Israel Forever

For the week ending 3 January 2009 / 7 Tevet 5769

The Promise of Return

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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As anxious as he was to see his son Yosef after 22 years of separation, the Patriarch Yaakov was disturbed by the need to leave Eretz Yisrael for Egypt where his son promised to sustain him and his family. In a night vision G-d assured him that he need not fear going away because he would eventually return.

Although our Sages interpret this as a promise that Yaakov would be buried in Eretz Yisrael, there may be another dimension to this Divine assurance. Everything that happened to the Patriarchs is a symbol of what will transpire with their descendants. If Yaakov was promised that his exit from Eretz Yisrael was only a temporary one, it also hinted that his descendants would eventually leave Egypt as well and come to Eretz Yisrael. Taking this a step further we can suggest that it was a promise that the descendants of Yaakov, dispersed throughout the Diaspora, would eventually return to their Homeland and thrive in Israel forever.

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