This week is
Candelighting 5/30/08 - 8:01 PM
(DST New York City)
Young Israel of Aberdeen
(Numbers; Chapter 1, verse 1) “And G-d spoke to
Moses in the Wilderness (desert) of Sinai”
The Medrash Rabba (1:2) quotes the prophet Jeremiah
(2:31) “O' Generation, you see the word of the Lord.
Was I (G-d) a desert or a land of thick darkness?”
The question is rhetorical. The Jewish nation’s
desert consisted of Manna (heavenly bread), a never
ending well of fresh water, and Clouds of Glory that
protected them from all external elements. Their
clothing never wore out, their feet never grew
tired, and they carried the wealth of Egypt.
Needless to say, this is not a picture of a
Yet, the Children of Israel complained. “Why did you
bring us out of Egypt? To perish in the desert?”
(Numbers 25:5). By complaining of the desert, the
Jewish nation ignored G-d’s daily miracles and
instead focused on a desert that did not affect them
Continuing from the same verse in Jeremiah, G-d then
asks “Why have my people said, 'we have been
separated; we will no longer come to you”? During
the times of the First Temple the jewish people felt
they had gone astray, beyond all boundaries, it
would be impossible to build again the same
relationship with G-d.
Rashi comments on the words “we have been
separated.” The Bnei Israel felt that just as bread
separated from the wall of the oven cannot be
returned to its place, so, too, the Jewish people
felt it was impossible for them to return to G-d.
G-d responds by asking “was I desert?” For forty
years, G-d provide for an ungrateful nation. Bnei
Israel tested G-d numerous times and not once did
G-d withhold the his miracles and his protection.
How can they now say it is impossible to return to
G-d when G-d has never rejected them?
love for the Jewish nation is unconditional. This
true kindness is irrational and goes beyond all
understandings of relationships. No matter how
undeserving we may be or how far we may stray, G-d
will always welcome our sincere return.