Remembering Our Dormant Potential

“I have been asleep, but my heart is awake” (Song of Songs 5:2)
Dear Friends,
Before the destruction of the First Temple and the beginning of the Babylonian exile, the Prophet Jeremiah was told by the Compassionate One to convey to our people messages of rebuke for abandoning the path of the Torah; moreover, Jeremiah was told to warn of the impending destruction if we did not return to this life-giving path. The first Divine message that he conveyed to our people, however, was not one of rebuke. He first conveyed the following Divine message of love which reminded us of the great potential that we demonstrated when we left the land of Egypt and began the journey to Mount Sinai:
“Thus said the Compassionate One: I recall for you the lovingkindness of your youth, your love as a bride, when you followed Me into the wilderness, into an unsown land. Israel is consecrated to the Compassionate One, the beginning of His harvest" (Jeremiah 2:2,3).
Through this loving Divine message, we are reminded of the faith and courage which we demonstrated when we followed our Beloved into the wilderness which is described as “an unsown land.” We were willing to enter the wilderness in order to receive the Torah – “the Tree of Life” (Proverbs 3:18). And through connecting to the Tree of Life, we could return to the Promised Land which is destined to become “like the Garden of Eden” (Ezekiel 36:35). Through this journey, we became the beginning of the Divine harvest, as we began a historical process which will lead all humankind back to the peaceful Garden, when “they will sit, each person under his vine and under his fig tree, and none will make them afraid" (Micah 4:4). We are therefore to remember our potential to be the pioneering people of the new beginning.
Have a Chag Somayach – A Joyous Festival,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen  (See below)
A Related Teaching:
Before the Compassionate One told Jeremiah to rebuke us, He first told Jeremiah to give us a message of love – one which reminded us of our potential. There is a mitzvah to emulate the loving attributes of the Compassionate One, as it is written: “And you shall go in His ways” (Deuteronomy 28:9). In this spirit, we should emulate the Compassionate One by following the Divine method of rebuke. This means that before we offer any constructive rebuke to others, we should first convey a loving and respectful message which reminds them of their potential.

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