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September 23, 2012 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Haazinu

In this week’s portion, Moses explains that God will punish Israel but eventually redeem it.

In particular, Moses states that God will “abolish their memory from among the children of men; were it not that the wrath of the enemy is gathered… lest the adversary say ‘ Our own hand has prevailed’….(Deut. 33:26-27).

Nachmanides comments that “only this people [Israel] remained devoted to his name… Now, if He were to reconsider and their memory [i.e of Israel] became lost, the nations will forget His wonders and His deeds and they will no longer recount them.  And if a person should mention them, they will think that it was one of the powers of the constellations” that performed all of God’s works.

In other words, God could destroy Israel but doesn’t because only Israel’s devotion causes the rest of the world to be aware of God.   This is a marvelously therapeutic argument for Jews: as much as we suffer, we have a purpose for existing– to tell the rest of the world that God, not the stars, runs the world.

But if Nachmanides was here today I’d ask him: now that Islam is doing the same job far more effectively (measured by numbers of followers) do we still need to exist?  Not a particularly cheery thought going into Yom Kippur.

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