Acquiring Territory in the Land of Israel

[Shut She’eilat Shlomo vol. 4 #54. Originally delivered on the radio program "Kabbalat Shabbat" which was dedicated to Beit El]

In the Torah portion of Chayei Sarah we read about Avraham Avinu purchasing the Cave of Machpelah in Hevron. We can ask ourselves: what does this story have to do this us? What do we learn from it for our lives?
Our Rabbi Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook, explained that we must view the history of our ancestors in light of the great principle "The action of the fathers is a sign for the children" (Ramban to Bereshit 12:1, Tanchuma - Lech Lecha 9 and Sotah 34a).
The purchase of the Cave of Machpelah marked the beginning of our settlement in the Land of Israel. The fact that Avraham Avinu acquired this first piece of land with money is of great significance, for he was a great warrior when necessary, and thus could have acquired the land through force. And so we learn that, of the various methods of acquisition enumerated by Halachah, money was the first to be used in the attainment of our Land. Indeed, so many generations later, Theodore Herzl too began the acquisition of our Land through monetary channels: the Bank of the Land of Israel, one of his earliest endeavors, was established not for individual matters, but for the settlement of the Land. Purchasing its stocks was a mitzvah, and the project itself provided a model for the activities of the Jewish National Fund.
Crucial to our understanding that "the action of the father is a sign for the children" is the idea that our forefathers were not separate entities from their children, but rather, formed a continuum with them. They were the foundation of Klal Yisrael. Their actions are "signs" for their children, i.e. for us, because we are in fact one entity with them. We are bound together, sharing a single essence which flows throughout time, from one generation to the next. When we learn about our forefathers and their actions, we learn about ourselves and our actions, which are one and the same.
This idea has its source in the words of our Talmudic Sages, who explained the Divine command to Avraham Avinu: "Arise, walk in the Land, its length and its breadth, for I am giving it to you" (Bereshit 13:17). This journey through the Land of Israel, Our Sages teach us, was not designed to signify Avraham Avinu's individual inheritance of the land ("I am giving it to you,") but rather to ensure that the Land would be easily conquered by his children (Baba Batra 100a). The father and the children are one entity: the promise to one includes the promise to the other.
It is clear that this Divine decision, "I gave this Land to you," marked the beginning of our connection to the Land of Israel. This Land is ours. It is an absolute, divinely decreed fact which is unchangeable. It is through our own efforts, however, that this connection is realized. Avraham Avinu brought into reality the Divine decree "I gave" by acquiring the Land with money. This action of our forefather was "a sign for the children" in the period before the establishment of the State of Israel, and continues to be "a sign for the children" in our day.
Maran Ha-Rav Avraham Yitzchak Ha-Cohain Kook, explained in his speech about the Jewish National Fund, that our right to the Land was never annulled; not our right as individuals, and all the more so, not our right as a Nation. As a loyal, righteous Nation, however, we aspire to conquer our Land in a just and faithful manner. Whenever possible, we do not conquer through strength and sword, but, rather, through peaceful means: we are thus willing to pay huge amounts of money for every piece of our Land (Ma’amrei Ha-Re’eiyah vol. 1, p. 252).
We were and we are. With Hashem's help, may we merit to continue the work of Avraham Avinu.