The Slow Return from Exile

In Parshat Bechukotai, we read the Tochecha, the Admonition which deals with the sins of the Jewish people, the punishments that they will be destined to endure and their eventual exile from the Land of Israel.


Despite the horrors that are described, the Tochecha concludes on a positive note (Vayikra 26:44-45): “But despite all of this, while they be in the land of their enemies, I will not have been revolted by them nor will I have rejected them to obliterate them, to annul my covenant with them- for I am Hashem, their God. I will remember for them the covenant of the ancients, those whom I have taken out of the land of Egypt before the eyes of the nations to be God unto them- I am Hashem.”


God goes out to exile with the Jewish people and He will return them to the Land of Israel when He is ready. The covenant that is being referred to is the promise that the Jewish people will inherit the Land of Israel.


This Sunday, we will be celebrating Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Reunification day. Yom Yerushalayim reminds us that even though we celebrated Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day just a few weeks ago, the celebration of Independence was not fully complete without a unified Jerusalem. The return from the exile is a slow process. We established the State of Israel in 1948 yet it was only in 1967 that Jerusalem was unified and we know all to well that the fight for the Jewish people to hold on to the Land of Israel continues on a daily basis.


While Yom HaAtzmaut is a national holiday (a day off from school and work), Yom Yerushalayim is still a regular school and work day. It is primarily celebrated by the Dati-Leumi, Religious Zionist community with special prayers and Hallel is recited. Religious students come from all over Israel to celebrate Jerusalem with a Rikud Degalim, Dancing with the Flags Parade.


The fact that we are back in Israel shows that although we were exiled, the the prophecies of the redemption are also being fulfilled slowly but surely.


May the full redemption come speedily in our days.


Shabbat Shalom and Happy Yom Yerushalayim!

Sharona Margolin Halickman