<i>Nitzavim</I>: Ingathering and Redemption

Not only restoration.

Aloh Naaleh,

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Arutz 7

The four verses cited above are unique.
"And it shall come to pass when all these things have come upon you, the blessings and the curses which I have set before you, and you will call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you. (30:1) And you will return to the lord your God and hearken to His voice according to all that I commanded you this day, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul. (30:2) Then the Lord your God will turn your captivity and have compassion upon you and will return and gather you from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. (30:3) ...And the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed and you will possess it, and He will do you good and multiply you more than your fathers." (30:5)

The four verses cited above are unique in that they are the only clear and full prediction to be found in the Chumash of what will ultimately happen to the people of Israel after they are driven into exile. The Netziv calls this section parshat HaGeulah, for it does not only promise a redemption (preceded by a return to God), but provides us with the "order of the redemption" with its several phases, strikingly similar to the way it has actually happened in our own day. In the apparent redundancies of the text we can see reflections of the different "ingatherings"; sometimes in "waves" as entire communities, sometimes individual families, sometimes from "nations" with large concentration of Jews, sometimes from "peoples in the uttermost parts of heaven." (30:4)

The "ingathering" will start as a response by God to a "calling to mind" by the people in exile of their true condition, which is one of "blessings and curses." That is, they will reflect upon their rich heritage of the Torah way of life and learning ("blessings") as well as the millennia of hatred and persecution ("curses"). The people will finally realize that both constitute compelling arguments that we must strive to return to our land and build a society that will be a Kiddush HaShem. The early "return" will already include a realization of the crucial need for an effective educational system of Torah transmission. Hence, "you and your children." (30:2)

The vision here of the redemption is not only that of a "restoration" - i.e., that HaShem will give us back our land, our Temple, our leadership, our security - but that it will be "more than your fathers." (30:5) There will be such radical advances in every area of human physical and spiritual existence that it will be seen as Divinely inspired: "And the Lord
You will attain the fullest experience of human living.
your God will circumcise your heart... that you may live." (30:6) This, says the Netziv, means that you will attain the fullest experience of human living, oneg ve chiyat hanefesh that is possible.

However, as Rashi (30:3) observes, "So difficult is the ingathering of the exiles that it seems as if the Almighty Himself must take hold of each man and take him out of his place."

Is this what some of you still sitting in exile are waiting for?
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Rabbi Shubert Spero writes from Jerusalem.

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.




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