Parshas Parah

Ezekiel 36:16-38

G-d spoke again to Ezekiel and said that the Jews had defiled the land with their sins, like a woman is ritually impure at the time of menstruation. (Remember, the relationship between G-d and Israel is described as a marriage and marital relations are not permitted when a woman has her monthly period.) G-d became angry with them because of their violence and idolatry. He punished them accordingly, scattering them throughout the nations. Their presence in other lands was a chillul Hashem, a desecration of G-d’s Name. G-d is redeeming Israel not because they have earned it, but to save His own Name from further desecration. When He brings the Jews back to Israel, it will be a kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of His Name.

G-d will gather the Jews from all the nations and return them to Israel, where He will metaphorically sprinkle them with water and they will be cleansed, like those becoming purified from the ritual impurity of corpse defilement. G-d will give the nation a new heart and a new spirit; He will replace their heart of stone (which is cold and unyielding) with a heart of flesh (which is receptive). G-d will help the people be inclined to walk in His path and do His will. Then, they will dwell on a fertile land where He will be their G-d and they will be His people. They will not know famine or hunger anymore and they will regret their former evil ways.

G-d says that on the day He cleanses the Jews of their sins, repopulates the land and builds up the ruins, the other nations will remark that a once-desolate land has bloomed like the Garden of Eden. As G-d has spoken, so He will do. The people will multiply like the flocks of sheep that would be brought to Jerusalem for the festivals.