“When all these things – the blessing and the curse that I have set before you – come upon you, you will contemplate [this] among all the nations to which Hashem your G-d has cast you” (Devarim 30:1).
Some seven hundred years ago, Ramban commented that the section which opens with the above verse must be discussing events that will occur some time away in the future, since none of it had yet materialized in his day. Is this still true?
“Hashem will turn your captivity and have compassion upon you, and will return and gather you from all the nations to which Hashem has dispersed you” (v. 3). Anyone who visits modern Israel cannot fail to notice that the Jews that inhabit this country have assembled here literally from the four corners of the earth!
“If your dispersed be at the end of the heavens – from there Hashem will gather you and from there he will fetch you” (v. 4). It was not so long ago that Jews behind the Iron Curtain, for example, were for all intents and purposes “at the farthest reaches of the universe“, cut off from Jewish life and from the free world; and yet hundreds of thousands of them today make their home in Israel.
“Hashem will bring you to the land that your fathers possess, and you will possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you more than your fathers” (v. 5). This perhaps needs no comment. Yet it is worth remembering that when the economies of the entire world collapsed, there was one country that seemed to be unaffected. And today that same country has a steadily rising Jewish birth rate!! Is this not: “He will do you good and multiply you” ?!
Elul is the month which traditionally symbolizes the absolute devotion of Hashem to the Jews and vice versa. Is it not time that we all open our hearts and eyes and see that Hashem indeed does love us and is fulfilling all the promises that He promised us long ago? “Hashem will open your heart… to love Hashem with all your heart and all your soul” (v. 6). Sefer Ha-Ikkarim (Maamar 4, end of chapter 25) explains this verse with reference to one who returns out of duress who needs some extra assistance in order to love Hashem with all his heart. Are we so indifferent to what is happening in front of our eyes, that we need troubles and distress (see Devorim 4:30) to force our hearts back to Hashem?
Let us hope and pray that the time is near when the whole passage will be realized, and all the Torah’s horrible punishments and curses will afflict all our enemies and persecutors (v.7); that the Jewish people will all be in the Land of Israel, listen to Hashem, and do all His commandments (v. 8); that Hashem may again rejoice over us for good, as he rejoiced over our forefathers (v. 9).
And may we all be inscribed in the book of life, in order that we and our children merit “to dwell in the land that Hashem has sworn to our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (v. 19-20) forever and ever.