Holiness of Palestine

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Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. The holiness of Palestine attracted Jews to be buried in it holy soil. The sage Rabbi Anan said "To be buried in Palestine is like being buried under the altar."[1][2]
Olives trees, like this one in Qefin, have intrinsic holiness in Judaism, especially during the Sabbatical Year. This "seventh year holiness" carries with it many religious laws.[3]

Palestine is considered to be a holy place in many religions such as Judaism. Part of the reason why Palestine is seen as sacred by the Jews is because it "was the cradle and sepulcher of their Patriarchs and their Promised Land." Veneration and love for Palestine was and still is seen as a vital aspect of one's Jewish life.

Significance of residence[edit]

The Talmud mentions the religious duty of colonising Palestine.[4] So significant in Judaism is the act of purchasing land in Palestine, the Talmud allows for the lifting of certain religious restrictions of Sabbath observance to further its acquisition and settlement.[5] Rabbi Johanan said that "one who walks a distance of 4 cubits in Palestine may be confident of a share in the future world". A story says that when R. Eleazar b. Shammua' and R. Johanan HaSandlar left Palestine to study from R. Judah ben Bathyra, they only managed to reach Sidon when "the thought of the sanctity of Palestine overcame their resolution, and they shed tears, rent their garments, and turned back". Due to the Jewish population being concentrated in Palestine, emigration was generally prevented, which resulted in a limiting of the amount of space available for Jewish learning. However, after suffering persecutions in Palestine for centuries after the destruction of the Temple, Rabbis who had found it very difficult to retain their position moved to Babylon, which offered them better protecion. Many Jews wanted Palestine to be the place where they died. R. Anan said, "To be buried in Palestine is like being buried under the altar". The saying "His land will absolve His people" implies that burial in Palestine with cause one to be absolves of all one's sins.

Location of the holy cities of Judaism[edit]

Since the sixteenth century, the holiness of Palestine, has been concentrated in the Four Holy Cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias and Safed. Sacred burials are still undertaken for diaspora Jews who wish to lie buried in the holy soil of Palestine.[6][7]

See also[edit]


PD-icon.svg   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainJewish Encyclopedia. 1901–1906. 

  1. ^ Michael L. Rodkinson (Translator) (2010). The Babylonian Talmud: all 20 volumes (Mobi Classics). MobileReference. p. 2234. ISBN 978-1-60778-618-4. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Moshe Gil (1997). A history of Palestine, 634-1099. Cambridge University Press. p. 632. ISBN 978-0-521-59984-9. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Seasons in Halacha, Pinchos Yehoshua Ellis, pg. 74.
  4. ^ Isaac Herzog (1967). The Main Institutions of Jewish Law: The law of obligations. Soncino Press. p. 51. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Yosef Zahavi (1962). Eretz Israel in rabbinic lore (Midreshei Eretz Israel): an anthology. Tehilla Institute. p. 28. Retrieved 19 June 2011. "If one buys a house from a non-Jew in Palestine, the title deed may be written for him even on the Sabbath. On the Sabbath!? Is that possible? But as Rava explained, he may order a non-Jew to write it, even though instructing a non-Jew to do a work prohibited to Jews on the Sabbath is forbidden by rabbinic ordination, the rabbis waived their decree on account of the settlement of Palestine." 
  6. ^ Joseph Jacobs, Judah David Eisenstein. "PALESTINE, HOLINESS OF". JewishEncyclopedia.com. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  7. ^ "palestine, holiness of". The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 7, 2011.