Comfort and Assurance
“I have said: my strength is lost and my hope from the Lord… “The Lord is my portion”, says my soul, therefore I will hope to Him.” (Lamentations 3:18:24)
There are times when all seems lost. Sometimes we wonder; what assurance do we have that we are on a path that ultimately leads to goodness and to light? How can we, the people of Israel, be comforted while we are still in exile from our land and our Temple lies in ruins?
The prophet took comfort in the fact that God is his portion, that was his hope and assurance. The comfort and the assurance of the Jewish people is the fact that their portion is God.
What does this mean? How is God our “portion” and our “lot”?
We tend to think of our faith and belief in God as something that is coming from us towards God. As if, so to speak, we are “doing God a favor” by believing in Him. But the facts are quite the opposite. God went out of His way to bestow upon us the great gift of
faith in Him. He performed all the great miracles of the exodus, He spoke to us
from heaven so that the truth of His reality be seared into the core of our
beings (Deuteronomy 4:35). He sanctified us with His commandments, so that we may remain a unique nation to Him (Leviticus 20:26, Deuteronomy 26:18). It is God who put His faith into our hearts through the miracles of the Exodus and the revelation at Sinai. It is God who preserves this faith in our midst by protecting us both physically and spiritually.
When Jeremiah sees the confusion that covers the nations, he exclaims: “This is not the portion of Jacob!” (Jeremiah 10:16). The fact that God grants us the clarity and the truth
to know that all of creation is subject to Him and to Him alone, is the greatest comfort and reassurance. All of the suffering that we endured in this exile are worthwhile if that is the price of being the witness to God’s truth. The faith that God poured into our hearts gave us the strength to look the holocaust in the eye and thank God that we are His people.
As King David put it: “Even if I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil because You are with me” (Psalm 23:4).
That, is our comfort and our assurance.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal