Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tefilah: Hodu 5 [Rav Dovid Lessin]

"זכרו לעולם בריתו, דבר צוה לאלף דור. אשר כרת את אברהם, ושבועתו ליצחק. ויעמידה ליעקב לחק, לישראל ברית עולם."

“Remember His promise forever - the word He commanded for a thousand generations - that He made with Avraham and vowed to Yitzchak.  He then established it for Yaakov as law, for Yisrael an eternal agreement.”

The promise referred to here, according to many mefarshim (see Radak) and as evident from the continuation of Dovid HaMelech’s words, is the Bris Bein Hab’sarim in Parshas Lech Lecha, where Hashem promises Avraham that he will be given Eretz Yisrael.  If so, what does it mean that Hashem “commanded” this to happen?  To whom did Hashem command this, and how can one be commanded to inherit something?

The answer lies in the previous pasuk, where we explained that Hashem governs and guides the entire world.  Hashem commanded the world to unfold in such a way that Eretz Yisrael would belong to Avraham’s children.  He hard-wired it into the fabric of existence and into our national character by reinforcing His promise to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, until a chazaka had formed that made our identity as Jews inseparable from Eretz Yisrael.  As Dovid HaMelech goes on to say, once we sprouted into the nation of “Yisrael,” our bond with Eretz Yisrael became conretized and immutable.  This is what we are implored to remember in this psukim, that Hashem made promises that He intends to keep (see Rashi at the beginning of this week’s parsha, Va’eira), chief among them being His pledge to bring us home to Eretz Yisrael and to watch over us there.

L’refuat Yeshaya ben Chava HaLevi

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