Rabbi Moshe Lichtman

In 1933, when Hitler (yimach shemo) rose to power in Germany, one of the heads of the Radin Yeshiva asked the Chafetz Chayim about the fate of the Jews. After all, the wicked one announced his goal to annihilate the Jewish people (G-d forbid). The Chafetz Chayim answered: “He shall not succeed! No one has ever succeeded in destroying our nation in the lands of our dispersion. The verse says explicitly: If Eisav comes to one camp and smites it, then the remaining camp will escape” (Bereishit 32:9).

The questioner understood that the danger was imminent, and he continued to ask innocently: “If the oppressor succeeds in destroying a portion of the Jewish people (G-d forbid), who will be the remaining camp that will escape?” “This, too,” replied the Chafetz Chayim, “is stated explicitly in Scripture [in this week’s haftarah]: “On Mount Zion there will be a remnant, and it will be holy (Ovadyah 1:17).”

The questioner left the Chafetz Chayim’s presence completely shaken and agitated over the imminent destruction of European Jewry. Yet he felt confident that our Holy Land would be saved. (Chafetz Chayim Al HaTorah)

This may, perhaps, explain why the first thing Ya’akov did after escaping unscathed from Eisav’s clutches was to buy a piece of land in Eretz Israel: “Ya’akov arrived whole in the city of Shechem… and he encamped before the city. [Then] he bought the portion of land upon which he pitched his tent, from the sons of Chamor, the father of Shechem, for one hundred kesitahs” (Bereishit 33:18-19). Ya’akov understood that the best way to ensure Jewish survival is to build up the only true safe-haven the Jewish people have: Eretz Israel.

But there is another reason why Ya’akov bought the field in Shechem: Ibn Ezra comments on the above-cited verses: “The Torah mentions this to demonstrate that Eretz Israel has great virtues, and he who has a portion in it is considered as [if he has] a portion in the World-to-come.” Ya’akov was not only running away from oppression; he was also running towards a higher spiritual plane.

So, whether you wish to return to the Jewish homeland to escape present or future persecution or to attain a portion in the World-to-come, follow Ya’akov Avinu’s example and buy a portion in the Land before it is too late.