Thought of the Week: Shemos - 5781
THE BROAD LAND
In Pareshat Shemot, Moshe is instructed by Hashem to inform the Children of Israel that they are going to leave Egypt and make their way to the Land of Israel. Eretz Yisrael is described to Moshe as a land that is Tova U'rechava - good and broad. We all know that Israel is a good land, yet the broadness of Israel needs some clarification.
Some commentators note that Hashem was impressing upon Moshe the greatness of the Land of Israel vis-a-vis Egypt. The source of water - and thus life - in Egypt was the Nile. At that time, all of its population was centred near the Nile. Thus, the country was no more than a very narrow strip. Eretz Yisrael, on the other hand, gets its rain from above. One can live in a variety of climates and regions within the land. Thus, it is a land that is not confined geographically, but rather "good and broad".
However, just as variations exist in the layout of the land, so too, when it comes to the people who were given the land, diversity must be expected and appreciated. The Almighty is not interested in a nation of clones with uniform behavior, but rather desires every person - based on their nature and temperament - to find a way to use their personal tools in serving Hashem and increasing His honour in the world.
We must thank Hashem for the gift of a land that is "blessed with brooks, streams and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills," where we as well can allow our individualism to develop and not be stifled.