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Coming Home

Photo Courtesy Sharona Halickman

In Parshat Bechukotai, Vayikra 26:42, at the conclusion of the Tochacha/Admonition, we read a familiar phrase:

I will then remember My covenant with Yaakov and also My covenant with Yitzchak and also My covenant with Avraham, will I remember, and the Land will I remember.

Why is this phrase familiar?

We say recite it on Yom Kippur as well as during Slichot. The prayer which includes two more verses from our Parsha continues:

Remember for us the covenant of the ancestors, as You promised (Vayikra 26:45) “And I will remember for their sake, the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations; to be their God, I am HaShem.” Do with us as You promised (Vayikra 26:44) “And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them and I will not abhor them, to destroy them, to annul My covenant with them; for I am HaShem, their God.”

The next paragraph in the Slichot service speaks about Kibutz Galuyot, the Ingathering of the Exiles:

Bring back our captivity and have mercy on us as it is written (Dvarim 30:3) “HaShem, your God will bring back your captivity and have mercy on you, and He will again gather you in from all the peoples where HaShem, your God, has scattered you. Gather in our dispersed ones, as it is written (Dvarim 30:4) “If your dispersed were to be at the ends of heaven, from there HaShem, your God, will gather you in and from there He will take you.”

Sforno explains that the “covenant of the ancestors” refers to Kibbutz Galuyot, the Ingathering of the Exiles.

When the exile comes to a close, after God has forgiven B’nai Yisrael, He will bring them back to the Land of Israel.

We are seeing the fulfillment of this prophecy in our lifetime. The Jewish people have been returning to Israel since before the establishment of the State and continue to return. Aliya has always been a mixture of Jews who immigrate to Israel to escape danger as well as Jews who come for religious, ideological or Zionistic reasons and leave a comfortable life behind.

Last week, I was in London and I met many Jews who are planning on making aliya or have family members who have already settled in Israel. Their aliya is not based on fleeing from war like the Ukranian olim who have been steadily arriving, but rather for the love of the Land and the people of Israel.

May the prophecies continue to be fulfilled and may we see more olim from all over the world making their homes in Israel.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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