he Melody of Return
Aug 20, 2023
רָצִ֣יתָ יְהֹוָ֣ה אַרְצֶ֑ךָ שַׁ֝֗בְתָּ (שבות) [שְׁבִ֣ית] יַעֲקֹֽב׃
‘Hashem, You will favor Your land, restore Yaakov's fortune’ (Psalms 85:2)
I once went out to the woods to pray. After sitting in silence for over an hour, I heard a faint song. It was the land calling out to me in joy, celebrating the return of the Jews.
To the average person working on accepted rules of history and human development, the return of the Jews to the land of Israel is absurd. No nation has ever been exiled and returned to its land, reestablishing its independence there. And it is clear that this cannot be done through military strength or political intrigue. But the nation of the Jews has done this, not once, but twice!
So what is the secret of Israel’s return?
The psalmist then explains how this is done:
You will forgive Your people’s iniquity, pardon all their sins; selah. You will withdraw all Your anger, turn away from Your rage. Turn again, O Hashem, our helper, revoke Your displeasure with us. Psalm 85:3-5
The psalmist continues, using the word ‘faithful’ three times, once to describe a character trait of the Jews (His faithful ones”, verse 9), another time to describe a character trait of God (verse 8), and a final time as meeting truth (verse 11).
It is this mutual faithfulness that ensures the return from exile.
The land sat desolate for 2,000 years. Now, Israel is a paradise. But it is not simply due to Zionists and their hard work. The land was waiting for the return of the Jews. The Jews could not flourish anywhere else and the land could not flourish with any other nation. A covenant is a bond between two parties. The land is the manifestation of God’s relationship with the Jews. Our presence in the land is the result of our relationship with God. The condition of the land is a reflection of the state of this relationship.
God is eternally faithful to the Jews and the Jews are faithful to Him. This faithfulness is what ended both previous exiles and will bring the final end of the current exile as well.