“Vengeance is Mine! And restitution!” (Dt.32:35)—
I’ll exact retribution from the [Wicked] personally—
and not by means of an angelic messenger,
and not be means of a human agent.
Along the lines of what is said:
For I am sending you to Pharaoh” (Ex.3:10)
And it states:
“And the angelic messenger of HASHEM
went out and struck the camp of Assyria” (2 Ki.19:35)
“Vengeance is Mine! And I will pay (‘ashalem)!”2
is not written here.
Rather—what is written?
“Vengeance is Mine! And restitution (shilem)!” (Dt.32:35)—
I am paying (meshalem) the rewards for the [righteous] deeds
your Patriarchs performed before me in this eon.
And, similarly, He states:
“I will not be silent, but indeed I have paid” (shilamti)! (Is.65:6)
“And I will repay
— first and then a second time—
double for their iniquity and their sin” (Jer.16:18).
“The moment their foot stumbles” (Dt.32:35)—
this is in line with what us written:
“They were trampled underfoot,
by the feet of the poor, and the footfalls of the abject—
for the day of their destruction draws near.” (Is.26:6)
Said R. Yose:
Among those who say,
“For the day of their destruction draws near” (Is.26:6)—
[insisting] that retributions take their time in coming,
all the more so should it be true
among those who say:
“After many days they will be visited” (Is.24:22)—
[retribution may be delayed, but it is sure to come].
“Now unfolding events speed toward them” (Dt.32:35)—
when the Blessed Holy One
brings retribution upon the nations of the world,
He will shake the entire world down on them.
And so does He say:
“Their horses fly like eagles, hurrying to gobble up” (Hab.1:8).
And it says:
“Now, those who say:
Let Him hurry, let Him rush his deeds,
so that we may see them—
and so that they may at last arrive” (Is.5:19)
Now when the Blessed Holy One brings troubles upon Israel,
He does not bring them immediately.
Rather, He deliberates.
He turns Israel over to the four Kingdoms, to be subjected to them.
And, similarly, He says:
“Do not fear! For I am with you . . . to redeem you.” (Jer.1:8)
“And though I will discipline you with justice,
I will not wipe you out” (Jer.30:11).3
- H:337-338; JN2:368-369.
- The root, sh-l-m (“to pay, make whole, restore”), is threaded in various constructions throughout this discourse, providing an overarching theme of restitution of good and evil. Cf. Pisqa’ 336.3
- MSS and editions vary concerning which words of Jer.1:8 and Jer.30:11 are to be cited.