of Parshat Eikev - 5760
Zion said, 'The L-rd has Abandoned Me' " (Yeshayahu 49:14)
Complaint of Jewish People
begins, surprisingly because this is a Haftarah of Consolation, with an
accusation by Zion, the City of Yerushalayim, against HaShem:
"But Zion said, 'The L-rd has abandoned me,
Response of HaShem
"Could a woman forget the child she had nursed,
of a mother is to be a fountain of never-failing love for her child, no
matter what. But even if that
aspect built into Creation should somehow fail, HaShem's love for the Jewish
people would not.
of HaShem's loyalty to the Jewish People is described by a slightly
unfamiliar metaphor (engraving on the palms); perhaps similar to the
Midrashic reference to HaShem's wearing of Tefillin,
with verses inscribed upon them in praise of Israel), but its meaning is
"Behold I have engraved you upon the Palms of My Hands,
"walls" in the above verse referring to the broken walls of
Yerushalayim; perhaps this is similar to the declaration by David that
"My sin is continually before me," referring to the broken walls
of his spiritual loyalty to HaShem.
Description of Ingathering of the Exiles
"Your children made haste;
expression "made haste" is written in the past tense even though
it refers to an event in the future (as does "will go forth"),
because that is a familiar style of Prophecy;
namely, to write about something in the future as if it had already occurred
- because it is as clear to the
Prophet, as if it had already
Metzudat David: They focus on the fact that the verse portrays the
destroyers of Israel as going forth from
the midst of Israel; this is because our greatest
enemies have always been the internal ones; the self-hating and
self-destructive Jews who deny
any special qualities of the Jewish People, or any special relationship with
"Lift up your eyes round-about, and behold:
"round-about" - because they will be coming from all directions;
live" - this is a form of Divine Promise, like "I swear by
Myself," that will never be rescinded;
with an ornament" - the population of a city is like an ornament for
"For your waste and desolate places
RADAK and Metzudat David: "shall
be too narrow" - all the lands that were destroyed will be built up
again, and so full of people that it will literally be crowded; and your
former enemies will be far away, never again to tread upon your land as
As of Year
5760, we are beginning to see the crowding of the neighborhoods of
Yerushalayim; the process of the withdrawal of our enemies is harder to see,
but perhaps has begun as well.
"Those of your children who were missing
and Metzudat David pursue the same idea in the above verse (49:20) as in the
preceding verse (49:19).
"Then you will say in your heart,
Participation of Nations of the World in
"This says the L-rd G-d,
"And Kings will be as your foster-fathers,
"And you will know" - "Then you will know that I am
the L-d, and everything is in My Hands to lower and to raise up, and though
you were low for such a long time, you will yet be exalted over the nations,
and I am the One Who does not disappoint
those who place their hope in Me.
For if you placed your hope in Me for a long time while you were in
Exile, your hope was not disappointed
(same as "lo avdah tikvatam,"
"Their hope was not disappointed," in the Israeli national anthem)
and there will no longer be
cause for you to feel shame with respect to the nations, who
used to say that your hope is lost."
HaShem Deals With Those Nations who Persist in
Opposing the Jewish People
"Shall prey be taken from the Mighty?
Metzudat David: "Do you
think, Esav the Mighty, that what you have taken from your righteous
brother, Yaakov, cannot be retrieved from you?"
think, enemies of Israel, that the lives you have stolen from the Jewish
People, will not be returned?
"Thus says HaShem,
RADAK in the
name of his father: HaShem says
to these nations:
retrieve that which you stole from My People, because:
I am stronger than you are.
Your claim to legitimacy is false, because your
laws are immoral."
may their names be erased, claimed to be a very lawful and civilized people;
they claimed that all the bestial crimes they committed against the Jews
were "justified" by law. This
is what happens when the human being arrogates to himself the role of
lawgiver, and abandons G-d, the true source of morality.
"And I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh,
"Thus says HaShem,
David: " 'Let's look,'
says HaShem, at the 'Get,' the Bill of Divorcement mentioned in the Book of Yirmiyahu
3:8 for the cause of the divorce. It
is clearly stated there that the reason is your sins.
Therefore, if you repent, the divorce will be null and void."
"Why was it that when I came, nobody was here,
"I clothe the heavens with blackness,
David: The second part of Verse
3 repeats the first idea in the verse, a common stylistic literary device in
4-11, Yeshayahu defends his own legitimacy, identifying the One Who has
charged him with his mission as "A-do-nay E-lo-him," "L-rd
G-d" four times in the series of eight p'sukim.
There are three other references to HaShem as the One Who has sent
Yeshayahu, and has given him the tools he needs for success, in linguistic
terms and in terms of moral authority.
He has also given him the strength to declare that "I have set
my face like a flint" (Yeshayahu 50:7) against any and all opposition
from the People, and the confidence to say in the same verse, "And I
know that I shall not be ashamed."
"Listen to me, who pursue Justice,
tells the Jewish People that they should contemplate their great founders, Avraham
and Sarah, two
spiritual giants, whose merit lasts from the beginning of Jewish History
till the coming of the Mashiach.
two opinions as to who is the "rock" and who is the
"opening." One is
that Avraham is the "rock;" this accords with his identification
as one of the "eitanei olam," the "strong ones of the
world." And our Mother
Sarah is the "opening," because the womb of a woman is like a
cistern. He quotes the "Chacham,"
the Wise Man Rabbi Moshe ben Ezra, who says the reverse, that the
"rock" is Sarah, for she was the passive one, the recipient of
blessing, and Avraham was the "opener," who acted upon and opened
"Look unto Avraham your father,
The connection of this matter to "Consolation" of the
Jewish People is that just as Avraham and Sarah had, when they became aged,
given up on the hope of having children, and You miraculously gave them a
child, so will the People of Israel, languishing
in a seemingly endless Exile, have given up, more-or-less, on Redemption;
just at that time, will HaShem miraculously redeem them.
"For the L-rd has comforted Zion,
David: Yeshayahu speaks of the Redemption as if it had already happened,
though it would be far in the future, because such is the manner of the
Prophets of Israel, who see the future as clearly as they see the past.
The thanksgiving referred to is the expression of gratitude by the
Jewish People for all the Miracles and Wonders that HaShem will have
performed for them throughout their history.
Again we see
that a Haftarah of Consolation is not a monolithic piece, sounding only
notes of Redemption. It is an
interwoven composition of Criticism for Israel's misdeeds and of Reward for
its great loyalties. But the
bottom lines of all these Haftarot are, uniformly, exalted portraits of a
magnificent future for the People of Israel, which in the End will choose
holiness and will return to HaShem, and which will lead the nations of the
World to His service.
Rabbi Pinchas Frankel
Rabbi Frankel is an Educational Coordinator at the OU