Thursday, May 08, 2014

Ramban on whether teshuvah is needed for geulah

Speaking about teshuvah as a prerequisite for geulah (see last post), there are two Rambans that seem to contradict each other.  The Ramban in next week's parsha (26:16) contrasts the tochacha in Bechukosai, which he says describes the churban Bayis Rishon, with the tochacha in Ki Tavo, which he says describes churban Bayis Sheni and the ultimate geulah. 

אבל הברית שבמשנה תורה ירמז לגלותנו זה ולגאולה שנגאל ממנו. כי הסתכלנו תחילה שלא נרמז שם קץ וקצב ולא הבטיח בגאולה, רק תלה אותה בתשובה

The galus of Bayis Rishon had a seventy year fixed end date, but the galus of Bayis Sheni has no end date -- it all depends on teshuvah. 

Yet, Ramban in Parshas Nitzavim (Devarim 32:40), writes that the Torah guarantees that geulah will happen without requiring teshuvah or avodah as a precondition:

והנה אין בשירה הזאת תנאי בתשובה ועבודה, רק היא שטר עדות שנעשה הרעות ונוכל, ושהוא יתברך יעשה בנו בתוכחות חימה, אבל לא ישבית זכרנו, וישוב ויתנחם ויפרע מן האויבים בחרבו הקשה והגדולה והחזקה, ויכפר על חטאתינו למען שמו.

Does geulah depends on teshuvah or does it not?

I saw Rav Drukman raises this question in his wonderful sefer "Kim'a Kim'a" and distinguishes between the start of the geulah process, which is an inevitable certainty at some point irrespective of Klal Yisrael doing teshuvah, and the completion of geulah, which will ultimately entail Klal Yisrael returning to Hashem.  Perhaps you can distinguish between different levels or stages of teshuvah as well. 

(Parenthetically, it's sad that books like R' Drukman's "Kim'a Kim'a" are not read and discussed in our yeshivos (I mean those, especially in the modern orthodox world, that claim to impart Zionism and/or a love of Eretz Yisrael to their students).  I think parents and educators assume certain values get transmitted by osmosis.  It's taken as a given that supporting Eretz Yisrael as our homeland is somehow tied into our identity as religious Jews, but why that should be the case and what that means philosophically and/or l'ma'aseh is never really articulated.  It seems like the more fundamental the topic, the less likely it is to be discussed inside a classroom, which is why there is no curriculum for ikkarei emunah and other hashkafic issues.  Is it because we don't want students to think too much or they might get confused or led astray?  Or maybe ask questions that we can't answer?)

1 comment:

  1. Your last point is well taken and I think it is a combination of osmosis and fear of questions. The odd part is that Judaism has always encouraged questions, so maybe it is modern man's discomfort with lack of knowledge. In any case this issue is rampant in the less-Modern world and in Toronto a foundation was started by one of the Rabbanim called Ani Maamin which tries to educate students on foundational hashkafic issues that they are not getting in schools. (Note I am in no way affiliated with Ani Maamin, just aware of its existence)