VAYESHEV YAAKOV BE’ERETZ MEGUREY AVIV, “Yaakov dwelt in the land where his father had resided”. (Gen. 37,1) We find many places where we are told with the same expression VAYESHEV that the Jews dwelled in different places. We find it in Egypt, “…and Israel dwelt in Egypt.” (Gen. 47,27) We find the expression with reference to Yosef that he dwelled in Egypt. (Gen. 50,24) We read that Moshe dwelt in Midyan. (Ex. 2,15) We are told that the nation dwelt in Kadesh. (Num. 20,1) We read that the nation dwelt in all the cities of Emori after capturing them. (Num. 21, 25) Time and again the term VAYESHIV appears in the Torah and in TANACH.
Yet there is a vast difference between what we find in our Sidra and what we find elsewhere. Here we are told he “…dwelt in the land where his father resided.” This is the land that was promised to his father Yitzhak and to his grandfather Avraham. This is the land that belonged to him and was not like all the other places where the Jew was a stranger. He belonged in the land promised to his ancestors and to him by Hashem.
Rashi who quotes the Midrash tells us that Yaakov wanted to live peacefully in the land but could not. This is the story of the Jewish people’s claim to the land. Almost never in history did the Jews live here peacefully. Except for the time of King Solomon, there were always others who claimed the land. History repeats itself. Our time is no different.
Chazal tell us the Land of Israel was given through suffering. (Ber.5a) It is unfortunate, but the implication is that we must deserve it and must be ready to sacrifice for it. We know the expression that we must always be ready to defend our liberty.