“And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have assigned the land to you to possess.” Numbers 33:53
In the Book of Amos, it says that when the Lord promises to restore Israel, He promises to plant olives trees in the Land that will “nevermore be uprooted from the soil” (Amos: 9:15). To take part in actualizing this prophecy, many people around the world purchase olive trees in Israel to speed up the coming of the Messianic era, and a new project is helping them in this endeavor.
Own the Holy Land takes the idea of planting the Land of Israel four steps further by enabling those living abroad to establish a connection to the Holy Land by purchasing four Biblical amot (cubits) of agricultural land in the State of Israel. The land will be used to plant olive trees and grow spelt, the latter which is intended to be harvested to make Passover matzah. Four amot are the equivalent of about five-feet-squared.
The Own the Holy Land project is the brainchild of two Jerusalem olim (immigrants, literally “those who rise up”), David Tavdi and Zev Zion, who recently moved to Israel from New York because of their love of the land. Tavdi told Breaking Israel News that the project is based on the teachings of the Jewish sages who say that the Land of Israel and the Bible are intertwined and inseparable. One can only flourish with the other.
The Jewish sage Rabbi Yochanan indicated that the Land is so holy, that merely walking four amot in it can gain a person a place in The World to Come, Tavdi explained, citing a verse from the Or Ha-Hayyim commentary on the Bible by Rabbi Hayyim Ibn Atar (1696 to 1743): “For all those who walk in it [the Land of Israel] four amot, have a portion in the World to Come, which is all life.”
Rabbi Atar moved from Morocco to Israel and died in Jerusalem.
“If walking four amot is a mitzvah, then what about owning four amot?” asked Tavdi rhetorically.
There are several of the 613 Biblical commandments that can only be fulfilled in the Holy Land, explained Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, a Sephardic rabbi and founder of DivineInformation.com. These include the Biblical commandment of allowing the land to lie fallow one out of every seven years, shemittah in Hebrew, and giving maaser (ten percent) of all growing seeds and trees of the land to the poor, among many others. Rabbi Mizrachi endorsed the Own the Holy Land program in one of his recent YouTube videos.
Moreover, there is a basic Torah commandment to take control of the Land of Israel and settle it. The Jewish sage Nachmanides defines “settling” as not letting the land remain desolate. As such, said Tavdi, “This is not a financial investment, but a spiritual investment.”
Rabbi Mizrachi said that all activities done in the field will be in the merit of the people who own the land.
“Anyone who dwells in Eretz Yisroel is like one who has a God, and anyone who dwells outside the Land is like one who has no God.” ~Babylonian Talmud
Own the Holy Land’s plots are in Yavne’el, a moshava and local council in the Northern District of Israel. It is one of the oldest rural Jewish communities in the country. In English, Yavne’el means “He will build.”
Each lot costs $360. The lots can be gifted, and there are discounts for purchasing one or more.
Since launching the program in May 2017, more than 100 of Own the Holy Land’s 888 lots are sold. Buyers receive a contract and a certificate of purchase. Own the Holy Land assumes all expenses and responsibilities of farming and maintaining the land, unless the buyer would prefer to take care of it by his or herself, Tavdi said. It is a one-time fee for perpetual ownership. Visitors to Israel can also come and view the agricultural field and the approximate area of their four amot.
Own the Holy Land is endorsed by several prominent Israeli rabbis, including Rabbi Avi Elbaz of French Hill, Jerusalem and Rabbi Eliyahu Merav, a well-known member of the Bratslav Hassidic community in Israel and the former mayor of the Jewish town of Emanuel.
“When one lives abroad, one cannot really feel and touch the land because they are half-way around the world,” said Tavdi. “Here, a person can connect to Eretz Yisroel, have a small piece of the land and fulfill the Biblical commandment of helping the Jewish work the land.”
He continued, “The mission is simple: To help those who love God’s land to establish a physical and spiritual connection to it and merit all the good that comes with that.”
To learn more about the project, visit Own the Holy Land, or call David Tavdi in Jerusalem at +972-54-695-0437, or Zev Zion in New York at 718-877-8944.