Parashat Bo: Rabbenu Ha-Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda: Return to the Land of Your Soul and Body!

[Sichot Ha-Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Shemot pp. 129-130]

“We are leaving the impurity of Egypt and heading to the "Air of Eretz Yisrael which makes one wise" (Baba Batra 158b). "The air of Your Land is the life of the souls" (Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Levi, poems, "Tzion Ha-Lo Tishali'). This air heals us, both spiritually and physically, as we see from what occurred with Rabbi Shmuel Salant, who served as the Rav of Yerushalayim. In his youth, he lived in Lithuania and was stricken with tuberculosis to the point that the doctors almost gave up on him. They searched for ways to cure him and suggested various unique places in the world whose climate would help to overcome the tuberculosis and allow him to live longer: Italy, France on the shore of the Mediterranean and Egypt, where there is a concentration of good air. Rabbi Shmuel Salant said: Why should I travel to Egypt - after all, it is close to Yerushalayim? He traveled to Yerushalayim and lived until 93 years old, well beyond the average age, and served in the Rabbinate there for 60 years. This power flows from the treasured nature of the air of Eretz Yisrael. What makes one wise also heals. This air, which belongs to the entire Nation of Israel, also belongs to each individual: To his soul, to his body, and to his psycho-physio-biological state. Father [Maran Ha-Rav Kook] z"l once met with a great scientist, who was far from Judaism and researched prominent illnesses which exist among Jews. He explains these illnesses based on the fact that we are not Europeans but Asians. There is a difference between the Asian air and climate and that of Europe, and since we are Asians in our make-up and belong in an Asian climate, the fact that we were not there caused us many physio-biological complications.”