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Are We Residents Or Aliens?

The story of the Jewish people throughout the millennia is perhaps the greatest story ever told.

It is a story about superhuman resilience and faith despite constantly facing the most trying challenges ever experienced by a people.

Our connection to the land of Israel has been a central component of this struggle since the dawn of our history.

A most telling insight can be derived from the negotiations that take place between the first Jew Abraham as he attempts to acquire a parcel of land in the city of Hebron.

Our matriarch Sarah had just passed away and Abraham is looking for a place of burial.

In his opening statement to the Hittites, he says, 'I am a resident alien among you; please sell me a burial site so that I can bury my dead here.' (Genesis 23.4)

The words' resident alien' seem strange, as it implies two completely different things. One can be either a resident or an alien. What message is Abraham trying to convey to the Hittites?

The Midrash offers the following explanation: if you agree to sell me the land then I will regard myself as a stranger and will pay for it, but if not I will take it as my legal right, because the Holy One, blessed be He, said to me, (12:7) “Unto thy seed I give this land.

In this opening line of Abraham's negotiation, he is teaching his descendants a timeless message regarding our relationship with the land of Israel.

While it is true that we should attempt to acquire the land of Israel in a respectful and diplomatic way, we should always remember that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, as a gift from G-d.

The world is desperately seeking moral clarity. Especially the young. Nature abhors a vacuum.

For 25 years, the Rebbe urged Jewish leaders in Israel and around the world to follow the guidance of our forefather Abraham.

In light of the fact that all the arguments, and counterarguments, regarding the sovereignty of the Jewish people over the land of Israel have failed.

Why not tell the world the argument used by Abraham?

Why not tell the world what every Jew believes in his heart?

Why not echo Abraham's words to the nations of the world:

“If not I will take it as my legal right, because the Holy One, blessed be He, said to me, “Unto thy seed I give this land.”

It is the only argument that Israel has not yet used.

It's the only one capable of being effective.

It's the only one that the nations of the world will accept, because deep down they know it is true!

Yosef Vogel


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