God’s Special Providence for Israel

Yael Eckstein  |  May 3, 2024

Fireworks exploding over Israel for Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day

When you enter the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your possession, and I put a spreading mold in a house in that land…  — Leviticus 14:34

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Metzora, which means “diseased,” from Leviticus 14:1-15:33.

Talk to anyone who has visited Israel and they’ll say the same thing: There’s a spiritual energy in the Holy Land that you just can’t experience anywhere else. So many of my Christian friends who have made the pilgrimage to Israel tell me that from the moment they stepped off the plane at Ben Gurion Airport, they felt the presence of God in a way they never felt before.

But it’s not just a feeling. Israel’s history is filled with improbable events that make it clear to anyone paying attention that God’s hand is upon this land in a unique way. As Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion once said, “If you live in Israel and you don’t believe in miracles, you’re just not being realistic.”

The Jewish sages even warned that we must be even more careful about our behavior when we are in the land of Israel due to the holiness of the land that God chose. As the Bible says, “the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on” the land of Israel in a way that is different from all other places on earth (Deuteronomy 11:12).

God’s Special Providence for Israel

We see God’s special providence over the land of Israel in this week’s Torah portion in a rather unique way. The verses introducing the impurity of “spreading mold” connect this impurity to the land of Israel: When you enter the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your possession, and I put a spreading mold in a house in that land…”

At first glance this is strange. Why should this “spreading mold” occur only in the land of Israel? Obviously, the Bible is not talking about normal mold. Rather, as the rabbis explain, the Bible is describing a punishment for arrogance, selfishness, and unkind behavior. So why only in the land of Israel?

The rabbis explain that punishments from God have a silver lining. Like a parent who disciplines a child, when God punishes us, it’s His way of letting us know that He’s watching and that He cares. Living in the Holy Land, I recognize that the covenant of land comes with added responsibility because of God’s special providence for Israel.

As the above Bible verse from Deuteronomy teaches, God’s eyes are on our land “from the beginning of the year to its end.”

Your Turn:

Have you ever felt God’s rebuke? Let God know that you humbly accept His will as a sign of His love.

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