Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Man cannot feel a sense of belonging, of proprietorship, of stability, and tranquility until he returns to the soil.”

 

Rabbi Steinsaltz writes:

The Sages speak of the double value of working the land.

On one hand, as everyone who has ever done real farming knows, one has to become subjugated to the soil in order to be able to eat from it.

It is said in the Talmud that there is no more menial labor than that of the land; it is a total subordination, an enslavement.

On the other hand, man cannot feel a sense of belonging, of proprietorship, of stability, and tranquility until he returns to the soil.

His connection to the earth is an essential feature of life.

In addition to its being the place of his origin and his ultimate return, it is where he arranges and cleans out, where he selects and cultivates the good and struggles against the bad.

The earth is man’s battlefield against evil. 

From “Banishment from Evil” in In the Beginning by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

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