Shabbat Shalom!

Chol HaMoed Pesach
This Shabbat is the Shabbat during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and therefore we have special readings. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is one of the three festivals for which all males, 20 years of age and older, are required to go up to Jerusalem. The primary reason is to offer the holiday sacrifice. Normally not only the male would go up, but the entire family with him. Think what would actually take place. Entire cities would be vacant. In other words, the enemy would know that cities would be absolutely vulnerable to attack. Logic would demand that some men would have to stay behind to guard the city against the enemy exploiting the Jewish observance of the festivals. It is to this issue the following verse speaks.

“For I will take possession of (those) nations from you and I will widen your borders and no man will desire your land when you go up to appear before HaShem your G-d three times a year.” Exodus 34:24

In essence HaShem promises three things when the Children of Israel go up to Jerusalem to worship Him.

  1. He will take responsibility concerning the enemy.
  2. He will broaden the borders of Israel.
  3. No man will desire to take the Land away from the Children of Israel.

Some have pointed out that if promise number three is in place, then the first two promises are unnecessary. This is not the case. It is important for one to understand that the third promise is the outcome of the first two. When HaShem says that He will take possession of the nations, what is implied here is that He is making Himself responsible to deal with the enemies of Israel if they should attack during one of the festivals. In other words, the army of Israel also receives a vacation during the feasts.

The question that needs to be asked is, “How does HaShem exercise this responsibility”? The answer is found in the second promise; He broadens the borders of Israel. This appears at first glance to be an odd statement and its intent may not be understood. The point here is that the borders between the nations and the Land of Israel is widened so that in actuality the enemy never enters. It is important to understand this as a miracle. The enemy troops may attempt to cross into Israel, and although they march and march, they never make it into Israel. It is as though they are marching on a treadmill and never get anywhere. It is this frustrating experience that removes from them the desire to attack Israel. This is the intent of the third promise.

There are a few points that we should glean from this verse.

  1. It is senseless and very frustrating to disobey the will of G-d.
  2. One should never hesitate to obey the will of G-d thinking that if one does, the result will be disastrous.
  3. Do not apply human logic to Scripture. When you hear, simply obey and leave the consequences to Him.

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