A Hidden Message in Destruction by Tzvi Silver


In Parshat BeChukotai, the Pasuk states, “Veaf Gam Zot BiHyotam BeEretz Oyveihem Lo Meastim VeLo Ge’altim LeChalotam LeHafeir Briti Itam Ki Ani Hashem Elokeihem“ “even when they will be in the land of their enemies, I will not despise them, nor will I place horrors on them to destroy them, and break My treaty with them, for I am Hashem their G-d” (VaYikra 26:44). Why shouldn’t G-d destroy us if we do not follow His laws and if we break our promises? Rashi answers by offering another interpretation to the Pasuk. He says that this Pasuk is informing us that G-d will punish us if we break His laws, but won’t completely wipe out the Jewish people, which would invalidate His treaty with us.

The Meshech Chochmah offers an alternate interpretation. He writes that since Bnei Yisrael were exiled from Eretz Yisrael, their existence has been a miracle. A small nation, hated by most of the world, has meandered from place to place and lived all over. When the nation first arrived in a country, it is blessed with approximately 200 years of peace. Afterwards, however, the peaceful times change to difficult times. A “great storm” breaks, spreading destruction throughout the Jewish people, after which only a fraction of the original amount of Jews escape to distant places where they unite, learn, and pray. After a while, they forget that they are in a foreign country, and they stop looking forward to the day when they will be redeemed and returned to Eretz Yisrael.

From this, the Meshech Chochmah teaches that the Pasuk tells us that Hashem will not completely wipe us out because it would go against His treaty; rather, if He does not send these terrible punishment, Bnei Yisrael will no longer exist due to assimilation. The Meshech Chochmah explains that Hashem had to wipe out some of the nation and send the nation to foreign land in order to relay His message. He wants us to remain devoted Jews, and once we become comfortable in a foreign land for too long, it will be difficult to refrain from assimilation. We should merit that Mashiach will come without another repeat of this cycle.

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