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  • Writer's pictureTamir Cohen

Shiriyah Dvar Torah Winner- Day 1: Kibbutz Galuyot

The Torah, near the end of the book of Devarim, describes the process of our redemption, which is destined to occur in future times. Hashem tells the Jewish nation about the struggles they are destined to face, as well as the eventual salvation that awaits them. This concept is commonly known as "kibbutz galuyot," the notion that one day, we will return to the Holy Land, the land that was promised to us, the land of Israel. This belief has been a core theme of religious Judaism since the destruction of the Second Temple, even materializing itself various times over the course of our history.

That being said, if we look into the language used in those verses, we can see something very interesting. As the Torah says,

"וְשָׁ֨ב יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ אֶת־שְׁבוּתְךָ֖ וְרִחֲמֶ֑ךָ וְשָׁ֗ב וְקִבֶּצְךָ֙ מִכָּל־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֧ר הֱפִֽיצְךָ֛ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ שָֽׁמָּה׃"

“then your God, Hashem, will restore your fortunes and take you back with love. And he will gather you together again from all the nations where your God Hashem has scattered you."

Interestingly, this passuk seemingly contains a grammatical mistake. It really should have said, "וְהֵשִׁ֤יב יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ אֶת־שְׁבוּתְךָ֖," meaning that Hashem will return us from exile. However, it instead uses the word וְשָׁ֨ב, meaning that Hashem himself will come out of exile. How is that possible? Aren't we the ones in exile?

Rashi explains on the spot that this "mistake" is not a mistake at all, but rather the key to a very important lesson. Hashem is telling us that we are his nation, his children, and his es chosen people. As such, when we are happy, he is happy. When we are sad, he is sad (on a metaphorical level, of course). And, when we are sent into exile, Hashem's shechinah goes there with us. For this reason, Hashem explains that only when we return to the land of Israel will his shechinah, or presence, do so. During times of hardship, it's easy to stop seeing Hashem's presence in our lives, but we must constantly remind ourselves that he's always been with us, he is still with us, and he will always continue to be with us. Whether we're talking about our exile on a national level or even the individual "exiles," or challenges that we face, Hashem will never leave our side.

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