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  KD MAGAZINE!                    ב"ה      
 
 
     
 
This week is Parshat Bamidbar
Candelighting 5/30/08 - 8:01 PM (DST New York City)

Unconditional Love
Rabbi Chaim Lobel
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 suffering people.
 
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 at all.
 
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?
 
G-d’s 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.

***

Rabbi Chaim Lobel is the Rabbi of Young Israel of Aberdeen, Congregation Bet Tefilah, Aberdeen, NJ. http://www.yiaberdeen.com/index.html


 
   
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