|The Difference Between Inheritance And Heritage|
FEATURED PHOTO: A beautiful sunrise over Masada, and the ruins of King Herod’s palace (Shutterstock).
|I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, and I will give it to you for a possession, I Hashem|
Exodus 6:8 (The Israel Bible™)
וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתִי אֶת־יָדִי לָתֵת אֹתָהּ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב וְנָתַתִּי אֹתָהּ לָכֶם מוֹרָשָׁה אֲנִי יְהֹוָה
Hear the verse in Hebrew
v’-hay-vay-TEE et-KHEM el ha-A-retz a-SHER na-SA-tee et ya-DEE la-TAYT o-TAH l’-av-ra-HAM l’-yitz-KHAK ul-ya-a-KOV v’-na-ta-TEE o-TAH la-KHEM mo-ra-SHAH a-NEE a-do-NAI
Biblical Hebrew has two words relating to bequests: Morasha, and yerusha. Morasha, the Hebrew word for ‘possession’ in this verse, is generally translated as ‘heritage,’ while yerusha is translated as ‘inheritance.’ The use of different words suggests a difference in meaning.
An inheritance is simply passed on from the previous generation, while a heritage requires the receiver’s active involvement and participation, like a family business which the founder’s children must work hard to maintain. An inheritance may be squandered; a heritage must be preserved intact for the next generation.
This certainly explains why the verse uses the word morasha with regard to the Land of Israel. The land requires our active involvement to maintain and preserve it, and it is not ours to squander.
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