Pyramids of Israel

Pinchas

Pyramids. The very word conjures thoughts of ancient civilization, magic and mystique, a foregone era. ‎These mammoth structure are impressive and their aura have outlasted the societies that constructed ‎them by many millennia. Myriads of workers were involved in the production of the pyramids, many losing ‎their lives in the process. Physicists are still hypothesizing stones for these goliath edifices were ‎transported and raised. This funerary art has unsurprisingly survived, perhaps thereby serving the purpose ‎of their original assembly. ‎

One of the most striking turns of fate and its subsequent effect of legacy is that of Alfred Noble. A fate ‎which spawned a phenomenon, almost as famous as the pyramids of Giza. Alfred was a Swedish chemist ‎who was the inventor of dynamite. In 1888 Alfred’s brother Ludvig died and a French newspaper ‎erroneously published Alfred’s obituary “The merchant of death is dead”. It condemned him for his ‎invention of dynamite and went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more ‎people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Alfred was disappointed with what he read and concerned ‎with how he would be remembered. Nobel signed his last will and testament and set aside the bulk of his ‎estate to establish the Nobel Prizes, to be awarded annually without distinction of nationality. ‎

Humans have morbidly stated that there is one guarantee in life, that of death. All men are mortal and are ‎keenly aware of their final destiny. Yet the soul yearns for eternity. Some foolishly search for the fountain ‎of youth, while others erect monuments to perpetuate their memory. Yet there are those who undergo ‎cryopreservation in the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future. All these people ‎share a basic drive, immortality. This force is a natural outgrowth from the divinity found in the human. ‎The spirit of man is a ‘derivative of the Divine’, consequently it bears resemblance to the Eternal ‎encouraging people to crave immortality. ‎

In allocating the Land of Israel, Hashem tells Moshe “you shall apportion the Land among these as an ‎inheritance” denoting it was to be distributed amoung the recently counted individuals. These folks who ‎formed the recent census were the new generation who were born in the desert. How do we reconcile this ‎with Hashem’s promise to give the land to the people who left Egypt? How was this to be achieved? ‎

A complicated process was developed. The land was actually divided and apportioned to the people who ‎physically left Egypt and died in the desert. They would subsequently pass on the land posthumously to ‎their live offspring who were now entering the Land of Israel. ‎

Every single person in the Jewish nation was linked to a parcel of land. This was no temporary technical ‎arrangement. Every Jubilee year, that is every half century, the land was returned to its original possessor ‎i.e. those that left Egypt, and re-passed down from father to son. Thus each Jewish person was eternally ‎linked to his plot of land. The Torah as designed for living in Eretz Yisroel, has a built-in immortalization ‎system to ensure no Jew is ever forgotten. ‎

It is no wonder that the Jew feels a constant yearning towards the Land of Israel. It does not matter how ‎many generations he has spent in exile, Eretz Yisroel has a personal undying connection to each and every ‎individual. ‎

We can take this a step further.‎

This longing for immortality was the driving force behind the claim of Tzelophochod’s daughters. Out of ‎respect for their father, they longed that he too should have an everlasting memory, his name should have ‎an interminable association with the Land of Israel. Thus they presented their case before Moshe claiming ‎‎“Why should our father’s name be eliminated from his family because he had no son?” This was just their ‎opening argument and further countered step two in similar vein. ‎

They argued, that if we, the girls, do not inherit his land, let our mother do Yibbum to our father’s brothers. ‎Why? Perhaps there are differing criteria for inheritance than the levirate marriage. Offspring in one ‎category is not necessarily accepted in another. ‎

The Zohar teaches that when the brother of the deceased performs this levirate marriage, the soul of his ‎late brother enters into the new child born from this Yibbum union. This then is another technique to ‎ensure our father’s everlasting memory. We now have a deeper understanding of the girls’ case. Either his ‎memory will live by inheriting the land, or if we females do not inherit, then our mother should be eligible ‎for Yibbum so our father can continue to live, by entering the soul of his wife’s child. Why should our ‎father be deprived the potential of eternal perpetuation.‎

Without any pyramids, mausoleums, tombs and sarcophagi, the Torah has a system to ensure everlasting ‎memories. Each and every person in the nation is linked to the national heritage, and this association is ‎constantly revisited, such that every generation is reminded of its forbearing ancestors. ‎

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