In Order to Know God, We Must Walk in Godís Ways

In the Haftorah for Tisha BíAv we read from the book of Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) Chapters 8-9, about why we lost the Land of Israel when the First Beit HaMikdash was destroyed. The reason was that God gave us laws that the Jewish people transgressed.


Yirmiyahu, Chapter 9 opens with a description of the Jewish people as adulterers and a company of traitors: ďThey have directed their tongue treacherously as their bows and they have grown strong in the Land not for the sake of truth; for they proceed from evil to evil and they do not know Me says the Lord. Let each one beware of his neighbor, and do not trust any brother; for each brother forges plans and every neighbor spreads slander. Indeed they deceive one another and do not speak the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies, they commit iniquity until they are weary. Your habitation is in the midst of deceit; because of deceit they refuse to know Me says the Lord.Ē (Yirmiyahu 9:2-5)


In Chapter 9 sentence 23 we read: ďBut let him that boasts exult in this, that he understands and knows me, for I am God who practices Chesed, Mishpat UíTzdaka, kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth for in these things I delight, says the LordĒ.


According to Radak, knowing God consists of going in Godís ways, to practice kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth (with the inhabitants of the earth). One who follows Godís ways is said to know God.


Unfortunately there have been too many Jewish people in the media over the last week who did not practice kindness, justice or righteousness and although the may claim to be observant Jews, they were not following Godís ways and were not at the level as described above of following God and knowing God. Their involvement in money laundering and other immoral behavior has brought about a tremendous Chilul HaShem, desecration of Godís name. Unfortunately, it is instances like this that make us understand why the Beit HaMikdash has not yet been rebuilt.


We must do our best both in Israel and throughout the world to follow the laws both Bein Adam LíMakom (between a person and God) and Bein Adam LíChavero (between a person and their fellow person) in order to bring about the final redemption- the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash as well as serve as an Or LaGoyim, a light to the nations.