"Remember the days of old, consider the lifetimes of previous generations" (Deut. 32:7)

We have learned that everything that G‑d created was subject to a precondition. Thus, when the time came for Israel to receive the Torah - if they accepted the Torah, that would be fitting - and if not, Creation would return to chaos and void. Regarding those "days of old" referred to in the verse above, [those days] themselves remember the condition upon which they were created.

...the 70 nations correspond to the 70 souls that accompanied Jacob to Egypt….

We have further learned that those branches of the Tree of Life representing the 70 nations correspond to the 70 souls that accompanied Jacob to Egypt, and G‑d made the nations to correspond to them and to the 12 tribes. As for Israel themselves, it is written, "For G‑d's portion is His people, His inheritance is in the borders of Jacob". (Deut. 9:32) Thus, the people of Israel have never had foreign kings or rulers who have continually dominated them. It is this people that the Holy One Blessed be He has taken as His portion and estate. Where did He first meet them? "He found him in a desert land, and in the empty howling wilderness." (Deut. 32:10) That concept of being chosen in a barren place is also connected with Abraham as it is written, "Terach [an idol worshiper] was the father of Abraham." (Joshua 24:2)

Further it is written: "And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the river, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac." (Joshua 24:3) From these verses we learn that the Holy One Blessed be He leads Israel in each and every generation and doesn't separate from them. He leads them with mercy, as in the verse: "As an eagle stirs up its nest, flutters over its young, spreads out its wings, takes them and bears them on himself." (Deut. 32:11)

...no creature…shows such compassion for its young as the eagle….

Rabbi Yossi explained the verse, "As an eagle stirs up its nest…" by saying that there we have found no creature that shows such compassion for its young as the eagle. In relation to this we learned from the vision of Ezekiel: "the four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side; the face of an ox on the left side…and the face of an eagle." (Ezekiel 1:10) It isn't stated what side the eagle is on, but we have learned that the eagle was on the side of Jacob [tiferet], as it is written, "Four things which I know not; The way of an eagle in the heavens…"(Proverbs 30:18-19) In that very place which we call "the heavens" which means esoterically the sefira of tiferet [in that the Hebrew word for "heavens" is "shamayim", a combination of the words for "fire" and "water": "aish" and "mayim", together representing the sefira that is a combination of the elements of chesed and gevura - namely tiferet]. Why does the eagle represent tiferet? Because it has mercy on its own children but acts with harsh justice in regards to others. So the Holy One Blessed be He acts like the eagle in relation to His children Israel.

What is written afterwards in our text? "The Merciful One led them by Himself and there was no strange god with Him". (Deut. 32:12) He alone, not an angel or other leader in the spiritual realms. These are called "strange gods" and this why Moses said: "If Your presence does not go with me, carry us not from [Egypt]". (Ex. 33:15) It is further written, "So G‑d alone did lead him, and there is no strange god with him." (Deut. 32:12)

How wonderful is the lot of Israel that the Holy One Blessed be He leads them by Himself in this way. Of Israel, it is written, "For G‑d has chosen Jacob to Himself, Israel for His possession." (Psalms 135:4) Further it is written, "For G‑d will not forsake His people for His great Name's sake; because it has pleased G‑d to make you His people." (Samuel 12:22) This is because Israel cleaves to His great and holy Name, and this is the reason that the Holy One Blessed be He will not abandon them. In every place where People of Israel is, He is with them, as we have clarified.

Zohar, p. 298b; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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