טובה הארץ מאד מאד (שלח יד:ז)
The land is very, very good.
Maran, Reb Aharon of Belz zt’’l used to eat his daily meal late at night, which also included a fruit compote composed of fruits from Eretz Yisroel. From time to time, Maran asked his meshamash (personal assistant) Reb Yitzchok Landau if he was sure the fruits were from Eretz Yisroel. (For those days, obtaining fruits grown in Eretz Yisroel was hard). And he answered that the fruit was from Eretz Yisroel.
Once, in the middle of eating the compote, Maran spoke as to himself, within earshot of the meshamesh R’ Yitzchak, saying, “What significance is it to me if I don’t know if I’m eating fruits from Eretz Yisroel, though you can’t compare, but the Ari Hakadosh zt’’l was stringent to eat fruits from Eretz Yisroel every day.”
One day, R’ Yitzchak obtained an apple he knew was grown in Eretz Yisroel. He was excited to cook the apple compote and served it to Maran. When Maran asked if it was a fruit from Eretz Yisroel, R’ Yitzchak confidently answered, “Yes! Without a doubt!”
Maran asked him, “How are you sure it’s from Eretz Yisroel?” R’ Yitzchak replied, “Because you can tell on the apples that they’re small and green.” (In those days, growth was stunted in Eretz Yisroel, and you couldn’t get such nice fruits as today.)
Maran Reb Aharon zt”l was startled and agitated by his response. Maran couldn’t bear hearing unfavorable words about Eretz Yisroel’s fruits, and he reproached R’ Yitzchak, saying, “How do you dare speak badly on fruits from Eretz Yisroel?” Maran told R’ Yitzchak to repeat together with him three times, “It’s big, it’s nice, it’s red, and it’s sweet.” And only after that Maran was able to calm down.Filed under Parshas Shlach | Rabbi Aharon of Belz