EZEKIEL 20:6

“That same day I swore to them to take them out of the land of Egypt into a land flowing with milk and honey, a land which I had sought out for them, the fairest of all lands” EZEKIEL 20:6 (The Israel Bible™)

The Land of Israel is described here as ‘fair’ or ‘beautiful,’ in Hebrew tzvi (צבי). The word tzvi also means ‘deer,’ which prompts the Talmud (Ketubot 112a) to compare the Land of Israel to the skin of a deer (see also Daniel 11:16 where the Land of Israel is referred to as eretz ha-tzvi, ‘the beautiful land’). Just as deerskin stretches to fit over the body of the deer but shrinks when removed, so do the physical borders of Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) stretch to fit its Jewish inhabitants, but shrink when they are exiled from the land. Perhaps a deeper message can be applied for Israel’s inhabitants as well. Unlike other places in the world, the inhabitants of Israel must “stretch” themselves morally and spiritually to appreciate the holiness of the Land of the Deer, “the fairest of all lands.”

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