The opening words of this week’s Torah reading have been repeated often throughout the entire discourse by Moshe with the Jewish people, which constitutes the bulk of this book of Devarim. This two-word phrase, KI TAVO, should be understood as meaning “when you will come into the land of Israel,” and not an alternative meaning of “if you will conquer the land of Israel”.
There is a certainty in the words of Moshe regarding the Jewish people and the land of Israel. He assures them that they will certainly come into the land, and even though it is temporarily occupied by strong and inimical tribes and nations, the land belongs to the Jewish people by the commitment made to our father Abraham, the founder of Judaism.
One of the outstanding, almost wondrous, characteristics of the Jewish people throughout their long and bitter exile, has been the certainty that resides in their hearts and minds that they would one day return to settle the land of Israel once again. This certainty was inserted into all the prayers of Israel in every generation.
The Jewish people made commitments to Heaven that they would return to the land of Israel. and there they would fulfill their mission of service to the God of Israel. The influence of our teacher Moshe was so strong and lasting, that even thousands of years later, the Jewish people accepted his assurances that they would return to the land of Israel, and always thought of it as being a case of when and not if it would happen.
The question existed only regarding when it would be possible for the Jewish people to return and settle in the land of Israel. We were never told in advance how this would happen, and who would be agents that would facilitate this return. In the imagination of the Jewish people, they dreamed of a miraculous return, accompanied by a renaissance of goodness and spirituality.
The past two centuries of Jewish history have been marked by the unexpected and inexplicable events that have led to the return of the Jewish people to their land, and sovereignty over the land of Israel. The steps in which this occurred were unforeseen by anyone. Many of the leading actors in this drama, who propelled the project forward towards its completion, certainly by the measurement of Jewish standards, were the most unlikely people to accomplish such an end. Nevertheless, the certainty implanted within us by our teacher Moshe long ago stood the test of time and the vicissitudes of events, so that no matter how unlikely such a return to the land of Israel seemed to be, the masses of the Jewish people believed that it would indeed occur and rallied to help it occur.
Unfortunately, there are Israel deniers that currently exist within the framework of Jewish society. Like the Holocaust deniers, they are anxious to escape from his destiny of the Jewish people. It is tragic in the extreme that in the face of all the wonders and accomplishment of the Jewish people in the land of Israel in our time, there are those that still are deaf to the words of both Moshe and of the certainty of Jewish national existence in the land of Israel.