We read this week what is known as the Tochacha, dire warning of the evil and misfortunes that will befall the Jewish people in the Land of Israel if they abandon the Torah and do not follow its practice. After all these dreadful and disastrous tragic events befall the country and the Jews do not repent, the Torah goes a step further and warns that the cities will be destroyed and enemies will inhabit the land.
The Torah warns that the land would become desolate: וְשָׁמְמוּ עָלֶיהָ אֹיְבֵיכֶם הַיֹּשְׁבִים בָּהּ, “…and your foes who dwell upon it will be desolate.” (Lev. 26,32) Rashi, quoting the Sifra (BeChukotai 2) maintains that this statement is a kind benefit for the Jews. The land will be so desolate that no enemy will be able to prosper on it.
History has proven this to be true. All the conquerors of Israel throughout the ages, and there were many, were never successful in making the land flourish. The land was a barren expanse for centuries with very few people living on it. It was only when the Jews started coming back, and started rebuilding it, did it start thriving and prospering.