“There is no Torah like the Torah of Eretz Yisrael” (BeReishit Rabbah 16:4).

ERETZ YISRAEL IN THE PARASHAH - Essays on the Centrality of the Land of Israel in the Torah

From the Back Cover and Inside Flap


Eretz Yisrael: “The peg upon which the entire Torah hangs” (R. Ya’akov Emden)


Is the Land of Israel really one of the cornerstones of Judaism? If so, why do so many religious Jews still live elsewhere, even though the gates of our Land are opened wide?


Eretz Yisrael in the Parashah reveals what the Torah, as well as the greatest of our Sages, have to say on the matter. It will give you a newfound love and appreciation for the Land that God chose for His beloved nation.


If the Land of Israel plays such an important role in Judaism, why do so many Jews still choose to live in the Diaspora?


To answer this question, and help the reader find his own answers, the author analyzes every reference to Eretz Yisrael in the 54 Torah portions read on Shabbat and the Jewish Holidays. Culling from the vast storehouse of Rabbinic literature, he shows us that living in the Holy Land is more than a dry, halachic question. It is a fulfillment of the deep yearnings of millennia of Jews – to come to the Land to perform all of God’s commandments, especially those that depend on the Land.


This is the true meaning of Zionism: loving and yearning for Zion – an ideal that all of our sages, throughout the generations, espoused.


The author demonstrates the overriding importance of Eretz Yisrael to our religion and unabashedly encourages Diaspora Jews to at least consider making God’s Chosen Land their permanent dwelling place.

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HaRav HaGaon R. Hershel (Tzvi) Schachter shlita:

I reviewed several articles that appear in this book, and I enjoyed everything I read. See Nedarim (22b), [where our Sages state] that had the Jews not sinned, [God] would have given them only the Five Books of the Torah and the Book of Yehoshua, because it [shows] the value of Eretz Yisrael. Thus, even if the Jews had not sinned, it would have been worthy to add [a book] onto the Written Law in order to give honor and prestige to Eretz Yisrael. All the more so these days – seeing that we are more disgraced than any other generation, for we have despised the gift of the Land – it is certainly a great and timely mitzvah, as well as a pressing need, to add another work onto the Oral Law in honor of the value and importance of Eretz Yisrael. “No one cares about Zion (Yirmiyah 30:17), implying that she needs to be cared about” (Rosh HaShanah 30a). [Therefore], I commend my dear friend, R. Moshe Lichtman (may he live), who “jumped in” and merited performing this important mitzvah. May it be God’s will that this book benefit the public [and help] infuse the value and importance of Eretz Yisrael into the hearts of its readers.

Written and signed for the sake of Zion,

Tzvi Schachter

HaRav HaGaon R. Moshe Tzuriel shlita:

A few days ago, I received from Rabbi Yehudah Mischel (of Yeshivat Reishit) a copy of your book, Eretz Yisrael in the Parashah. The few excerpts I read over the past few days gave me tremendous pleasure. You should know that even before I heard that you wrote on this topic, I too wrote a small book entitled Derishat Tzion. But when I compare my work with yours - your collection [of sources], your style, your precision - they are many, many times more pleasant and more effective than what I wrote. (Actually, in my work, I quoted more from Kabbalistic sources, which, of course, most of the target audience for whom you wrote will not find palatable.)

B’li neder [without taking a vow], I plan on learning from your book every single Shabbat. You have received a great privilege! Fortunate are you, and how good is your lot. May it be [God’s] will that you continue with great success in all of your educational endeavors.

Respectfully yours, according to your elevated stature,

Moshe Tzuriel (former mashgiach of Yeshivat Sha’alvim)

HaRav Yaacov (Jay) Marcus shlita:

At long last, a sefer in English that highlights the centrality of the Land of Israel not only in the weekly parashah, but in every holiday as well. Rabbi Lichtman uses the Torah text as well as the classic commentaries, Midrashim, and even Chassidic divrei Torah to help enrich our understanding of the role Eretz Yisrael plays in our history as a people and in our lives today. This is a worthy addition to everyone's library and a wonderful source book for the Shabbos table.

Rabbi Yaacov Marcus

Founder, Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim

Rabbi Emeritus Young Israel of Staten Island



I want to thank you for translating Eim HaBanim Semeichah and writing Eretz Yisrael in the Parashah. I can honestly tell you that those 2 seforim have had a humongous impact on my life. Eim HaBanim Semeichah made me come to the conclusion that I should make aliyah (I am making aliyah with my wife and 4 kids this August) and Eretz Yisrael in the Parashah has kept that passion to move to EY constant week by week.



“To Love the Land,” by Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 2, 2007, p. 31

Wander into your local neighborhood religious bookstore and you will see the difference right away. Whereas the Hebrew shelves are filled to overflowing with a wide range of titles examining various aspects of the theology, holiness and significance of the Land of Israel, the English side of the store is comparatively thin, at least when it comes to this subject.

But that, it appears, may be starting to change. If a new book by Rabbi Moshe D. Lichtman is any indication, English-speaking Jews are about to have some exciting new vistas opened to them.

Eretz Yisrael in the Parashah is divided according to the weekly Shabbat and festival Torah readings. Marshaling an impressive array of sources, Lichtman judiciously demonstrates the solid connection between the Land and each of the readings.

In a crisp and clear style, he shows how the centrality of the Land of Israel to the Jewish experience, both historical and spiritual, is a fundamental theme that is pivotal to understanding Torah and living as an observant Jew.

Whatever one's level of Jewish education or knowledge, this book will serve as a rich and enlightening source of wisdom and thought-provoking insight. Even graduates of advanced yeshivot are likely to discover in this volume an array of rabbinic sayings, from midrashim to commentaries by later authorities, that they had not previously encountered.

It is clear from this work that Lichtman, who received ordination from the Chief Rabbinate as well as from Yeshiva University, and who has taught at various post-high school programs here, is both a talented scholar and a gifted teacher, as he writes with a rare combination of both passion and acumen.

But this book is far more than just a pleasant or enlightening read. It is a book that is infused with a sense of purpose and mission. As Lichtman states in his introduction, "This book is not about 'Zionism' in the modern sense. It is about the true meaning of Zionism - loving and yearning for Zion - an ideal that all of our gedolim, throughout the generations, espoused." The goal of the book, notes the author, who made aliya from the United States 16 years ago, is "to demonstrate how overridingly important Eretz Yisrael is to our religion and encourage Diaspora Jews to at least consider making God's Chosen Land their permanent dwelling place."

Even if you have already made such a decision in your own personal life, you will find this book to be a rewarding and gratifying experience for the affirmation and encouragement that it offers. In that sense, it is perfectly well-suited both for those who have already made aliya and for those who don't yet consider it an option.

While the tone is occasionally a bit sweeping or even preachy, that does not take away from the power of this book to transform the way you will view the Land of Israel. At a time when Zionism appears to be in retreat, and basic, fundamental values such as patriotism, Jewish pride and love of country are under attack, there can be no better way to immunize yourself against these dangerous trends than to open this book on a regular basis and immerse yourself in its pages.

Get it. Read it. Study it. And make sure to share it with your friends and loved ones overseas.


“Focus on YU alumni in Israel,” News from YU in Israel, Tishrei 5767

Like the halutzim of the first yishuvim, YU alumnus Rabbi Moshe Lichtman is a modern pioneer in Eretz Yisrael. His tool, however, is not the plowshare, but Torah knowledge and love of the Land, which he skillfully wields with the training he received at Yeshiva University.

Rabbi Lichtman – fondly known as Reb Moshe by many – earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as his smicha from YU. He graduated magna cum laude with a BA in health sciences in 1985, and completed his Masters of Science in Jewish Education in 1992 at YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. He received smicha in 1992 through YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

The turning point in Reb Moshe’s life, however, was his aliyah la’aretz in 1991. The move was the manifestation of his love for the Land of Israel, a love which he has cultivated through his writing. Reb Moshe has personally translated from the original Hebrew into English, several pivotal works on the centrality of Eretz Yisrael to Judaism. Thanks to his efforts, the broader audience of English-speakers worldwide can now benefit from the teachings of such major works as Eim HaBanim Semeichah (a vital manuscript on Jewish redemption and unity, as poignant today as when it was penned sixty-three years ago), An Angel Among Men (a biography of Israel’s first Chief Rabbi, HaRav Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook zt”l) and A Question of Redemption (a multi-faceted look at the religious significance of the Jewish state).

The newly published Eretz Yisrael in the Parasha is Reb Moshe’s own original work, released only last month. This essential new book examines nearly every reference to the Land of Israel in the Chumash, and elucidates each one with classic and contemporary rabbinic sources. Cataloged into chapters according to the weekly Torah readings, Eretz Yisrael in the Parasha makes for an easy reference and study tool; filling a void in the publishing world which, surprisingly, remained almost vacant until now.

“The Mishnah in Avot which teaches ‘Bimkom She’Ein Anashim Hishtadel Lehiot Ish’ guides me in my writing almost exclusively about Eretz Yisrael and Aliya” explains Rabbi Lichtman. “When no one is filling a role, you have to stand up and fill it.”

Reb Moshe lives together with his wife Shoshana and eight children in Beit Shemesh, where he teaches at Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah… Reb Moshe notes that many of his first-year students go on to study at YU, and he is very proud to play a role in their decision-making. He further notes that his graduate degree in education from Yeshiva University has helped him in his career as an educator. “YU remains a big part of my life until today. Rabbi Hershel Schachter, shlita, under whom I had the privilege to learn in kollel at YU continues to be a big influence on me long after graduation. He greatly encouraged my study and writing on Eretz Yisrael as very necessary and important work, and gave me haskamot on several of my books.”

Regarding the focus of his life’s work, Rabbi Lichtman notes that while publishers like Artscroll and Feldheim are doing excellent jobs at translating the essential sources like the Talmud and also publishing fine books on a wide range of Torah subjects, the importance and centrality of Eretz Yisrael are being neglected. “My soul is pulling me towards this work. I feel very strongly that Jews belong here in the Jewish homeland. I hope my books will help keep Jews learning and talking about Israel and aliya.”