January 2, 2022

Rosh Hashanah 13

In today’s daf (Rosh Hashanah 13a), as part of a broader discussion about the time it takes for fruit to ripen, reference is made to the phrase אֶרֶץ הַצְּבִי (Daniel 11:16), which though understood to mean ‘the cherished land [of Israel]’, literally translates as ‘the land of the deer’. And why is the Land of Israel compared to a deer? Because, as the Gemara explains elsewhere (Ketubot 112a), ‘just as a deer’s skin cannot contain its flesh, so too, the borders of the Land of Israel cannot contain its fruit, and just as the deer is the fastest of all the animals, so too, the fruit in the Land of Israel ripens faster than all other lands’.
In terms of the first statement about the abundance in the Land of Israel, this is explained by Rabbi Yonatan Eybeschütz (1690-1764) in his Yaarot Devash (Vol. 2 Drush 10) who explains that even though the Land of Israel is small, nevertheless – in a truly miraculous manner – it contains so much – and while this may have always been so, especially nowadays this fact is clear for us all to see when Israel develops and produces so many products that are used around the world.
Beyond this, just as the second statement speaks of the speed with which fruits ripen in Israel, this too is evident in our time where so many incredible technological advances occur – often at breakneck speed – within the borders of the Land of Israel (nb. for a wonderful resource which provides regular updates about the many cutting-edge advances and products developed in Israel, see https://verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com/).
Still, it is worthwhile noting that deer can sometimes run so fast that they can – unfortunately – collide with other objects. As such, they need to pace themselves. Similarly, there are occasions when things are done in Israel with such a desire to get them done quickly that mistakes can, unfortunately, be made. As the phrase goes, ‘more haste, less speed’.
And this brings us back to the Land of Israel, because once in every seven years, during the year of Shemitta, the land slows down its pace. It takes a break an has a rest, and in doing so it provides an opportunity to make sure that when growth occurs, it should be done with haste and not speed.
In this article:
Share on social media:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram

More articles