Kingdom’s Mystery Repeats Itself
“Anonymous saints are a source of pleasure to God, but society needs role models whose virtuous lives escape anonymity and are conspicuous, that we might learn from them [Meir Yehiel of Ostrowiec].
“Cyrus the Mede conquered Babylon and allowed subject populations, including the Judeans, to renew their heritages (538 B.C.E.). Because Zion soon will be rebuilt and repopulated, and because the time of shame and desolation has passed, the prophet urges a personified Zion to rejoice.
“Zion is promised now the end of divine punishment.
“The prophet begins by comparing the exilic loss and national restoration of Israel with changes in marriage. God will take back fair Zion just as a once angry husband will restore the bride of his youth. Covenant renewal.
God is presented as a faithful bridegroom who is able to overcome betrayal and anger.
“Through the analogy of the Flood, we sense how deeply the Exile was felt to be a rupture in the divine order; and through the analogy of nature, we learn how disconsolate and without hope the people of Zion had been.
“Tokhebah – Reproach
“Laban the Aramean sought to destroy my father.”
Deut. 26:5-10 “The Torah prescribes the precise words of a prayer rather than leaving it to the inspiration of the worshipper’s own heart.
“One of the advantages of a set liturgy, in addition to uniting all Jews across all barriers of time and space, is that it reminds us of themes we might not think of on our own.
“The Torah’s guidance rather than our heart’s is necessary for making or remaking our hearts worthy and full of love and grace.
“The worshipers address God from their hometowns; either at their home; at wherever they deposit the tithe, or at some local place of prayer.
“The laws in all their detail are now concluded. This passage sums up Israel’s duty to obey them wholeheartedly and underscores the fact that, beyond being mere items of a legal code, they are the very basis of the relationship that God and the people Israel have established. It not only is an emotional or spiritual association but also entails mutual obligations with consequences.
“In short, it requires action as well as intellectual assent.
“One such instance is the obligation to perfect Israelite society by minimizing poverty.” ~Etz Hayim Commentary.
Pride and obstinacy lead one who is poor to become poorer still.
Deut. 26:10-19 “Mutual commitments make Israel a ‘holy people’; Sacrosanct; inviolable; a nation that others harm at their peril.
“Unhewn stones ~ Eloquent; polished prayer is like hewn polished stone. Here the ‘unhewn’ [literally ‘whole’] stones represent the inarticulate yearning of a sincere heart-which God prefers [Buber].
“Sometimes God intends to bless us, but we are so busy running after success that the blessings cannot catch up to us. Instead of chasing after fulfillment, perhaps we need to slow down and let the good things of life catch up to us (Ha amek Davar).
~Etz Hayim Commentary.
While Americans were filling up the cup of their fathers, glutting on the world’s misery and making miserable all of America and especially King David’s line and people, they were cheating themselves and their children of the glory of God and His holiness by denying their obligations and sacred duty to uphold the same people and make them the Head of the nations.
Instead employing the very same blasphemous kings the book of Revelations condemns as the most wicked of men on earth; while making deals, pacts and agreements with foreign gods and people that would, did and do bring us nothing but shame and want. Diplomacy instigated only after all harm is done and deals sealed in iniquity is not but betrayal of all oaths and allegiances sacred and holy before God; denial of circumstances become so unbearable that no one may lift up his head, nor bow it in humble penitence and expect pardon from an offended God.
Yet, to this unworthy mob of delusional people God has stretched out His arm and promised mercy and forgiveness to those who will turn to Him in their hearts with all their mind, might and strength and serve Him for the remainder of their days in probation, which is freedom won.
We The People did it before, We The People can do it again.
Deut. 28:14 “The promises end with a final reminder that they depend upon a key condition, that the Israelites shun all other gods.
“Tokhebah – Reproach
Deut. 29:11 Brit v’alah, literally, “a covenant guarded by imprecations.” The word alah means “curse” or “imprecation” alluding to the curses detailed in chapter 28.
“Vs. 17 Advocates of idolatry are to be punished whether they are individuals, males or females, relatives or entire cities; a person, clan; or tribe whose delusions would have bitter, deadly consequences.
“Shikkutzim ~ detestable things…idols, etc.
Consequence of Judah’s apostasy-reliance on Egypt.
“The final reversal of history, the Israelites will be returned to Egypt.
“’All of you;’ The whole of the community is greater than the sum of its parts. Each individual Israelite may be flawed and imperfect, but when all join together, the strengths and good qualities of each are reinforced and magnified. This also teaches that no one should say, ‘It is not my responsibility.’ Everyone must do his or her share (Barukh of Medzibozh).
‘Those who are not with us here this day’;
Jews who reject the covenant but are still claimed by it and included in it.
~Etz Hayim Commentary.
It is better to be caught before you are red-handed than after.
Consequence of moist and dry alike.
Aftermath is the only math that really counts.
“God will sweep away everything that belongs to the sinner or to the entire nation.
“Nothing that one does will assuage God’s anger [at this point]. 29:19
“Entire generations and foreigners will ask what caused the disaster and will answer themselves: It is because Israel violated the terms of God’s covenant. Foreign nations who would admire Israel’s wisdom if it obeys God’s laws would recognize its folly if it disobeys.
“As a severe punishment, conquerors sometimes spread salt upon the soil of conquered lands to render them infertile. An Aramaic treaty warns that the gods will sow salt on the city that violates its terms. Apparently, the affect of sulfur was also known in antiquity. “Excessive amounts make soil too acidic for cultivation.
“Vs. 28 Sins committed secretly are known to God, and he will punish them.
“Possibility of Restoration
“…the stocktaking necessary for their restoration should include the recollection that while disobedience led to disaster; obedience led to success.
“Deut. 30:5 This promise is perhaps intended to encourage a future generation to return to God, assuring it that the nation’s sinful past will not be held against it in any way. God Himself will remove the psychological impediments to whole hearted devotion.
“‘Take one step toward me, and then another, and I will meet you more than half way.’
“The blessing within the curse; there is no calamity that does not have some kernel of blessing concealed within it, even if it only motivates us to seek the cause of the calamity and prevent it from recurring.
“The first stage is a realization that our behavior is wrong and requires a change of direction. This is ‘turning toward’ God. The second stage is coming into the presence of God as a result of one’s new way of life, ‘returning to’ God (Malbim).
“One who regards others compassionately will not sin against them. One who comes to love God, reciprocating God’s love, will not sin against God.
“Deut. 30 vs. 12, 13 It is meant for everyone, not only for people willing to renounce earthly pleasures. It applies to our own place and time, not only to people living in other countries, in other eras.
[Lechiam, lechaim, choose life!] Vs. 19. “The sages derive from this the obligation of a parent to teach a child a trade.
In the End, G-d’s in charge.
“Deut. 31:3 Moses is voicing a fundamental biblical concept; God, not Joshua will lead the Israelites across the Jordan. God’s role, not Joshua’s will be the decisive factor in the conquest of the Land.
~Etz Hayim Commentary.
And again I say, Rejoice! Shabbat shalom.