Parshas Acharei Mos and Kedoshim discuss the aveiros of immoral relations. In Parshas Acharei Mos it states ותקא הארץ את יושביה and the land will throw up its dwellers. Onkelos translates ותקא as “empty out.” Also it states ולא תקיא הארץ אתכם… כאשר קאה את הגוי אשר לפניכם and the land will not throw you up when you contaminate it, as it threw up the nation that was before you. Here too Onkelos translates the words תקיא and קאה as “empty out.” In Parshas Kedoshim as well it states ולא תקיא אתכם הארץ and the land will not throw you up, and Onkelos again translates תקיא as empty out. What does the Torah mean with the land throwing up and why does Onkelos translate it as “empty out”?
Rashi explains “תקיא, throwing up” as a mashal: the son of a king was fed something detestable that did not sit well in his stomach and he threw it up. So too Eretz Yisrael will not allow for those who sin and transgress Hashem’s will to remain in the land, Hashem will empty the land of those people. Onkelos translates “empty out” which is the nimshal. The Malbim explains that the passuk states about the land that which happens with people. A person who eats something detestable will throw it up; so too the land’s holy spiritual nature will not be able to contain impurity, and will get rid of people who are immoral.
The passuk warns, “Do not contaminate yourselves with all of these, since the nations contaminated themselves with all of these.” The passuk continues, “אשר אני משלח מפניכם that which I sent away from before you.” Onkelos translates משלח as “that which I exiled.” The Malbim explains that this passuk specifically refers to the people of Cana’an, not of Mitzrayim. The land of Mitzrayim is a defiled land which will not be disturbed or ruined with these aveiros, therefore it will not repel people who sin. However, Eretz Cana’an, which is Eretz Yisrael, is a holy land and will become defiled and repel those who sin.
The question arises: why should the land become defiled with immoral relations?
The Ramban answers that Hashem created each nation and their residence with a star and a mazal in the heavens to rule over them. The Bnei Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael are different than the rest of the nations. Hashem cherished us and separated us from all the nations to give us His special land, that He should be to us for a G-d and we should be to Him for a nation. Hashem Himself rules over His special nation in His special land without intermediaries of angels. He sanctified us by commanding us to keep the mitzvos of arayos, and gave strict punishments for those who transgress them. Therefore if we do not keep to the proper level of holiness, the holy land will repel us and distance us from Hashem. Immoral relations will defile His land and cause the land to repel its dwellers, in order to distance us from Hashem.
May we recognize the unique kedusha in Eretz Yisrael and the special closeness we have with Hashem!