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Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster

Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster

Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster is an assistant professor of Bible at Yeshiva University and has written several articles for myjewishlearning.com.

Isaiah – Chapter 14

May 2, 2012, by

G-d will destroy Babylonia, then have mercy on the Jews and return them to their land, where they will rule over their former oppressors. On that day, the Jewish people will have relief from their sorrows. They will say to the Babylonians that G-d has broken the staff of those who would oppress others. Even […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 13

May 1, 2012, by

Now Isaiah shares a prophecy regarding Babylonia. Signal the distant people so that the invaders may enter and conquer Babylonia. G-d has summoned His agents (Rashi says Persia and Media) to do His will. There is a sound like crowds of people, like nations gathering; G-d appoints officers over the armies. The Persians and Medes […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 12

April 30, 2012, by

A small chapter – only six verses! When Israel sees the other nations humbled, they will thank G-d, because He was angry with us but He turned His wrath away. He is the G-d of salvation; we trust in Him and do not fear. We joyfully draw water from the well of salvation (this verse […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 11

April 29, 2012, by

In this chapter, Isaiah tells us about the Moshiach (Messiah), who will be descended from King David. What does Isaiah reveal? He will be wise, understanding and pious. He will be driven to do the will of G-d and will have exceptional powers of perception. He will judge fairly, not taking advantage of the poor […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 10

April 28, 2012, by

People who forge notes to collect money not due to them, or who miscarry justice at the expense of the poor, widows and orphans – such people will get their comeuppance. What will they do when G-d comes to settle the score? Where can they run? And what will they do with all their ill-gotten […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 9

April 27, 2012, by

The people who walked in darkness – the people of Jerusalem, who lived under the threat of exile – saw a great light with Assyria’s defeat. Those who lived in the shadow of death had light shine on them. G-d has raised the nation up, rather than their enemies, and they rejoice over Him as […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 8

April 26, 2012, by

G-d told Isaiah to take a large scroll and to write on it in plain script to hasten spoils and quicken booty (which really is the same thing twice, in different words). Uriah the Kohein (priest) and Zechariah the prophet were called as witnesses. Isaiah and his wife had a son, possibly the one foretold […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 7

April 25, 2012, by

Isaiah prophesied in the time of King Achaz of Judah. At the time, R’tzin, king of Aram and Pekach, king of Israel were teamed up against Judah. Achaz was worried, because each of these kings had defeated him alone and now they were combining their efforts. G-d sent Isaiah and his son, Shor Yoshuv, to […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 6

April 24, 2012, by

This chapter contains Isaiah’s very first prophecy. It says that it occurred in the year that King Uziyahu died, but it is generally accepted that it means the year he was struck with tzaraas (leprosy). In his vision, Isaiah saw the throne of G-d. (This is an anthropomorphism; of course, G-d has no literal body […]

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Isaiah – Chapter 5

April 23, 2012, by

Isaiah starts this chapter with the allegory of a vineyard. His beloved friend had a vineyard in a fertile field, which he fenced in and cleared of debris. He planted it and placed a watchman in it, but instead of grapes, wild berries grew there. This is like the people of Jerusalem. G-d cleared the […]

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