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Present acquisition

Written by d fine

The Netziv delivers a wonderful halachic explanation of pasuk 53 of perek 33. The pasuk reads ‘you will/shall inherit the Land and dwell in it, for I (HaShem) have given the Land to you to inherit it.’ It all seems a bit repetitive? And why does HaShem stress the fact that He has given the Land to us – what does that have to do with our taking possession of the Land? The Netziv explains that Bnei Yisrael needed to perform an act of acquisition to Eretz Yisrael to effect its change in ownership. Given that no money and no contract was going to pass between Klal Yisrael and the nations which currently occupied the Land, the only viable act of acquisition of land remaining was a chazaka, whereby part of the land is improved or changed in some way by the new owners – thus symbolising a certain element of control that goes with ownership. Anyway, the problem is that when acquiring more than one field, a chazaka must be performed to each individual field to acquire the entire land mass. So how were Klal Yisrael supposed to acquire Eretz Yisrael – it would take some time to perform a chazaka on each field? Here, says the Netziv, lies the key to understanding our pasuk. For only in the case of a sale must one perform a chazaka to each individual field – but if the land is being given as a present then one act of chazaka on one field is sufficient to acquire the entire land mass. This is why HaShem told us that He is giving us the Land – for since the Land is a present then we will be able to acquire (‘inherit’) it with ease. Thus, the words of the pasuk ‘I have given the Land to you to inherit it’ refer to the facilitation of our making an act of acquisition on the Land to own it.

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