Thus said the Lord: As surely as I have established My covenant with day and night–the laws of heaven and earth–so I will never reject the offspring of Jacob and My servant David; I will never fail to take from his offspring rulers for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Indeed, I will restore their fortunes and take them back in love (Jer. 33: 25-26).Indeed, the covenant is eternal; 70 years later, Israelites returned to Zion. Slowly they rebuilt the land, Jerusalem and the Temple. The Second Temple period lasted for nearly 500 years, followed a 2000-year exile.
Slightly more than a century ago, the second return to Zion began in a very, very different world. The State was established, and many consider it the beginning of our redemption, equal in value to the third Temple.
Despite this, despite the building and independence, the feelings of threat and closure have returned in a form appropriate for the sixth millennia. Public discourse is strident and shrill, wealth makes right, and the every-expanding socio-economic gaps are ignored. Despite the tremendous difference between our socio-economic reality and that of Bible, the values reflected in the mechanism for releasing slaves remain in force: striving for an economy that does not prioritize the interests of tycoons and does perpetuate gaps, but rather considers the good of the majority and provides structural opportunities to start again.
The confidence that the Third Temple will not be destroyed or that the rightness of our cause will protect us from all threats is not substantively different from the empty belief of Jeremiah’s contemporaries. Therefore, I will end with his words to those who trusted in the Temple:
If you really mend your ways and your actions; if you execute justice between one person and another; if you do not oppress the stranger, the orphan, and the widow; if you do not shed the blood of the innocent in this place; if you do not follow other gods, to your own hurt–only then will I let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your ancestors for all time (Jeremiah 7:5-7).