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Summing up: Kindness and love in a barren land


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin 

A stirring passage stands out in the Haftarah that we will read on Shabbat. The Prophet Jeremiah says to the Nation of Israel: "I accounted to your favor the kindness of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown."

Is this how God summarizes our forty years in the desert? Just recently we read in the Torah about the sin of the Spies, the sin of Korach, the sin of the Golden Calf, to say nothing of the nation's complaining, demands to satisfy its lust for meat, or its longing to return to Egypt. It transpires that in looking back, God focuses on our kindness and our love, our closeness and connection and enduring commitment to Him, under difficult circumstances, in a barren land.

This is how we look at the connection between the nation of Israel and God, but we may broaden this idea to include many other areas of life. Within our daily routine, challenges of being single or of being married, challenges in our children's education or in own academic pursuits, are likely to lead to frustration, especially when it comes to the failures experienced in trying to reach our goals. But after a number of years, from a bird's eye view, the bigger picture is revealed and we see that, for the most part, things turned out well, with expressions of kindness and of love the most memorable aspects of our success.

Shabbat shalom.


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