Shabbat Va'etchanan - Nachamu: Hope brings consolation

The Jewish people always believe that there are better days ahead.

Rabbi Berel Wein,

Judaism "הלפיד" בוער, 2015.
"הלפיד" בוער, 2015.

Moshe’s final heartfelt appeal to the merciful God of Israel is somehow refused and of no avail. He will not be allowed to enter the Land of Israel. One can only feel the bitter disappointment and frustration that he must have experienced at this response. Nevertheless, he continues in his role as teacher and leader of Israel even until his final day. 

The balance of this book of Dvarim is taught to his people and to all eternity after he is aware that the greatest ambition of his life – entering the Land of Israel – has been denied to him. Though he will refer to this matter a number of times throughout this book of Dvarim, there is no further evidence of any resentment on his part to the will of God, as expressed to him in the Torah reading of this week. 

Even though he was apparently answered in the negative this did not affect his attitude towards the Jewish people, let alone the God of Israel. Apparently he is comforted by the fact that he was answered and that all doubts were removed as to his status and future. The rabbis of the Talmud have taught us that there is no greater satisfaction then when all doubts regarding a given situation are removed. Even a negative response contains within it a certain measure of satisfaction at the resolution of a doubtful issue. 

Moshe will be joined to his people for all eternity even though he will not be privileged to enter the Land of Israel with them. And this half-full glass should suffice to bring him comfort and contentment.

On the surface there appears to be relatively few times in our painful history of exile and persecution when comfort and contentment are afforded to us. We have to make do with glasses that are only half-full, physically speaking. However, the Jewish people always had an overflowing cup when it came to spirit, holiness and Torah scholarship. This was always our vessel of hope and optimism. 

The Jewish people always believe that there are better days ahead. That belief alone sustains us through the darkest of times and the most perilous of situations. Hope for the future is the greatest tool for consolation in the present. Our generation has lived to see a physical and spiritual rebirth of the Jewish people, unimagined a century ago. 

But there were people then who dreamt that such a rebirth was not only possible but that it actually would take place. It was this belief, illogical as it appeared at that time, which was the source of comfort and consolation to a stricken people. It is only when grief and disappointment create a lack of hope and commitment to a better future that any meaningful form of consolation and healing is prevented.

These weeks of consolation and preparation for the great days that soon will be upon us should strengthen us in our resolve and spirit…. and will truly remain a great source of consolation for Israel and the Jewish people.