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Blessing Israel


Rabbi Moshe Leib Halberstadt

Shevat 9, 5770
I refer to the passage in the Tanach "he who blesses Israel will be blessed and he who curses Israel will be cursed". Haiti has been blessing Israel since 1948 yet, it is one of the most wretched and miserable countries in the world. Sweden and Norway have been cursing Israel for many years yet, they’re affluent and doing fine. Can you explain this to me?
I am not aware of the details presented in your question. In general one should be careful not to throw accusations at the different nations of the world. Regarding the actual issue; Hashem rules this world with absolute justice as it says “The Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice; a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is He” (Deuteronomy 32, 4). However we are unable to understand it in many cases as it says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 55, 8). The Chafetz Chaim used to interpret the verse “The ordinances of the LORD are true, they are righteous altogether”. Only when they are together are they righteous. In other words, only when we will know what was with a person before he was created and what will be afterwards, can we understand why they are righteous, but not in any other way (Chafetz Chaim on the Torah, Deuteronomy 32, 4). One should view the terrible disasters revealed before our eyes according to the Holy Torah. We should have mercy on all those nations suffering severe disasters as stated "And His tender mercies are over all His works" (Psalms 145, 9). We should also wake up and take account of our actions. As is stated in the Talmud (Yevamos 63a): Says Rabbi Eleazar bar Avina, no calamity came into the world but for Israel, as it says “I have cut off nations, their corners are desolate; I have made their streets waste” (Zephaniah 3, 6), and it says “I said: 'Surely thou wilt fear Me, thou wilt receive correction“ (Zephaniah 3, 7). Rashi explains: For Israel – to make them fearful so that they should repent. Rashi explains similarly in Parashat Va’era (Exodus 7, 3) on the verse "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt". And thus is the method of The Holy One Blessed Be He: He brings calamity upon the heathen nations, in order that Israel should hearken and fear, as it is stated “I have cut off nations, their corners are desolate; I have made their streets waste”, “I said: 'Surely thou wilt fear Me, thou wilt receive correction“.
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