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Lunar Lessons of the Large Letter Lamed

Written by Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag




“G-d removed them from upon their soil …. and He cast them (Vayashlicheym) to another land, as this very day.” (Devarim 29;27)
The lamed of Vayashlicheym – “He cast them” – is enlarged. The first section of Sedra Nitzavim is part of the ongoing message from Moshe to the people of Israel, demanding their allegiance to G-d and His Torah in the land of Israel. This is accompanied by a warning that if their loyalty was found wanting then the chosen people would be removed from the promised land, and sent into exile.
One may perceive the footsteps of later Jewish history echoing in these verses. Here is predicted the exile of the Jewish people from the land of Israel at the end of the period of the first Temple. Looking at the text of verse 29 – both in the Chumash or in the
The computation begins with Avraham – the patriarch to whom was made the promise of the land of Israel to his descendants. From Avraham to King Solomon there were

fifteen generations, which represented the main growth period.
From King Solomon to Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, there were then a further fifteen generations –these represented a period of decline – before the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jews to Babylon.

When the Torah says, that G-d was destined to remove the people of Israel from upon their soil, and cast them to another land, the large letter lammed, numerically equivalent to thirty, indicates that this exile would occur after 30 generations – QED.

The fifteen generations of growth followed by fifteen generations of decline, mirror the monthly cycle of the moon, which waxes for fifteen days until it is seen fully formed, and then wanes for a further fifteen days, before it disappears at the end of the month … but then it makes it reappearance.
So, too, with the Jewish people, a people that lives by the lunar calendar. For whatever difficult times the people of Israel undergo there are always brighter times ahead.




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