Can someone help me understand the first Ibn Ezra on the pasuk?

The pasuk:

וזכרתי להם ברית ראשנים אשר הוצאתי־אתם מארץ מצרים לעיני הגוים להית להם לאלקים אני ה׳

But I will remember for them the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the eyes of the nations, to be their God: I am Hashem.

Ibn Ezra:

וזכרתי להם. לעולם

But I will remember for them: Forever

How does he learn forever? What is forever? Why is that relevant and what is that teaching us?

  • 1
    I came across a Agra DeKala (Bechukosai 20) where he quotes a posuk in Malachi 3:6. G-d does not change, so too does He remember the covenant of the sons of Yaakov forever etc....
    – Shmuel
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 19:50
  • @Shmuel my reading of that is that the forever is going on the fact that He will never switch us for another nation. Is that what Ibn Ezra wanted to teach us?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 19:58
  • That might be what "G-d remembers them forever" might imply.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 20:03
  • 1
    I just bought and received sefer ילקוט מאמרים ומכתבים from Rav Elchonon Wasserman. On page 195, Rav Wasserman cites the same posuk in Malachi as the Agra DeKala. Rav Wasserman had the same observation/question as you, and says that G-d and Torah and Yisrael are eternal. Just as G-d and Torah are eternal, so is Yisrael. Btw.... hashacha pratis that I found this when "scrolling" through this newly received sefer :)
    – Shmuel
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 14:58
  • 1
    @Shmuel not again! What is this the 6th time now? BH thanks for that, feel free to make it an official answer
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 15:02

2 Answers 2


In sefer ילקוט מאמרים ומכתבים (Yalkut Maamarim Umichtavim, p. 135), Rav Elchonon Wasserman cites the same posuk in Malachi as the Agra DeKalah, as mentioned in my comment.

The Torah says:

For I am the L-rd, I do not change; therefore you sons of Yaakov are not consumed.

Rav Wasserman then cites the Zohar (I forgot the exact place of this Zohar), which says that G-d, Torah and Yisrael are one. Rav Wasserman explains this to mean that just as G-d and the Torah never change, and are eternal, so too Yisrael is eternal before Hashem's "eyes".

For G-d is our guardian and He keeps Yisrael with Him, forever. [...] I have not changed, I will not changed [...].

However, Rav Wasserman adds something in. He writes that Yisrael is considered eternal because of their upholding of the Holy Torah. Why? Because those who cling to the Torah, are alive (see Mishlei 3:18).

Rav Wasserman adds:

It is clear for me. In the countries where Torah-study is ended, Jewishness ends [...] (my own translation).


He probably means לעולם as if to say "no matter what happens" something akin to the ramban:

וטעם וזכרתי להם ברית ראשונים שאזכור להם כן בין בארץ בין בחוצה לארץ בגלות הנרמזת כאן וכן בכל הדורות וזה טעם "לעיני הגוים" כי יעשה בהם בעבור שמו הגדול שלא יתחלל בגוים ולא למענם כי לא עשו תשובה ולא נתכפרו עונותם וכך אמרו רבותינו (תו"כ פרק ח י) לא מאסתים בימי אספסינוס ולא געלתים בימי יון לכלותם להפר בריתי אתם בימי המן כי אני ה' אלהיהם בימי גוג ומגוג: AND I WILL FOR THEIR SAKES REMEMBER THE COVENANT OF THEIR ANCESTORS. This means that I will remember it for their sakes whether in the Land or outside the Land, both in the [first] exile alluded to here and likewise throughout all generations. This is the sense of the expression in the sight of the nations [And I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors … in the sight of the nations], for He will do [good] to them because of His Great Name, so that it be not profaned among the nations, but not for their sake, since they have not repented, and [thus] their iniquities have not been forgiven. And so did our Rabbis say: “I will not reject them in the days of Vespasian. Neither will I abhor them in the days of Greece. [Neither will I abhor them] to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them in the days of Haman. For I am the Eternal their G-d in the days of Gog and Magog.”


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