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    Beasts in the land – B’har

    What wonderful words they are! “I will give peace in the land; you shall lie down, and no-one will make you afraid” (Lev. 26:6).

    The verse shows that already in the time of the Torah there was a Jewish messianic vision, long before the rhapsodical prophecies of Isaiah and Micah.

    The continuation of the verse has a strange verb, however, which needs to be explained in order to understand the nature of the vision. The verb is related to the word Shabbat. It says, vehishbatti, “I will cause (evil beasts) to cease from the land”.

    In the Midrash, Rabbi Yehudah thinks it means that God will cause the evil beasts to vanish, whilst Rabbi Shimon applies the prophecy not to the beasts but to their evil nature. The beasts will not cease to be, but they will not be cruel or evil any longer. The world will continue with its existing contents, but wild beasts will become gentle, and cruelty will become kindness.

    May it be the Divine will that in one form or another, the Rabbi Yehudah or Rabbi Shimon interpretation, the world will become messianic in our time and all mankind will live in peace and prosperity.

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