03 August 2018

Forty Years in the Wilderness - A Time of Testing

22 Menachem Av 5778
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Eikev

Moshe Rabeinu continues to speak to Am Yisrael, 3290 years down the road...
The entire commandment that I command you today you shall observe to perform, so that you may live and increase, and come and possess the Land that Hashem swore to your forefathers. You shall remember the entire road on which Hashem, your God, led you these forty years in the Wilderness so as to afflict you, to test you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would observe His commandments or not. He afflicted you and let you hunger, then He fed you the manna that you did not know, nor did your forefathers know, in order to make you know that not by bread alone does man live, rather by everything that emanates from the mouth of God does man live.  (Devarim 8.1-3)
He might just as well say to us today, "Your God has been leading you these 70 years of the State of Israel 'so as to afflict you, to test you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would observe His commandments or not.' "

We have been through a time of testing and it's not over yet, but I am very heartened by the recent response. I think Moshe Rabeinu would have been pleased. Today as well, we are afflicted with hunger - a hunger for real Torah leadership and a hunger for a life of authentic Judaism in a society and a culture stamped kosher by Hashem

But, here is the promise. We need only recognize the hunger and know to Whom to turn to be fed and we will have our hunger satisfied in a way that we could not possibly have anticipated or imagined. Who in the desert could have conceived of manna falling from the sky?

As the haftarah for Eikev recounts...
And Zion said, "Hashem has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me." [And Hashem answered], Can a woman forget her nursing infant, withdraw from feeling compassion for the child of her womb? Even if she could, still I will not forget you....
Your children shall hasten to repent, [every real Jew will repent and be saved] but your spoilers [Erev Rav] and your destroyers [Eisav and Yishmael] must depart from you.
HKB"H has not forgotten us, He wants to be with us even more than we desire to be with Him. What we are experiencing now is the prelude to the best of times, the clarification which proves which group each person belongs with when the righteous are separated out for redemption.