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November 22, 2014 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Vayetse

In this coming week’s portion, yet another patriarch gets a Divine promise that “thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth” (Gen. 28:14).   This might be interpreted as another rosy promise, but Sforno has a different spin, one more faithful to Jewish history.  He writes that “Only after they seed has reached the lowest depths of misery and degradation and is treated like the very dust of the earth, will salvation come to them.”

But what sort of salvation is he talking about?  Jews have known degradation, but it is followed not by long-term salvation, but by a short-term fix followed by more degradation.

First there was the exile in Egypt (degradation) followed by the Jewish state(s) in Israel (short-term fix, with intervals of good and bad times throughout the 700 or so years of Jewish sovereignty) followed by…

the collapse of the Jewish states and First Temple (degradation) followed by the Second Temple (short-term fix) followed by…

the Second Temple collapse and related exile, as well as the mini-genocide after the Bar Kochba revolt (degradation) followed by a few centuries of peace here and there, but then followed by…

Christian and Muslim oppression, culminating in the ultimate degradation of the Holocaust.  This was followed by the state of Israel, which may have seemed to salvation to some for a few decades.  But the gift-wrapped package of Israel came with some nasty surprises inside, which seemed to have gotten worse in 2014: not just attacks by Arabs (each more outrageous than the last) but now attacks by the Arab diaspora against Jews in Europe.

Where’s the salvation?

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One Comment

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  1. Steven in uk / Nov 23 2014 2:12 am

    Sadly serious study of history, makes it Difficult to bealive in salvation from random political events.

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