Veheshiv and Veshav
Parashat Nitzavim - Vayelekh
Written by the rabbi
Dedicated to the memory of
Hana Bat Haim
Concerning the future redemption of the Jewish people from their exile, Moshe prophesies (Devarim 30:3): "Then the Lord your God will return (veshav) your captivity, and have compassion upon you, and will return (veshav) and gather you from all the nations among whom your God has scattered you." Even a most perfunctory reading of the text catches the obvious misuse of the Hebrew term "veshav." Quoting the Talmud (Megillah 29a), Rashi points out that the appropriate form of the word is the causative "veheshiv" - " and He shall bring back." Instead Moshe uses the simple form "veshav" - "and He shall return," i.e., God Himself shall return. The problematic word "veshav" is found not once, but twice in the verse.
Rashi explains each of the two occurrences. As for the first "veshav," Rashi cites the answer suggested by the Gemara: "Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai teaches: Come and see how beloved are the children of Israel before the Almighty. For every destination whereto they were exiled, the Divine Presence was also exiled. So too, only when they shall be redeemed, shall God himself be redeemed." The Talmud and Rashi understand the word "et" as a preposition, "with." Moshe is not saying that God will return your captivity, but rather that God Himself will return together with your captivity.
Rashi’s creative genius bursts forth in his interpretation of the second "veshav": "Moreover, so great an event albeit so fraught with hardship is the ingathering of the dispersed, that God Himself takes hold of each returnee’s hand to accompany him from his place."
What a magnificent description of each modern oleh’s journey to Israel. As he descends the staircase from the plane, not only is he redeeming his children, grandchildren and generations beyond, but he is returning together with God Almighty Himself.
This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
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