The passuk states that the Tzidonim called Chermon, “Searyone.” The Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel translates this as “the mountain which had fruits that would fall down” due to their abundance. The trees had so much fruit that they couldn’t hold their load, and fruits would fall off. The passuk continues “and the Emori’im called it Sinear” which Onkelos translates as “the mountain of snow.” Rashi explains sinear means snow in a number of languages. The Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel adds that during both the winter and summer it did not stop having snow; it was unique that it had snow throughout the entire year. The Ramban says that Mt. Chermon was very cold and therefore did not have people living there. Chermon is from the lashon cheirem, as a place which was banned. The Maharsha says even the tall mountains like Sinear, which had snow peaks and where people didn’t live, were cherished by the nations.
In the following Parsha it states “ועד הר שיאן הוא חרמון and until Mt. Si’own, it is Chermon.” Rashi explains that this place had four names: 1-Chermone, 2-Searyone, 3-Si’own, and 4-Sinear. Rashi is bothered, what is the significance to know that it was called by four different names? Rashi answers the Torah is teaching the praise of Eretz Yisrael, there were four different kingdoms who were glorified with the mountains of Eretz Yisrael. Each king said to another “It shall be called by my name,” and the other said, “It shall be called by my name.”
The Malbim says that Mt. Chermon was split into two portions, one was called Searyone and the other was called Sinear. The Tzidonim thought that Searyone was the best portion of the mountain whereas the Emori’im thought that Sinear was the best portion of the mountain. Because the kings cherished Eretz Yisrael they argued as to whom had the best portion on Mt. Chermon. The Tanchuma brings b’shem Rebbi Parnuch: any king in chutz la’aretz who did not acquire one city or field in Eretz Yisrael was not called a king. We see that Eretz Yisrael found grace in the eyes of the nations. This is as it statesארץ חמדה נחלת צבי צבאות גוים a desired land, a beautiful inheritance of the myriads of the nations.
The Gemara brings the Amora’im had unique chiba, love, towards Eretz Yisrael. Rebbi Abba would kiss the stones of Akko which the Pnei Moshe explains was the border of Eretz Yisrael, as he also cherished the border. Rashi brings that Rebbi Chanina would fix the potholes and bumps because he cherished Eretz Yisrael. He specifically went around fixing the roads to make sure that the roads of Eretz Yisrael would not get a bad name. Tosfos brings b’shem the Tanchuma: when Rebbi Chanina would want to know whether he had yet entered Eretz Yisrael he would weigh the stones to know this. If he would find the stones to be light, he knew he hadn’t yet reached Eretz Yisrael. Once he weighed the stones and found them to be heavy he said, “These must be the stones of Eretz Yisrael, I have reached Eretz Yisrael.” He would kiss the stones and say the passuk כי רצו עבדיך את אבניה. The Yerushalmi brings that Rebbi Chiya rolled around on the land of Teveria, which the Pnei Moshe explains was because he cherished the holiness of the land of Eretz Yisrael. We see even the most physical things of Eretz Yisrael were holy and cherished, certainly the ruchniyus is unique and special!
May we recognize and feel the חיבת הארץ and may Hashem return us to Eretz Yisrael with the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdosh bimheira v’yameinu amen.