When Am Yisroel left Mitzraim (in Hebrew the word connotes not only a physical place, Egypt, but also the concept of restriction, suppression), it was on a promise. G‑d was to give them a land “flowing with milk and honey”, a land that was “good” and upon which G‑d’s eyes would always be focused. This land was then called Eretz Canaan (land of Canaan), to be changed by command of G‑d to Eretz Yisroel (the land of Israel).

Eretz Canaan was inhabited by seven nations.

There is a great secret contained in Torah that although both lands occupied the same space, they are entirely different. Eretz Canaan and Eretz Yisroel signify totally different spiritual conditions. Eretz Yisroel is not only a physical place; it is a spiritual state of mind and being.

Am Yisroel is enjoined to enter the land of Canaan, conquer the seven nations and occupy the land transforming it to Eretz Yisroel. Chassidus1 explains that this is not only a military and social command, but one to transform physical space into a new spiritual truth.

We will see later that the soul is made up of ten levels2 — three of intellect and seven of emotions. Chassidus teaches,3 as we will also see later, that in a spiritually mature and healthy person, intellect rules emotion. In a stunted and poorly developed person, emotion directs intellect.

The direction to Am Yisroel to conquer the seven nations thus converting Eretz Canaan to Eretz Yisroel is deep code. The seven nations correspond the seven emotions. A Jew is commanded to conquer emotion and dominate it by intellect.

A spiritual truth is that one’s internal environment is the space which is inhabited by one’s emotions. It therefore follows that by learning to exercise control over emotion one is actually restructuring his personal spiritual location. The emotional state in which a man lives is actually dependent on the man himself!

Whether a Jew decides to inhabit Eretz Canaan, subservient to the seven host nations, (using our new code vocabulary — his seven emotions ruling his intellect) or whether he particularly inhabits Eretz Yisroel (using our new code vocabulary — his seven emotions subservient to his intellect) ultimately becomes the choice of each and every Jew.

As we travel further together, it will become clear that in order to have a home which is healthy, where the air is free of spiritual virus, it is critical that that home be Eretz Yisroel and not merely Eretz Canaan.