By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir
The Prophet Isaiah (Chapter 4) addresses the prophets and sages in every generation and asks, “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people! Bid Jerusalem take heart” (verse 1). And what is the consolation Isaiah offers? “Proclaim unto her that her time of service is accomplished, that her guilt is paid off; that she hath received of the L-rd’s hand double for all her sins” (verse 2). In other words, the time earmarked for her in the exile has passed. The end of the exile has arrived, for she has received twice the punishment coming to her in the Babylonian exile and in the 2,000 year long exile. The atonement for her sin has been completed.
In the stage of actual redemption Isaiah addresses them and says: “O you who tell good tidings to Zion – get you up into the high mountain. O you who tell good tidings to Jerusalem – lift up our voice with strength. Lift it up! Be not afraid. Say unto the cities of Judah: ‘Behold your God! Behold, the L-rd G-d will come as a Mighty One” (verses 9-10). Those nations that will see fit to fight us will be like a drop in the bucket, like dust on a scale, as it says, “Behold, the nations are as a drop in the bucket, as the small dust of the balance. Behold the isles are as a mote in weight. Lebanon is not sufficient fuel, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for burnt-offerings. All the nations are as nothing before Him; they are accounted by Him as things of nought, and vanity” (verses 15-17).
Lebanon is here compared to a forest of trees all aflame. Isaiah addresses the skeptics, those weak in their faith, and he says: “Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: ‘My way is hidden from the L-rd; my right is passed over from my G-d’? Did you not know? Have you not heard that the everlasting G-d, the L-rd, Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, nor is weary? His discernment is unfathomable. He gives power to the faint; and to him that has no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait for the L-rd shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” (27-31)
Today, with our own eyes we see Isaiah’s words being fulfilled in our day. After two thousand years of exile, after our having undergone the calamitous Holocaust, we are rising to rebirth in the land of our life’s blood. Millions of Jews are being gathered homeword, as Isaiah said, “Even as a shepherd who feeds his flock, who gathers the lambs into his arm, carrying them in his bosom, gently leading nurslings” (verse11). We can see with our own eyes how the land is developing with great strides. Roads and train tracks are being laid out, and the Isaiah’s words are being fulfilled: “‘Hark!’ one calls: ‘Clear in the wilderness the way of the L-rd, make plain in the desert a highway for our G-d.’ Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the rugged shall be made level, and the rough places a plain” (verses 3-4).
The nations are rising up against us to fight us, and these nations are likened to grass: “The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the L-rd blows upon it – Surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our G-d shall endure forever” (7-8).
Looking forward to complete salvation,