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Tenth of Tevet IV

“A Song of Ascents: They that trust in God shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abides forever. Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains, and God surrounds His nation, from now and forever.” (Psalms 125:1-2)

After David had assured the Jewish people in this long exile that just as God will restore His Name, He will also redeem Israel, David, in this psalm addresses himself to the Jewish people and exhorts them to display faith in God, not to despair because of their sins, which had caused their exile and the desolation of their country. Although God had vented His anger over them and the Land of Israel, this is a transient stage. Mount Zion will not sway, but God will dwell in it forever.

After all, Zion did not sin, on the contrary, it absorbed part of the punishment intended for the people of Israel. Hence it is no more than fair that it will be redeemed by Justice. (Isaiah 1:27) It deserves redemption, does not require an act of kindness. Similarly, those who keep their faith in God will be redeemed by God’s kindness.

Do not despair on account of the length of the exile, nor that the attribute of justice will forver be stretched out over Jerusalem; do not ask how it could be that we suffer so, if God indeed is in our midst. Do not give way to the feeling that God may have abandoned you. Know therefore that just as Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains both while she was populated and now that she is desolate, so God surrounds His people also in times when the attribute of Justice prevails. (Romemot El of Rabbi Moshe Alshich. Translated by Eliyahu Munk.)

One of the key challenges on the Tenth of Tevet, when we lost our sense of being surrounded by mountains, the symbol of being protected by God, is to work on our level of trust in God’s kindness and protection.


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