Parashat Vayechi: If you will it, it is not a dream

In this week's parashah, we see Yaacov and Yosef's incredible love for Eretz Yisrael when they make their relatives take an oath to bury them there. In this spirit, we bring the following Q&A from Rav Aviner -

Question: Once again a sense of dizziness confounds our leaders, who raise the idea of giving up part of our Land, G-d forbid. How should we struggle for our Land?
Answer: If we want to cure an illness, it is not enough to focus on its external signs, we must understand its cause. What is the reason for all of this weakness? Fear. Fear of enemies both from within and from without. Fear of all types of problems and difficulties. If this is the case, what is the medicine? Strength and courage. How do we attain strength and courage? From love of the Land of Israel and understanding the value of the Land. When we love and understand, we will be ready for great toil and self-sacrifice, and we will not fear anything. General Yitzchak Sadeh, one of the founders of the Palmach, wrote that a truly courageous person is not necessarily someone who abandons his feelings of fear, but an idealistic person who understands the greatness of his mission. Therefore a physically weak person can say, "I am courageous." The Rebbe of Gur, the author of "Sefat Emet," explained at the beginning of Parashat Shelach that the Land of Israel is acquired through desire and toil. We are not denying that building the whole length of our Land did not involve great toil, but when there is desire, people are ready for any amount of toil. He wrote that the same applies to learning Gemara. We can add that this is also the case with marriage.
We therefore know the solution: To fill the Nation of Israel with the desire for the Land of Israel. This desire certainly exists, because without it, there would be nothing here: No building of the Land, no return to Zion, no establishment of the State, and no founding of the army. We should therefore be more precise: We must strengthen the desire of the Nation of Israel for the Land of Israel.
We have already learned this from Yaakov Avinu. Hashem said to him: "The Land upon which you are lying, I will give to you and your descendants" (Bereshit 28:13). This is surprising: This is an extremely small area?! Rashi explained: "The Holy One, Blessed be He, folded up the entire Land of Israel under him. He hinted to him that it would be easily conquered by him like the four amah (six feet) which is the place of a person." If a person knows that the Land of Israel is his place, it is easy for him to conquer. If a person "lies down" on the Land of Israel, i.e. displays self-sacrifice for it, it is easy for him to conquer. And if "this is the stone upon which he lays his head" (Bereshit 28:18), then it is easy for him to conquer.
Why exactly is the detail of Yaacov Avinu putting the stones there important? Answer: These stones are the stones of the Land of Israel, and they were very dear to him. At the end of the Kuzari (5, 27), the Jewish spokesman is asked, when will the Redemption arrive? He answers: “When they yearn for the fundamental yearning, as it says: ‘For Your servants hold her stones dear, and cherish her dust"’ (Tehillim 102:14). The love of the stones by the Nation will bring Redemption. The Gemara relates that Rabbi Abba would kiss the stones of Acco and Rabbi Chaim bar Gamda would roll in the dirt of the Land of Israel, as it says: "For Your servants hold her stones dear, and cherish her dust" (Ketubot 112a-b). There is something strange in Rashi's commentary on this Gemara. He simply copies the verse, without offering an interpretation. I saw an explanation – I believe in the name of the Vilna Gaon – that those Rabbis who kissed the stones and rolled in the dirt did not do so to fulfill the above-mentioned verse, but because they loved the stones and dirt of our Land in the depths of their souls. This is the secret: To strengthen love.
Avraham Avinu was told: "Arise, walk in the Land, its length and its breadth, for I am giving it to you" (Bereshit 13:17). Our Sages explain: "In order that the Land would be easily conquered by his children" (Baba Batra 100a). The love of the journey makes the conquering easy. Yitzchak Avinu was told more: Do not only "Arise, walk in the Land," but "Dwell in the Land…live in the Land" (Bereshit 26:2-3). And Yaacov Avinu even more so: He laid down on the Land, he clung to the Land. Even if he had only laid down on four amah he would have been able to spring forth and conquer the entire Land, as is written in the commentary "Da'at Zekenim Mi-Ba'alei Ha-Tosafot": "'The Land upon which you are lying' means that I will give you that upon which you lie; and you will spread out in every direction by yourself and conquer all of your surroundings, as is the case with important horsemen. They give them a little land and they conquer all of the surrounding with their courage."
If we strengthen the love of the Land of Israel, we will then hold on it with self-sacrifice, and even spread out to the west, east, north and south. If you will it, it is not a dream.