Guaranteed Survival

Parshas Vayeitzeh

Our patriarch, Jacob, has a vision of a ladder connecting heaven and earth, with angels going up and down the ladder, and the Divine Presence standing at the top. This vision terrifies him, because according to our Sages, the “angels” going up and down are really representations of the various kingdoms and nations that have tried to destroy the Jewish people.  Jacob then apparently makes a conditional contract with G-d, in effect saying, that “if G-d helps me then I will fulfill obligations to Him.” Some commentaries maintain that Jacob did not make a condition, but rather a request. He asked G-d to guarantee that He will protect and guide the Jewish people unconditionally, (“if G-d will be My L-rd”) even when they have no merit at all.  An example of fulfillment of this Divine promise is found in the book of Kings II:14

“In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty one years.. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin.  He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord G-d of Israel, which He spoke by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet….  For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter; for there was…. not any helper for Israel.. And the Lord did not say that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven; but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.”

We see that even though Jeroboam was an evil king, nevertheless, since G-d saw that the Jewish people were in trouble, without help and without hope, He intervened and saved them because, “The Lord never said that He would blot out the name of Israel… and He saved them.” Rabbi Yechezkel Abramsky, in a speech given in a synagogue in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, told the congregation, that they should have trust in G-d’s unconditional promise to preserve the Jewish people, and to believe that He would indeed save us from our enemies. We must, of course, support the Jews of Israel and the holy soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, in every way we can – politically, economically, and spiritually. We must pray, and learn Torah in their merit, but we should never despair, because G-d has guaranteed our survival.

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