Battling the Siege-Acknowledging God’s Power
“Gather up your belongings to leave the land,
you who live under siege.
For this is what God says:
‘At this time I will hurl out
those who live in this land;
I will bring distress on them
so that they may be captured.’
Woe to Me because of My injury!
My wound is incurable!
Yet I said to Myself,
‘This is My sickness, and I must endure it.’
My tent is destroyed;
all its ropes are snapped.
My children are gone from me and are no more;
no one is left now to pitch My tent
or to set up My shelter.
The shepherds are senseless
and do not inquire of God;
so they do not prosper
and all their flock is scattered.
Listen! The report is coming—
a great commotion from the land of the north!
It will make the towns of Judah desolate,
a haunt of jackals (Jeremiah 10:17-22)
God, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
it is not for them to direct their steps.
Discipline me, God, but only in due measure—
not in Your anger,
or You will reduce me to nothing.
Pour out Your wrath on the nations
that do not acknowledge You,
on the peoples who do not call on Your name.
For they have devoured Jacob;
they have devoured him completely
and destroyed his homeland (23-25).”
“Gather up your belongings to leave the land, you who live under siege,” is a call to Israel to compare their dispersed sparks of holiness and connection to God crowded together as people who are crowded when under siege. God is calling on Israel, in this time of tragedy, to pause and view the people gathered in their greatness, with their accomplishments, for that will inspire Teshuva, returning to God as aspiration, rather than repenting because of tragedy. (Based on Marpeh Lashon of Rabbi Moshe David Vialli)
“God, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps,”
Israel’s inability to gather their sparks is because they have begun ti view all of life as a siege; that You, God, are in control of everything, and that You have forced their choices. It was Your choice that brought the Babylonians here! (Rabbi Isaiah of Trani)
- Gather your sparks: accomplishments, growth, learning etc.
- Gather the sparks of the community as the people were gathered in besieged Jerusalem.
- Evaluate how much of your life is an expression of your choices, rather than being under siege by environment and community pressure.