Parashas Bechukosai, Part 3

Near the end of the litany of curses in this week’s parashah, we find a verse of consolation (Vayikra 26:44): “But despite all this, though they are in the land of their enemies, I have not rejected them and I have not abhorred them to destroy them, to break My covenant with them, for I am Hashem their God.” The Midrash elaborates (Esther Rabbah Pesichasa 4):
 I have not rejected them – in the days of Vespasian. And I have not abhorred them – in the days of Trajan. To destroy them – in the days of Haman. To break My covenant with them – in the days of the Romans. For I am Hashem their God – in the days of Gog and Magog.
Hashem does not allow any nation to destroy us. He does not abandon us. On the contrary, in His great kindness, He continues to hold onto us. This is a sign that eventually He will redeem us.
The Maggid brings out the idea with a beautiful analogy. Suppose a person has a large collection of possessions. An item he uses all the time he will keep in a secure place where no stranger will get hold of it, while an item he has no use for, he will toss away for anyone to take. Between these two extremes there is a middle case – an item that the person is not using now and does not keep so well secured, but is still particular about. If someone else comes and tries to take the item for himself, the owner rails at him and stops him from taking it. This shows that the owner plans to use the item later, when it is suitable for his use.
It is the same with us. In our exile we are like an item that has been cast aside, apparently unwanted. But when some gentile nation tries to wipe us off the face of the earth, Hashem rails at them, and does not abandon us to them. This is a sign that He will yet redeem us when the proper time comes, and we will become His prized estate.
This is what the Midrash in Esther Rabbah is saying. Even though we are in the land of our enemies, and we appear to have been abandoned, Hashem has not really cast us off. He neither rejected us in the days of Vespasian nor allowed us to be destroyed in the days of Haman. This is a definitive sign that He is Hashem our God, Who will redeem us in the future, following the war of Gog and Magog. Otherwise, He would have abandoned us already to the hands of the gentile nations who arose to destroy us.
A Midrash in Eichah Rabbah brings out the same idea. In Megillas Eichah, Yirmiyahu declares (Yirmiyahu 3:23): “They come anew each morning – Your faithfulness is very great.” On this the Midrash comments (Eichah Rabbah 3:20): “From the fact that You renew [Your relationship with] us at the dawning of each major kingdom, we know that You can be firmly counted on to redeem us.”
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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