"In the Jubilee year every man shall return to his hereditary land [in Hebrew, "achuzato]." (Lev. 25:13)

The nature of a person is to cling to and identify with his possessions. Land gives one a greater sense of ownership than any other possession.

That explains what the Talmud (Pesachim 8b) states: A person who has no land is exempt from presenting himself before G‑d in the Holy Temple during the three pilgrimage festivals and from the obligatory sacrifice, as it is written, '…and no one will desire your land.' (Ex. 34:24)

The Torah wants a Jew to cleave to the source of his life and spiritual vitality during the festival. That is why he must make a distinct and clear-cut statement to this end by leaving his home and setting out on the road to Jerusalem.

Yet only one who possesses a hereditary portion of property in the Land of Israel is required to make the journey. For his heart would bid him to stay home to care for and safeguard his land, and not make the ascent to Jerusalem.

The Torah therefore claims a Jew's loyalty by bidding him to leave his land for two weeks and make the pilgrimage.

One who for some reason has no land can make the pilgrimage and cling to the source of his life and spiritual vitality even without undertaking the actual journey. For his heart is loyal only to the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.

[Based on Chiddushei HaRim al HaTorah , p.180
First published in B'Ohel Hatzadikim, Behar 5760; www.nishmas.org]