by HaRav Dov Begon, Head of Yeshivat Machon Meir
“I remember the covenant with their original ancestors.”
At the end of the rebuke in Parashat Bechukotai, G-d promises that despite all the harsh rebuke He has just given Israel, the covenant between Himself and Israel is eternal and will never be nullified: “I will remember My covenant with Jacob as well as My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham. I will remember the land…. I will therefore remember the covenant with their original ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations, so as to be a G-d to them. I am G-d” (Leviticus 26:42-45).
Rashi comments, “Why were the patriarchs mentioned backwards? The point is that the merit from Jacob, youngest of them, should suffice. And if it does not, Isaac is with him, and if the two of them do not suffice, then Abraham is with them, and he suffices.”
And if, G-d forbid, the merit from three patriarchs together does not suffice, then G-d’s covenant with the Land of Israel will suffice. It therefore adds the expression, “I will remember the Land”. (see “Em HaBanim Semeichah”).
G-d forged a covenant with each of the patriarchs and with the land, whose purpose was the revelation of G-d’s glory in His world through His people Israel. G-d chose Eretz Yisrael and the patriarchs and the Jewish People, as it says, “The L-rd chose Zion. He desired it for his habitation. He chose Jacob to be His, and Israel as His prized possession. Surely He will not abandon His people, nor forsake his heritage” (Yehi Kavod).
G-d’s choice of Israel and of Eretz Yisrael is eternal. It will never be violated, for the Eternal One will never lie.
Today, how fortunate we are, and how fortunate is our generation, in which we see with our own eyes how the Jewish People are rising to rebirth. We are the living fulfillment of Leviticus 26:13: “I will break the bands of your yoke, and I will lead you forth with heads held high.”
We and all the world see plainly how G-d keeps His covenant, the covenant with the patriarchs and with the land. And all this after thousands of years of exile, and after the terrible Holocaust, fulfillment of the rebuke from Leviticus 26. Moreover, during the exile two religions rose up – Christianity and Islam – which set out to undermine G-d’s choice of Israel and His covenant with them. The Christians claimed that G-d had forged a new covenant and abandoned the old one with Israel, and the Moslems claimed that their prophet had the last word, culminating everything the other prophets had said before him.
These two religions find it hard to resign themselves to the rebirth of the Jewish People, and they fight us openly and clandestinely. The Muslims fight us openly, by way of repeated wars to destroy the State of Israel. The Christians fight us by stealth and subtlety, hiding their goal with their smooth tongue.
Yet it won’t help either of them. The Jewish People, with whom G-d forged an eternal covenant, will be victorious. The day is not far removed when the Christians and Moslems will know and recognize that their founders bequeathed them falsehood. We will then be the living fulfillment of the words of the Aleinu prayer:
“We therefore hope, L-rd our G-d, soon to behold Your majestic glory, when the abominations shall be removed from the earth and the false gods exterminated. When the world shall be perfected under the reign of the Almighty, and all mankind will call upon Your name, and all the wicked of the earth will be turned to You…. May they all accept the yoke of Your kingdom, and may You reign over them speedily, forever and ever….”
Looking forward to complete salvation.