Torah Portion MISHPATIM – Shemot (Exodus) 21:1–24:18 Haftarah: 2 Kings 12:1–17
“saying: “To you I give the land of Canaan as your allotted inheritance.”” 1 Chronicles 16:18 TLV
Shabbat Shalom, dearly beloved!
A very interesting inheritance battle in my family has presented a special case to study the Torah on the matter. One of my second cousins took advantage of his proximity to a property left by my late paternal grandfather from Chile. Most of us heirs were not aware of the existence of this property or at least had forgotten about it.
“You will take possession of the land, so you will settle in it, because I have given it to you to possess.” Numbers 33:53 TLV
My cousin, whom I will call Ted, lives in Chile, whereas most of the other heirs do not, took advantage of the proximity to the property and took effective possession of it. Since he works in an office that deals with abandoned properties, he also knew the laws in Chile that stipulate that anyone that lives for five years in a property that has been abandoned by its owners can become the official owner of the property.
Ted also proceeded to repair, remodel, and make it nice for him to live in. I would like to bring light as to the difference between inheritance and possession. This subject sheds light on the struggle of the Jewish People as the rightful heirs of the Land of Canaan for up to 1000 generations.
“He remembers His covenant forever— the word He commanded for a thousand generations— which He made with Abraham, and swore to Isaac, and confirmed to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I give the land of Canaan, the portion of your inheritance.”” Psalms 105:8-11 TLV
The Holy Scriptures talk about two words for what is commonly called inheritance. One is nahala, and the other one is Yerusha, from which also derives the word Yerushalayim, the real name of the Holy City of Jerusalem.
“But Judah will be inhabited forever— Jerusalem from generation to generation.” Joel 4:20 TLV
Nahala means inheritance by legal right.
Yerusha means inheritance by effectual possession. Nahala is a passive term, while Yerusha requires action. In the case of Ted, he is one of the heirs of this Nahala like all my cousins, and their descendants are, but he took effective possession of a property we had all abandoned, had forgotten, or were ignorant of its existence. He took advantage of the situation and took possession legally, whether we like it or not. Because the property had been abandoned, anyone that is not a legal heir could have taken effective possession legally, and the family would have lost it altogether.
“Thus says Adonai: “In a time of favor I will answer you. in a day of salvation I will help you. I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the land, to make them possess its desolate inheritances,” Isaiah 49:8 TLV
If the Jewish People, the legal heirs of the Land of Israel, do not take possession of all empty and abandoned lands, we can lose them. Furthermore, if they do not remove illegal squatters and illegal settlers that have a warrant of eviction, they set a precedent to lose more land in the future.
“So Joshua said to Bnei-Yisrael, “How long will you be slack about going in to possess the land which Adonai, the God of your fathers, has given you? Appoint for yourselves three men from each tribe, and I will send them, and they will arise and walk through the land, and describe it according to their inheritance, and then return to me.” Joshua 18:3-4 TLV
It is very important to have the Jewish People move to Israel to possess the Land of their God given inheritance effectually.
“For your waste and desolate places and your destroyed land will now be surely too small for the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. The children of your bereavement will yet say in your ears, “The place is too cramped for me! Make room for me to settle in.”” Isaiah 49:19-20 TLV
The Land of Israel belongs to The People of Israel forever, but it is not until we take effective possession of it that we can live in it and enjoy our inheritance. There is action that needs to take place, which often involves a monetary price, a battle, and considerable effort in order to take Effective Possession and turn it into a Yerusha.
When the first Alyahs of Jews came back to the Land to effectively possess their inheritance after 2000 years of exile, they found it abandoned and neglected. All those Arabs and Turks that had used the Land for their own benefit never cared for it.
There was no central government, no meaningful infrastructure, no life-giving agriculture, no import, no export, nothing. Various villagers had small farms that produced the food their families needed. The Land was barren. They had not forested it, and to avoid taxes under the 400 years of the Ottoman Empire, they cut down most of the trees, turning the Land into a desert. Many areas in Northern Israel, especially in Galilee, were left swampy and infested with Malaria. Then the Jews, the Legal Heirs, began to return and take Effective Possession at great expense of finances and life and made it bloom!
“The land that was desolate will be tilled instead of being a wasteland in the sight of all that passed by.” Ezekiel 36:34
The Jewish Olim (Ascenders to the Holy Land or New Immigrants) forested it and established agricultural community farms called kibbutzim. At the risk of death by Malaria, they drained the swamps. Later on, infrastructure, roads, and highways were built. The Legal Heirs took Effective Possession of their Land. However, because of unbiblical politics and Arab propaganda, many areas of the Land were still left abandoned. Arab nations fought the newly established State of Israel that, though outnumbered, won every battle. Later on, the Arab States and the world weaponized the Arab inhabitants of the Land and created, together with Hitler and the Nazi Regime, the Palestinian Cause based mostly on lies for the purpose of eradicating the Jewish People from their rightful Nahala and Yerusha.
As long as the Jews keep taking effective possession of all parts of the Land of Promise, they will win every war. Taking possession is a bloody thing; it is both a legal and a physical battle. Taking possession often involves paying a bitter price for the Land, including finances, personal safety, and life. Most of the Land that Israel has today was purchased with money by the Jews, obtained as war spoil after being unjustly attacked by Arab armies and defending herself, and/or received legally from the United Nations that voted on the partition between a Jewish and an Arab State.
We can expect that as this battle continues and as long as the Jewish People keep paying the high price for possessing their Land, they will expand more and more. The nations may rage, but the God of Israel left the Nahala, the inheritance of the Land of Canaan, to the natural descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Yaakov from the River Nile to the Euphrates. As long as the heirs keep paying the price to take possession legally, they will succeed.
What does it mean “legally”?
- By purchase from Arab owners
- By settling abandoned lands that no one has cared for.
- By defending themselves from war or terror and getting it as spoils of war like the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley after the Miracle Six-Day War.
Nowadays, the Land that the first Jewish Returnees found barren and neglected at the end of the 19th century has become a vibrant country. Effective Possession, Yerusha, has happened in various areas, but there is much more to do to fulfill Yah’s Promise.
“They will say, ‘This land that was a wasteland has become like the garden of Eden. The waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’” Ezekiel 36:35 TLV
Inheritance without taking Effective Possession is a wasted and lost inheritance. Have you received a Promise from YHVH? Then pay the price to Possess it. This requires faith, knowledge of the Torah of God, His promises, then the laws of your country, and endurance.
“Then the nations that are left all around you will know that I, YHVH, have rebuilt the ruined places, and replanted what was desolate. I, YHVH have spoken it. So I will do it.”” Ezekiel 36:36 STB
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