By Rabbi Oury Cherki
Machon Meir and Rabbi of Beit Yehuda Congregation, Jerusalem
This week's Haftarah describes the stages of the consolation of Zion in a very clear way (Yeshayahu 54:11-55:5). Zion is depicted as a poor woman with a tempestuous soul who will not be consoled until all the goals of redemption have been achieved. The consolation takes place gradually, corresponding in a remarkable way to the events of our era:
- First of all, the destruction of the land must be reversed and its dust and stones must become precious: "I will set your floors with gems and your foundations with sapphires" [54:11]. This has been true since the beginning of the establishment of the early settlements.
- The land will return to being desired in terms of its economy and its general beauty: "And I will make your windows of rubies and your gates of carbuncle stones, and all your boundaries will be marked with jewels" [54:12]. Today Israel is at the very top of world economics.
- The center of Torah will be transferred to Zion: "And all your sons will study G-d and there will be great peace among your sons" [54:13]. This has been true in the days since the Holocaust.
- A society will be created which rests on foundations of social justice: "Establish yourself through justice, stay away from oppression" [54:14]. This is what those who established the country tried to do.
- The return of military deterrence: "They may try to gather against you, but not without my support" [54:15].
- Removal of a threat of attack by an enemy with dangerous weapons, and his destruction: "I have created the smith who will make destructive weapons... But every weapon turned against you will not succeed" [54:16-17]. This could be taken straight from current events.
- An attack against our nation using the tools of justice and moral values: "You will condemn any tongues turned against you in judgement" [54:17]. This is true of all of our wars and struggles.
- Those who oppose us will be defeated by the forces of the community which serves G-d: "This is the heritage of G-d's servants. Their righteousness stems from me, says G-d." [54:17]. This is the goal of those who study and support the Torah of G-d.
- The renewal of the thirst for spiritual enlightenment, and the revelation of the innermost secrets of the Torah: "Let all those who are thirsty go to the water... Listen carefully to me, and you will eat well and your souls will enjoy nourishment." [55:1-2]. This is plain for all to see.
And all of this leads us to our mission for the future:
- A renewal of the Words of G-d: "Bend your ears and come to me, listen and your souls will live" [55:3].
- The return of the Kingdom of David: "And I will make with you an eternal covenant, through the faithful kindness of David" [55:3].
- The mission of the political leadership is to teach new stages of morality to all humanity: "Behold, I have made him into a witness to the nations, a prince who commands the nations" [55:4].
All of these elements taken together form the basis for a new status of the world. The complaint of the other nations against Yisrael is that their covenant with G-d ignores the rest of humanity. But look what is starting to happen: The more distant nations of the world – not only those who have been in historical and cultural contact with us throughout the years – are coming to stand in the shadow of the G-d of Yisrael and to accept His guidance: "Behold, you will call out to nations which did not know you, and nations which did not know you will run to you, for the sake of your G-d and for the sake of the holy one of Yisrael, who glorified you" [55:5].
And in the end only this is what can console the "poor tempestuous woman" – nothing less than transmitting the universal message of the people of Yisrael.