This past Shabbat we read the sedra Behukotai. The Torah presents here some frightening warnings, all based on the idea that if we treat events in Hashem’s world as happenstance or mere accidents (‘keri’ from ‘mikreh’ an incident), then all sorts of horrible things may happen. Why? Because Hashem will then give us what we ask for! ‘If you behave with Me as if all is incidental, then I will indeed make things seem that way to you.’ The worst ‘punishments’ involve losing our sense that this is G-d’s world, losing our sense that He is indeed in control.

In that context there is a particularly disturbing warning that the People of Israel may be exiled, and the Land of Israel become so desolate that our enemies will be astonished by the extent of destruction. Ramban tells us that this is, in fact, a blessing! The Land of Israel will wait for us, offering no support to foreign nations in the intervening years. The g’mara tells us that the most revealed sign of impending redemption/geulah is that the Land of Israel will again give forth it’s produce in preparation and foundation for the return of the Jewish people. All we have to do is look around the Land of Israel, and be very hopeful and determined to cooperate with Hashem in furthering the geulah/redemption of the Jewish people.

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