Bechukotay: Punishment - for Whom?

Who gets punished for evil person's sins?

HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l

Judaism HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
INN:Toras Avigdor

And they that hate you will rule over you and you shall flee when none pursue you. And if, until all these, you will not listen to me, and I shall chastise you even more, sevenfold, for your sins. (26:17-18)

Does this (and all the other misfortunes enumerated here) refer solely to the sinners?

Is it possible that in the midst of massacre and famine and epidemic, the righteous would eat and drink and live in peace?

All the calamities which are here foretold are of a public nature and therefore would affect the entire populace. It is thus evident that when the number of sinners is sufficient, the righteous also will be affected. ”When permission is granted to the Destroyer, then he does not distinguish between the righteous and the evil ones" (Bava Kama 60A).

This first stage of these prophecies was fulfilled sporadically already before the reign of King David. ln fulfillment of this prophecy, Israel "served Cushan the Evil for eight years, and the sons of Israel cried out to Hashem" (Shoftim 3:8-9).

Also, ”the sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab for 18 years, and the sons of Israel cried out to Hashem" (ibid. 3:14-15).

Yavin the king of Canaan ”Oppressed with violence the sons of Israel 20 years" (ibid. 4:3).

And Midian oppressed Israel for seven years (ibid. 6: I ), and Ammon severely oppressed all the sons of Israel on the far side of the jordan for 18 years (ibid. 10:8), and later the Plishtim held power over them for 40 years (ibid. 13:1).

Again in our times, the European tragedy was sent because of the sinners, yet the righteous also suffered. In fact, the calamities of all future history, including the Nazi catastrophe, are here foretold.

Instead of merely blaming the gentiles, or of saying, "We do not understand the ways of Hashem," we should go back to the prophecies of the Torah and recognize the reasons for the calamities.

Take this book of the Torah and put it at the side of the Ark of the Covenant of Hashem your G-d, that it may be there for a witness against you" (Dvarim 31:26), so that you shall know that whatever came upon you was done solely by Hashem because of the transgression of His laws, as is foretold in the Torah.