The Mitzvot of a lifetime
“There are three whom HaKadosh Baruch Hu mentions every day… a wealthy person who tithes his produce in private” (Pesachim 113a)
Up until some time ago, one could only do the Mitzvos related to the Land of Israel by being a farmer. This means that you either owned your farm (and made it profitable) or you wouldn’t be able to perform these specific Mitzvos.
This presented a problem for many Jews. Why?
The Ari”zal writes that every person needs to perform all 613 Mitzvos in reincarnations in order for the soul to be rectified and merit the Olam Haba. Some of the souls already made their tikkun in the past. However, others might still need further rectification in an area or another, and that’s why they sometimes come back to this world.
Anyone taking the Torah seriously knows that finding your own path in avodas Hashem requires a lot of hitbonenut and effort. For some it’s focusing on Tfilin, for others it’s Shabbos or Shalom Bais. These are activities we are all familiar with in everyday life, and are able to perfect given enough time. Our rabbis teach us that, often, it’s specially in these areas in which we have most difficulty that our life mission rests.
But one would seldom consider that doing agricultural Mitzvos would be a part of his tikkun and the thing they most need to accomplish!
And if it is part of his mission, what could he do?
An opportunity for every Jew in the world
“From here we learn that whoever purchases four amos in Eretz Yisroel is guaranteed a portion in the World to Come” (Midrash Zuta, Koheles 7)
The answer to this question is in a fascinating new initiative called Kinyan Eretz Yisrael (KEY). Created by HaRav Meir Leibowitz and a group of distinguished Israeli rabbis about 12 years ago, KEY is a non-profit organization that takes care of all halachic issues of the Land.
Anyone who’s interested in acquiring a parcel of the Land of Israel, their dalet amos (4 by 4), can now make the purchase through Kinyan Eretz Yisrael’s website. From there you can choose between owning a plot of grape (tirosh), grain (dagan) or both, for 1 year or 3 years (in which case there’s a big discount).
In doing so, you can be credited in shomayim with no less than 28 Mitzvos that are possible to do during a 7-year shmittah cycle, without breaking a sweat!
Talk about a unique opportunity!
Times are changing for the better
Back in the days, acquiring a parcel of the Holy Land was very difficult, especially by those still living in chutz la’aretz. Besides the long trip fraught with dangers, the lack of basic infrastructure to accommodate imigrants and the threat of enemies living within and without the borders, one would also need to toil hard in order to make produce grow, and pray for it to grow well!
Yet, now someone from New York, Toronto, Australia or anywhere around the globe can easily purchase his own dalet amos and be credited with these unique Mitzvos. After the purchase is accepted, all the legwork is taken care of by KEY qualified personnel, including, planting, harvesting and separating the tithes like Terumos and Ma’asros. Of course, the land also receives its due rest in Shmittah, Shabbos and Yomim Tovim.
Altogether, we are talking about no less than 28 Mitzvos which the average Jew would rarely do in his lifetime!
This, by the way, is an halachically-binding transaction which means that (yes!) you can actually go to your own plot of land and do the Mitzvos yourself or collect your produce (provided you notify the KEY first). All leftover produce will be promptly donated to Jewish families in need.
But the idea behind this great project is not new. None less than the Vilna Gaon ZT”L had participated in such an enterprise as shown in letters written by his disciples who settled in Eretz Israel. Yet for some reason, this practice was put aside. The GRA, like Moshe Rabbenu, longed to enter in the land and fulfil its Mitzvos, but was not granted permission min hashamoyim.
Now, you may be asking: how do I know this is a legit organization? Obviously, anyone spending money online needs wants be assured that they are dealing with honest people with Yiras Hashem, who are honestly comitted to their work.
As it turns out, many gedolim have given their haskamot and brachot. Some prominent names include HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ZT”L, HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman ZT”L, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky Shlita, HaRav Yehuda Ades Shlita, the Admor of Belz Shlita and many others.
The founder of Kinyan Eretz Israel, HaRav Meir Leibowitz with HaRav Shteinman ZT”L
“Rav Avdimi the son of Rav Yosef said: “From here you learn that whoever properly gives to the poor leket, shikhechah and pe’ah is considered as if he built the Holy Temple and brought sacrifices there” (see Rashi, Vayikra 23:22)
May we all be zoche to perform our tikkun in this lifetime and see the rebuilding of our Third Holy Temple with the coming of Moshiach tzidkenu!