The Land of Israel is about Balancing the Spiritual and Physical

As I noted in my previous article, Rav Kook teaches the following in Orot HaTechiya 28:

“The holiness that is expressed from within the physical is the holiness of the Land of Israel. When the Shechina (Divine Presence) descended into exile with the Nation of Israel, holiness stood in opposition to the physical. But holiness which battles the physical is not a complete holiness. It is necessary that holiness become subsumed within the Divine from above, which leads to a holiness that is expressed through the physical itself. This is the foundation of repairing the entire World.”

By drilling deeper into this point we gain an understanding of the harmonious nature of the process of Redemption. In exile the Jewish people found it necessary to separate between the physical and spiritual. One could not fathom a world where the two could exist in harmony. Yet, this is exactly the point of returning home.

Rebbe Nachman teaches the following in the 35th lesson of the Likutey Moharan:

“Know! Teshuvah (Repentance) entails returning the thing to where it was taken from.”

This applies on both an individual level and national level. Our spiritual condition cannot be complete until we have returned to the place from where we were taken. Since Israel outside of its Land is not in its rightful place, then on an individual level as well one cannot fund harmony between the spiritual and physical.

Teshuvah is about returning to ourselves – about being in balance between the physical vessel that we were given when we came into this world and the spiritual expression, the ideal we are meant to bring into reality, which is the will of the Creator.

This balance can only happen in the Land of Israel. Outside the two cannot work in harmony, with the spiritual side always pushing back against the physical.

In Rebbe Nachman’s story of the Lost Princess, when the viceroy falls asleep after failing to follow the Princess’s instructions for a second time, his servant runs and hides when a long procession of soldiers walk by.


The servant represents our body and the viceroy who is asleep our soul. Sleep is always a hint to exile. as it says in the Song of Songs: “I am asleep and my heart is awake.” The servant, as the body cannot stand up to the rigors and challenges of this world as long as the soul is asleep and so hides.

Only in Israel can we truly awaken and achieve a complete harmony between the physical and spiritual.