonderful opportunity of speaking to their children.
“Here, we are in Galut, not at home.”
It is a message, not about death but about life.