Ezekiel – Chapter 45

Re-Dividing the Land

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

In Messianic times, the land will be re-divided among the Tribes, as it was in the time of Joshua. A portion must be set aside for the Temple mount and the surrounding area. Everything within this area of 25,000 x 10,000 rods is considered holy. Aside from the Temple and its open area, this portion of land would include the houses of the kohanim and the land of the Levites, as well as an area inhabited by Israelites. After that, the land to the east and the west belonged to the monarch. This is his land and rulers will have no more reason to try to conscript land from their subjects. (Remember Ahab and the vineyard of Naboth in I Kings 21?) G-d wants the rulers to give up violence and oppression in favor of righteousness and justice, not evicting people from their rightful property.

G-d enjoins the people to have only honest and accurate weights and measures, so that they will not cheat in business. (G-d defines these weights and measures: one-tenth of a homer is an ephah, a shekel is 20 gerah, etc. We’ll just take that part as a given.) The Jews are told to bring tithes of certain quantities of wheat, barley and oil, and sheep for offerings. The people will bring this offering on behalf of themselves and the ruler. The obligation of the sacrifices on Sabbath and holidays falls on the ruler. (Rashi again says that this refers to the High Priest, although he acknowledges the opinion that it refers to the king.)

G-d says that on the first day of the month of Nisan, they should dedicate the altar of the third Temple by offering a bull, whose blood the High Priest should place on the corners of the altar and the doorposts. They should do this for seven days in order to cleanse the Temple of the deeds of mistaken and simple-minded people. On the fourteenth day of the month, they will begin Passover, to last for seven days. The ruler will bring a bull on that day, corresponding to the calf that Aaron brought as part of his inauguration. For seven days, he shall offer daily bulls and rams as a burnt offering and goats as a sin offering, along with the usual meal and oil. He shall do likewise on the holiday of Succos.

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