Michael Wyschogrod on the Land of Israel

Michael Wyschogrod on the Land of Israel July 24, 2011

I read this passage by Jewish philosopher-theologian  Michael Wyschogrod years ago and recently bumped into it again. You can find it in his essay on “Judaism and the Land” in the book Abraham’s Promise. His conclusion is eloquent in both its caution and confident faith:

In our time, the people of Israel has returned to its land. Was it justified in doing so? Does this return signal the beginning of the redemption promised by God or is it a human act of will resulting from impatience and the secularization of Jewish consciousness? These are difficult questions to answer and will ultimately be answered by history. But whatever the answer to these questions may be, they concern only the issue of whether we should have waited longer. But that sometime Israel will return to the land which it has been promised by God cannot be in question because God has so promised. And if all this is true, then no claim to the land of Israel other than the Jewish claim is divinely validated.

And this is so even if, therefore, God is temporarily interposing another people between Israel and its land. The people who have come to dwell in the land during the estrangement of Israel from its land have been drawn into the vortex of a theological drame not of theri making. Their pain must be felt by Israel and the compassion that is the deepsest dimension of Jewish consciousness must be brought to bear on the problem. But none of this can obscure the eternal link between Israel and the land, a link that must, sooner or later, be reestablished (102-103).

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