Parashat Bo - The Time Has Come
מרן רה"י הרב שבתי סבתו | ה שבט התשפב | 07.01.2022
by Rav Shabtai Sabato
כי בא מועד
The Time Has Come
The Ancient Decree
We would be hard-pressed to find a prophecy as fateful and critical to the creation and formation of the Nation of Israel as the wondrous vision revealed to Avraham Avinu as he slept. This is the prophecy of the Covenant Between the Parts, the Brit Bein HaBetarim. Recounting what Avraham saw and what G-d promised him at the time, the Torah reveals the precise “code” outlining the descent of Yaakov Avinu’s family to Egypt, and its miraculous return centuries later as a full-fledged nation:
וַיֹּאמֶר לְאַבְרָם יָדֹעַ תֵּדַע כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא לָהֶם,
וַעֲבָדוּם וְעִנּוּ אֹתָם אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה.
And G-d said to Avram: Know surely that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will be subjugated and tortured for four hundred years.
וְגַם אֶת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹדוּ דָּן אָנֹכִי וְאַחֲרֵי כֵן יֵצְאוּ בִּרְכֻשׁ גָּדוֹל.
And also the nation that they will serve I will judge, and afterwards,
your descendants will depart with great wealth. (B'reshit 15,13-14)
The prophecy was most definitely fulfilled: Avraham’s descendants were foreigners in a strange land, where the Egyptians tortured and enslaved them. In addition, G-d judged the Egyptians very harshly, causing them to lose to the Jews their possessions and wealth, which they had given them of their own free will.
But one important detail in this prophecy is easily seen to be inaccurate. The number of years of enslavement was not even near the 400 that Hashem told Avraham. According to all calculations, the Jews could not have spent more than 210 years in Egypt. How could it be that such a blatant aspect of the prophecy - the duration of the enslavement - did not come true?
Rashi explains that the period of 400 years must be counted beginning from the birth of Avraham’s son Yitzchak. Yitzchak was born in the year 2048 to the Creation of the world, and Bnei Yisrael left Egypt in the year 2448, exactly 400 years later.
But another verse states that the true number is 430, as we read in Sh’mot:
וּמוֹשַׁב בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יָשְׁבוּ בְּמִצְרָיִם שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה.
And the habitation of Bnei Yisrael that they dwelled in Egypt,
was four hundred and thirty years. (Sh'mot 12,40)
Rashi here explains that the extra 30 years must be counted from the time G-d forged the Brit Bein HaBetarim with Avraham - 30 years before Yitzchak’s birth. This, however, negates the plain meaning of the verse, which is that they spent all this time in Egypt.
In short, the prophecy states 400 years; the Torah tells us they were in Egypt for 430 years; and the calculations say it was not more than 210. How are we to understand all this?
The path towards solving this riddle begins with King Pharaoh’s famous double dream many years before. Pharaoh asked Yosef what could be the message behind seven cows and wheat stalks being consumed by seven weaker ones. Yosef explained that they predicted two seven-year periods: first of plenty, then of famine. In the event, there were, in fact, seven years of abundant crops – but they were followed by only two years of famine. As we read in Parashat Vayigash (B’reshit 47,23), Yosef supplied the people with seeds for them to plant after two lean years, and ample crops were produced. Thus, even though a prophetic vision indicated seven years of famine, this did not come true!
The question is intensified when we consider the message Yosef passed to his father, via his brothers. Yosef said straight out:
רְדָה אֵלַי אַל תַּעֲמֹד... כִּי עוֹד חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים רָעָב פֶּן תִּוָּרֵשׁ
אַתָּה וּבֵיתְךָ וְכָל אֲשֶׁר לָךְ.
Come down to me and don’t stay there… Another five years of famine still remain;
lest you and your household and everything you have become impoverished. (45,9-11)
We see that Yosef was certain that the dream would come true in its entirety. Why, then, did the famine end after only two years? Was there some mistake?
The Dream as a Framework
The Talmudic Sage R. Chisda teaches (B'rachot 55a):
The sadness caused by a bad dream is sufficient for it [and it need not be further fulfilled]; for a good dream, the joy it evokes is sufficient.
This means that if one sees a troubling dream that brings on sadness and apprehension, the dream’s actual fulfillment becomes obviated. A bad dream can come true simply by the worry it arouses, without the fulfillment of its details. In other words, every dream has a purpose. If that purpose is achieved, then the dream’s details – which are simply another set of means to the end-goal – need not come true.
This was true for King Pharaoh’s dreams as well. Their ultimate purpose was to facilitate the fulfillment of Hashem’s word to Avraham at the Brit Bein HaBetarim, by having Yaakov and his family come down to Egypt. To accomplish this, the dreams were not enough; Yosef’s interpretation of the dream was also necessary. How so?
If not for Yosef’s interpretation and counsel, the dream would have been fulfilled as dreamt: Seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, both in Egypt and in all the neighboring countries. However, because of Yosef’s interpretation, the Egyptians stored up food for the years of famine, which is precisely what drew Yaakov and his sons to Egypt. Had there been no food stocks in Egypt – i.e., had Yosef not provided his interpretation – there would have been no reason for Yosef’s brothers to leave Canaan, and the purpose of the dream would not have been fulfilled. Their arrival in Egypt, however, fulfilled the Brit Bein HaBetarim prophecy – and there was no longer any need for all of the dream’s details to come true.
This can also be explained as follows: Hashem, Who sent the dream to Pharaoh, was also He Who sent him Yosef with the solution. The dream and its solution, together, advanced the true objective: getting Yaakov and family down to Egypt.
This will help us explain the Talmudic teaching that “all dreams follow the mouth” (B’rachot 55b), that is, a dream comes true according to its interpretation. Not only is the dream heaven-sent, but the interpreter with his solution is heaven-sent as well; each of them plays an equal role in advancing the mission. He Who sends the dream also sends the interpreter.
The Maximal Framework
But we must still understand: The dream specified “seven years of famine,” which did not come true. Was this simply a warning, or was there something more to it?
Let us explain that the seven years of famine were a “maximal framework” in which to get Yaakov down to Egypt. Yes, Yosef’s message to his father was that five years of famine remained; but what he meant was, “If you don’t come down, Pharaoh’s dream will come true in full, and there will be five more years of famine – and you will have to come here in any event.” However, once Yaakov Avinu did descend to Egypt, there was no need for the rest of the dream to come true.
Let us note that Yosef also took another step to shorten the process. He had his brother Shimon arrested and detained, enabling the brothers to convince Yaakov to allow his youngest son, Binyamin, to go to Egypt – and this, in turn, shortened the process of the revelation of Yosef's true identity. Thus, Yaakov and family came to Egypt after only two years of famine. Otherwise, Yaakov would likely never have come down to Egypt before his money and livestock totally ran out.
This tells us that a person may “shorten” the heavenly processes, as long as he takes them in the direction of their Divine message.
Prophecy as a Framework
Just as a dream is a framework for the fulfillment of a Divine objective, so too is prophecy. The Prophet Yirmiyahu provides some parameters of the essence and purpose of prophecy. An example is the following passage, where he responds to a false prophecy predicting that Babylonia would be toppled within two years:
וַיּאמֶר יִרְמְיָה הַנָּבִיא: אָמֵן! כֵּן יַעֲשֶׂה ה', יָקֵם ה' אֶת דְּבָרֶיךָ ...
אַךְ שְׁמַע נָא הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי דֹּבֵר בְּאָזְנֶיךָ וּבְאָזְנֵי כָּל הָעָם.
Jeremiah the Prophet said:
"Amen! Would that G-d do this and uphold your words…
But hear what I am saying before you and before the entire nation… (Yirmiyahu 28,6-7)
הַנָּבִיא אֲשֶׁר יִנָּבֵא לְשָׁלוֹם, בְּבוֹא דְּבַר הַנָּבִיא,
יִוָּדַע הַנָּבִיא אֲשֶׁר שְׁלָחוֹ ה' בֶּאֱמֶת.
The prophet who gives prophecy for peace – if it comes to pass, he will
be known to be a prophet truly sent by G-d." (verse 9)
Jeremiah is telling them that a prophecy of peace, goodness and blessing has no other objective other than its very fulfillment; its goal is simply to bring blessing. For this reason, the test of whether the prophet of blessing is a false one will be simply whether his predictions turn out to be false or true. But the story is different when it comes to a prophecy of destruction - as he tells us in the beginning of Chapter 26:
כֹּה אָמַר ה', עֲמֹד בַּחֲצַר בֵּית ה' וְדִבַּרְתָּ עַל כָּל עָרֵי יְהוּדָה
הַבָּאִים לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֹת בֵּית ה' אֵת כָּל הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִיךָ לְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם
אַל תִּגְרַע דָּבָר.
Thus said Hashem:
"Stand in the courtyard of the House of G-d and speak of all the cities of Judah…
all that I have charged you to say to them [prophecies of destruction];
do not omit a word.
אוּלַי יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיָשֻׁבוּ אִישׁ מִדַּרְכּוֹ הָרָעָה וְנִחַמְתִּי אֶל הָרָעָה
אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי חֹשֵׁב לַעֲשׂוֹת לָהֶם מִפְּנֵי רֹעַ מַעַלְלֵיהֶם.
Perhaps they will hearken and repent of their evil ways, and I will revoke the punishment
that I have thought to bring upon them for their evil deeds."
In sum, prophecies of destruction have a primary goal and a secondary goal. The primary purpose is to warn the nation and have them repent and improve their ways. If this goal is achieved, there is no need for the prophecy’s harsh details to actually come true. As opposed to a prophecy of blessing, a negative prophecy need not be fulfilled - unless the people continue to sin, in which case, the secondary purpose will be activated: the fulfillment of its details, to convince the coming generations not to repeat the destructive mistakes of their forefathers.
The 400-Year Decree
The same is true for the 400 years that G-d told Avraham would be the duration of his descendants’ enslavement. This prophecy, too, had a certain objective - and the 400 years, like the seven years of famine in Pharaoh’s dream, were just a “maximal” framework for its fulfillment.
What was the purpose of having the children of the righteous Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov go down to Mitzrayim? Hashem answers this question in his words to Yaakov Avinu: “I am the G-d, the G-d of your father; do not fear going down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.” (B’reshit 46,3)
G-d set the objective: The family of the righteous Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov was to become a great nation in Egypt - a people upon which the Divine Presence would dwell; a nation that would be Hashem’s representative in the world; one that would show the world the true ways of Hashem.
And there was yet another mission entrusted to this treasured people: to inherit the Land of Israel and purify it from the Canaanites, whose ugly deeds had defiled it.
It is a Torah axiom that in order to create this special nation, there must be 600,000 adult men. This is the least amount that can be called a “nation” and upon which Hashem’s spirit will come to rest. The number is a prerequisite for the actualization of the great Divine vision. In the natural order of things, reaching this level should have taken Bnei Yisrael 400 years, and so this was the amount of time allotted.
But, as we have clarified, this was only a framework. A higher-than-natural birth rate would help reach the goal faster – and in fact, this is exactly what happened to Bnei Yisrael in the desert. The Torah tells us in the beginning of the Book of Sh'mot: “The Children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and grew exceedingly mighty, and the land was filled with them” (Sh'mot 1,7). This unnatural and amazing birthrate is depicted in the Rabbinic teaching that the women “gave birth to six children at once.” The required number of 600,000 males over the age of twenty was thus reached after only 210 years; the remaining 190 years of enslavement could be dispensed with.
In fact, Bnei Yisrael in the desert counted themselves twice: once at the beginning of their 40-year trek, and once at the end. The results were, surprisingly, nearly identical: just over the iron number of 600,000 (even though the entire generation that had been in Egypt, except for Yehoshua and Calev, died during that period).
The Fourth Generation
But one more condition was stipulated in the Covenant Between the Pieces: “And the fourth generation will return here, for the sin of the Emorites will not be completely paid out until then.” (B’reshit 15,16)
Does this mean that the Philistines’ sins will not reach such a grave level until the fourth generation, at which time Avraham’s descendants will conquer them? But who can guarantee that the Gentiles will truly sin so much? Alternatively, is it not conceivable that they will sin so intensely that they will reach the limit before the fourth generation? Free Choice for human beings is a fundamental aspect in the way G-d runs the world; how can it be determined in advance that precisely at the fourth generation, the Canaanites’ fate will be sealed for destruction?
These difficult questions lead us to a new understanding of the above words: “for the sin of the Emorites will not be completely paid out until then.” This phrase begins with the Hebrew word כּי, ki, which here means “for” or “because.” However, the Gemara (Rosh HaShanah 3a) explains that ki can also have three other meanings: “if,” “perhaps,” or “rather.” Let us here use the meaning “if,” and the verse above will mean the following: “The fourth generation will return here, if the sin of the Emorites is not completely paid out until then.”
In other words, “at present, their sins are still not punishable, and therefore Avraham will not be able to wrest the land from them. In fact, he will have to wait for one of two things to happen: Either their sins will be so intense that the land will then fall prey to Avraham’s family, or Avraham’s family will become a full-fledged nation, with Hashem as its G-d, and then they will conquer the land at G-d’s command; by natural law, this will happen in the fourth generation, when Israel will reach the number 600,000.
If Israel proliferates unnaturally, however, and reaches 600,000 men over aged 20 faster than expected, and if they walk in G-d’s ways, there will be no need to wait for the fourth generation or for 400 years.
Revealing the Ketz - the End
Confirmation of this approach is found in the Mishna (Eduyot 2,9), in which Rabbi Akiva teaches:
The father transmits to the son good looks, strength, wealth, wisdom, long life and – the number of generations before him, which is the ketz, the “appointed end,” as is written, “He calls the generations from the beginning.” (Yeshayahu 41,4)
And even though it is said that the Egyptians will afflict Israel “for four hundred years,” the Torah also states, “in the fourth generation they shall return here.” (B’reshit 15,13-16)
This Mishna is somewhat difficult, but let us propose to understand it as follows: The more children we have, even today, the more we bring the Redemption closer for all of them – for the Redemption is dependent upon reaching a certain number of people. The Mishna gives an example: Bnei Yisrael in Egypt enlisted for a national cause, one that was commanded and blessed by G-d, to grow and increase in numbers. By doing so, they caused their children to merit a speedier Redemption, without waiting 400 years or even for a fourth generation of Canaanites (although in truth, the Redemption from Egypt occurred in the fourth Israelite generation: Levi, Kehat, Amram, Moshe). The number of children was the ketz.
The Secret Code of Pakod-Pakadti
We can now also make unique sense of yet another difficult Rabbinic teaching. The Medrash teaches that Yaakov Avinu gave a secret sign to Yosef regarding the identity of the future Redeemer. He told Yosef that when someone comes in the future and says the words פקד פקדתי, pakod pakadti – G-d’s promise that I have surely remembered you (Sh’mot 3,16) – this proves he is the true Redeemer. So states the Medrash Sh’mot Rabba (5,13):
“The people believed” (Sh’mot 4,31) - In what did they believe? In the sign that Moshe brought them. For they had a tradition given by Yaakov to Yosef, and by Yosef to his brother Asher, and by Asher to his daughter Serach, who was still alive at this time. Asher told her that if a Redeemer comes and says pakod pakadti, he is the true Redeemer. And so when Moshe came and said these words, “the people believed” him immediately.
This Medrash is puzzling. If the entire “secret code” was just these two words, why was Yosef not considered the Redeemer? After all, the brothers all heard him say nearly the exact same words: פקוד יפקוד א־לוהים אתכם, G-d will surely remember you (B’reshit 50,25)!
The explanation is that the Medrash is deeper than it seems. The word pakadti means not only “I remembered,” but also “I counted” (similar to Bamidbar 3,40). When Yosef said these words, he was referring to G-d “remembering” Israel. But the sign given by Yaakov to Yosef as a future code was referring to “counting” – and he meant that if someone comes in the future and knows the exact number of Bnei Yisrael at that time, he will be the true Redeemer. For it is obvious that only a prophet can know the exact number of people in the nation. The leaders kept a population registry in which they listed all births and deaths, and thus knew, and kept secret, the exact population. When Moshe Rabbeinu came and said, “Pakod pakadti - your numbers now stand at 600,000,” they knew that Hashem had given him prophecy and that he was certainly the Redeemer, and that the time of the “promised End” had finally come.
The “Blocked-Off” Parashah
Continuing this approach, we note that the weekly portion of Vay’chi, the last one in B’reshit, is different than all the others: When reading the Torah scroll, we see that Vay’chi is separated from its predecessor by only one space – whereas between every other two portions, there is a long space, often reaching until the end of the line. Vay’chi is therefore called a parashah stumah, a “blocked-off portion.”
Chazal, our Sages, provide an explanation for this phenomenon: Vay’chi begins with Yaakov Avinu hoping to reveal, on his deathbed, the end of the Exile to his sons – but it was prophetically “blocked off” from him. Similarly, the beginning of Vay’chi in a Torah scroll is blocked off and hard to find.
However, this explanation is hard to tally with the text. Where do we find a hint in the transition from Vayigash to Vay’chi of the fact that Yaakov wished to reveal secrets of the End of Days, or that they were hidden from him? Furthermore, if the issue here is one of hidden secrets, wouldn’t the most obvious context be the hiding of the brothers’ sale of Yosef from their father?
Let us therefore explain as follows: When our Sages said the end was hidden from Yaakov, they were hinting that in these very verses, we can find the opposite – an actual allusion to the progression toward the Redemption! Vayigash ends as follows:
...וַיִּפְרוּ וַיִּרְבּוּ מְאֹד.
…[the sons of Yaakov] multiplied greatly and became great in numbers. (B'reshit 47,27)
Chazal are telling us: “Let us find the key to the ‘end of days’ precisely here, right where the space between Vayigash and Vay’chi should have been – in these last three words that connect Vayigash to Vay’chi.” And what is the special content of these words that alludes to the Redemption? It is the fact of the great increase in population of Yaakov’s family! The Torah is indicating to us that the hidden “end of the Exile” can actually be revealed in terms of the natural growth and increasing numbers of the families of the sons of Yaakov. Their mission is to reach, as quickly as possible, the number 600,000 – the minimum needed to be considered a nation – so that they will be able to leave Egypt and be redeemed as the nation of G-d.
The Residency of Israel in Egypt
One question still remains. How do we explain the verse that states that Bnei Yisrael resided in Egypt for 430 years? According to what we have learned, the number 400 was just the “framework” number, the maximal time, and they were actually in Egypt for only 210 years. Why then does the Torah specify that they resided there for 430 years – and not once, but twice! We first read:
וּמוֹשַׁב בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יָשְׁבוּ בְּמִצְרָיִם שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה.
And the residency of Bnei Yisrael in Egypt [was] 430 years. (Sh'mot 12,40)
And the very next verse says it again – and even gives it extra emphasis:
וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה
וַיְהִי בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יָצְאוּ כָּל צִבְאוֹת ה' מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.
At the end of 430 years, on this very day,
all the hosts of the Lord - Bnei Yisrael - went out of Egypt.
The seeming redundancy within just two verses leads us to the following explanation. The Torah first tells us, a few verses earlier, that Bnei Yisrael left Egypt:
וַיִּסְעוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵרַעְמְסֵס סֻכֹּתָה כְּשֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף
רַגְלִי הַגְּבָרִים לְבַד מִטָּף.
The Children of Israel journeyed from Raamses to Sukkot,
some 600,000 men on foot, besides children. (verse 37)
The important detail here is that they numbered 600,000. We then reach Verse 40, which we must read as a question: “And what about the residency of Bnei Yisrael in Egypt for 430 years?” It is as if the Torah is asking (which it occasionally does), “And what about the number of years that Hashem stated in the Brit Bein HaBetarim?” (The discrepancy between the numbers 400 and 430 will be addressed below.)
The answer is given in the next verse, whose literal translation is this: “At the ‘end,’ the ketz, of thirty years and four hundred years.” The important thing is not the duration, but rather the “end,” that is, the time that is suited for the Redemption because of the four generations and the 600,000 people. The verse is saying that the period of enslavement known as the 430, or 400, years had come to its “end,” its ketz – because of the fulfillment of other conditions. Therefore, with these conditions fulfilled, even before the specified time limit, “they went out of Egypt on this very day.”
But we must still explain the fact that this set of verses, in Sh’mot, states 430 years, while in Brit Bein HaBetarim we clearly read 400 years.
In accordance with what we have learned, we would like to propose an answer based on the Torah’s emphasis in Sh’mot of “At the end of thirty years” – which tells us that these 30 years are themselves a maximal framework and not a duration – and in fact, these 30 years were ultimately reduced.
To explain: A total of 30 years was allocated for two purposes: 1) Preparing Israel’s arrival in Egypt, and 2) preparing their departure from Egypt. Though these events were separated by centuries, the total number of years allocated for them was 30.
The preparations for the departure took only one year – the year of the Ten Plagues. Israel was not subjugated or tortured during that year. This leaves 29 years for the preparations for the descent into Egypt. They began with Yosef’s kidnapping at age 17, and continued during his 13 years of imprisonment until he stood before Pharaoh (at age 30; B’reshit 41,46). Add another 14 years that were supposed to be for “plenty” and “famine,” and this gives 27. In addition, Yosef was supposed to spend another two years in prison, as we will explain below, giving exactly the total of 29 years of preparation for Israel’s subjugation. This was just a framework, however; in practice, it was reduced to only 22: thirteen in prison, seven years of plenty, and two years of famine.
How do we know that Yosef was supposed to spend another two years in prison? Because the Torah tells us that after Yosef successfully resolved the dream of the Minister of Drinks, he was called to interpret King Pharaoh’s dream at the ‘end’ of two years (B’reshit 41,1). Again, this phrase “at the ‘end’ of” indicates not a duration, but rather a framework; Yosef could have spent two more years in prison, but because the proper conditions were met earlier, there was no need for him to do so – and in fact, according to this, two years did not pass between the release of the Minister of Drinks and Pharaoh’s dream.
Thus, 30 years were allocated as a framework for preparations – but only 23 years were used. This is why the Torah wrote “At the end, ketz, of thirty years.”
Additional evidence for this approach is found in the Hagadah of Pesach, where we read מלמד שהקב"ה חישב את הקץ, “Hashem calculated the end.” What was there to calculate? Could He not just wait for the time to arrive?
Not at all; a precise calculation was necessary. First it had to be determined how many years are necessary to reach 600,000 Jews under natural conditions. G-d then had to figure how to “shrink” this number of years by calculating a miraculously high birth rate, one that would jibe with Israel’s ability to endure hardships and Pharaoh’s cruel decrees. This can be done only by G-d.
We thus see again, by Chazal telling us that Hashem “calculated” the end, that the 400 years were only a framework, not a specific duration. Such is the work of the Creator of the World, Who watches and supervises His beloved nation from up close, and calculates for us our Redemption and the end of our exile.
In conclusion, let us note this very interesting fact: The State of Israel was declared in the year 1948, when the number of Jews in the Land of Israel stood at some 600,000 – in keeping with the axiom that the Jewish Nation’s existence is based on this number. True, the population included not only adult males but also males younger than 20 years of age and women; but the declaration was a political one, and not one rendering the Jewish People – which numbered then over 10 million people – a full-fledged nation.
Day and night, G-d sites and calculates for us the ketz of our Exile and the time for our Redemption, as the Prophet Jeremiah states (29,11):
כִּי אָנֹכִי יָדַעְתִּי אֶת הַמַּחֲשָׁבֹת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי חֹשֵׁב עֲלֵיכֶם נְאֻם ה'
מַחְשְׁבוֹת שָׁלוֹם וְלֹא לְרָעָה לָתֵת לָכֶם אַחֲרִית וְתִקְוָה.
For I know the thoughts I think about you, says G-d,
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.