Maamar Shalosh Shevuos Siman 21

[The discussion is about the Avnei Nezer’s opinion that if the nation ruling Eretz Yisroel allows all the Jews to return, they may return. The Rebbe has argued in Simanim 14-20 that Hashem does not want all the Jews to come back from exile before the geulah. Now he will bring a proof that even after moshiach comes, they won’t go straight back to Eretz Yisroel.]

And in the second chapter of the tractate Eduyos, Mishnah 9, it says: “And in the number of generations before him, which is the end.”

[The full text of the Mishnah is:

A father hands down to his son different qualities: beauty, strength, wealth, wisdom, and longevity, and the number of generations yet to come before him, which is the End.

The son is one generation closer to the geulah than his father. Hashem counts down the time till the geulah in two different ways: by years, and by generations. The Mishnah continues:

As it says, “Hashem is the Reader of the generations from the beginning” (Yishaya 41:4). Even though it says “They will enslave them and afflict them for four hundred years,” it also says “And the fourth generation will come return here.”

The Raavad asks in his commentary on the Mishnah: Why does Hashem give two different end times? Which is it? Also, what’s the “even though” – these verses are not a contradiction. The first verse is saying that they will be slaves for 400 years, and second one says that they will come back to Eretz Yisroel in four generations. If the 400 years is up before the four generations are up, then the Jews would have to wait some time, after their freedom, to enter Eretz Yisroel. And this is in fact what happened: they were detained in the desert for forty years before entering Eretz Yisroel.

The Raavad answers that that is precisely the Mishnah’s point:]

Even though the end of the exile and the subjugation of the Jews depend on years, the good promises and consolations promised to them depend on the number of generations, because He sees that there will come a righteous generation worthy of redemption, so He keeps everyone waiting until that generation arrives. This is what happened in Egypt: even though they were redeemed after 400 years, they did not return to settle in Eretz Yisroel in the generation of Yehoshua. The same thing happened in the Babylonian exile [Darius gave permission to return and rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, but the city walls weren’t complete until 30 years later]. And so too in the days of moshiach, when Hashem redeems the Jews, they will not enter Eretz Yisroel right away, but rather He will lead them into the wilderness of the nations, as stated in the prophecy of Yechezkel, Chapter 20.

We see from this Raavad that even after the redemption, Hashem will not wish to bring the Jews to Eretz Yisroel right away. They must first pass through the wilderness and be sorted out. Those who remain will repent completely, as stated in the prophecy of Yechezkel and Hoshea.

[The reference is to Hoshea 2:16: “Therefore I will convince her and bring her into the wilderness and I will speak to her heart. “ Rashi in his commentary on Yechezkel and Hoshea stated that this verse and Yechezkel 20:35 are describing the same event.]


Vayoel Moshe


Gathering the Exiles