"This is what the LORD says: If I have not made my covenant with day and night and established the laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.'" - Jeremiah 33:25-26
The Torah portion for this week is Mishpatim, which means "laws," from Exodus 21:1-24:18, and the Haftorah is from Jeremiah 34:8-22.
This year on December 22, the seventh day of Hanukkah, a modern-day miracle took place - 226 Jews from Ukraine came home to Israel. This was the first of many Fellowship-sponsored flights that have brought, and will continue to bring, Jews in need home to Israel. For the passengers on board that plane, young and old, this was a dream come true. They were saved from a war-torn country where many had been displaced from their homes and thrust into poverty. However, more importantly, they have returned to the Jewish homeland with a promise of a brighter tomorrow. It is the fulfillment of the biblical promise in Isaiah 11:12 in which God vowed to "assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth."
In this week's Torah reading, we read about the covenant between Israel and God. In Exodus 24:7-8, Moses oversaw the sealing of the covenant: "Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.' Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you . . .'"
This week's Haftorah reading concludes with the confirmation that this is an eternal covenant. This wasn't a deal that could be broken. This wasn't an arrangement where God might change His mind about it at some later date in time. God's covenant with the children of Israel is binding forever. We read, "If I have not made my covenant with day and night and established the laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David . . ."
What's God saying? That just as there will always be day and night, heaven and earth, there will always be God and the children of Israel. God established physical laws in the world and He also created spiritual laws in the world. One of those laws is that the children of Israel will always be God's chosen people, and when the time is right, God "will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them."
God promises to bring His children home no matter what. It doesn't say that God will bring them back to Israel when they deserve it; it says that God will bring them back out of compassion for them.
We are the generation that is privileged to witness God's biblical promises come to fruition. We are also the generation that has the opportunity to be a part of it. Join us at The Fellowship as we help fulfill God's eternal promise to bring His children home.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President