Moshe foresees the Children of Israel will endure exile in this week’s parsha.
However, he assures the Nation: “Hashem your God is a merciful God, He shall not abandon you or destroy you”.
Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, the Netziv, explains that these two promises addressed the Nations’ two primary concerns in exile – the threats of spiritual and physical destruction.
The Almighty’s promise not to abandon us refers to spiritual survival, whereas the second promise, not to destroy us, refers to the nation’s physical survival.
This approach explains subsequent verses. In his reference to the Revelation at Sinai, Moshe emphasises our survival, despite our direct exposure to the Almighty.
The Netziv explains this corresponds to the guarantee of not abandoning us, that the nation can withstand the pressures of exile and remain steadfastly committed to Torah.
As for the second promise, the nation’s physical survival, we can see this in relation to the Exodus.
The memory of the miracles in Egypt reminds us of our ability to survive as a people, regardless of where we live or how we are treated.
We are assured that even after the nation’s banishment into exile our survival is guaranteed and we will one day earn redemption and return to our homeland.
This double lesson should bring us much comfort and inspiration, especially in the immediate aftermath of Tisha B’Av.
Sam Taylor is community rabbi at Western Marble Arch Synagogue