of Parshat Ki
Teitzei - 5760
O Barren Woman, You Who Could Not Bear"
of Parshat Ki Tetze is the fifth of the "Haftarot of Consolation,"
in the series of seven such Haftarot. Both
communities take this Haftarah from the Book of Yeshayahu, beginning with
"Perek"/Chapter 54, Verse 1, through (and including) Chapter 54,
conversation that Avudraham constructs from these Haftarot, the "Shiva
D'Nechemta," among HaShem,
His Prophets and the People of Israel, this is the one in
which HaShem compares the People of Israel to a wife who has long
been barren. He tells this "Wife of His Youth," who has for so long been
banished and cloaked in misery, to sing out with joy, for her time of
Redemption is approaching. Then
she will have a hard time
keeping track of all her children, for many will return by means of a mighty
wave of "Teshuvah," Repentance, that will sweep over the
world, bringing her children home, and many more will flock to her from the
surrounding nations, who will have come
to recognize the "Holy One of Israel" as the "King over all
the Earth." And still more
will return by the miraculous route of "Techiyat HaMetim,"
"Revival of the Dead, which I believe is alluded to in the Haftarah.
Translation and Commentary on the Haftarah
Yeshayahu 54:1 - Image of the Barren Woman
barren woman, you who could not bear,
that was once densely populated, had become like a barren woman, who had
never experienced the pangs of labor (RADAK), based on similarity of
"lo cholah" used here,
to "chil ka-yoledah," a
definite reference to a woman in labor.
Now, at the time of her Redemption, due to her Repentance, children
again would overflow her boundaries.
Yeshayahu 54:2 - Image of the Tent
the place of your tent,
The image of
a "tent" is used perhaps because Israel had returned to its modest
ways that were noticed and praised by the Prophet Bilaam, when he
prophesied, "How goodly are your tents, O Jacob!" (Bamidbar 24:5)
strengthen your stakes" - The stakes that are planted firmly in the
ground, so that they cannot be moved. Strengthen
them further, so that they may never
be moved, representing the promise by HaShem that Yerushalayim will
never be destroyed again. (Metzudat David)
Yeshayahu 54:3 - Image of Expansion in all
you shall spread to the right and to the left;
the Midrash, the boundaries of Yerushalayim will expand at the time of the Mashiach.
RADAK mentions similarity to phrase "U-faratzta yamah va-kedmah
tzafonah va-negbah!" "And you will burst forth to the west and to
the east to the north and to the south!" a theme song of Lubavitch
Chassidut (RADAK doesn't mention
that fact), a definitely Messianically oriented Jewish Organization.
- Image of the Abandoned Wife
Metzudat David have somewhat different approaches to this "Passuk"/Verse;
I'll present both, beginning with the RADAK:
not!" - Do not be afraid that you will once again experience the
troubles that you experienced in the Land of Israel, when you came back from
Exile after the First Temple and the Second Temple.
you will not be put to shame" - When a person returns to greatness
after a fall, and again experiences defeat, he can be permanently scarred.
you will forget the shame of your youth" - the experiences already
referred to; and they are referred to as "of your youth" because
they will have happened long ago.
the embarrassment of your widowhood" - The troubles that afflicted you
when you were in Exile, like a "widow;" you will be able to forget
all those troubles because of all the blessings that HaShem will shower upon
not!" - essentially same as RADAK, except that that he seems to be
picturing the "Babylonians" still around in Eretz Yisrael.
don't be embarrassed" - Don't be afraid to raise your head and seek
positions of power, a la Senator Joe Lieberman, for fear of stimulating the
resentment of the non-Jews, and inviting further Exile.
You will have nothing to fear!
will not be found wanting" - You are promised by HaShem that you need
not fear seeking high status.
the shame of your youth you will forget" - The embarrassment you
experienced in your "youth" as a nation, when you had to play the
role of the "Wandering Jew" in Exile will never again be allowed
embarrassment of your widowhood" - The shame of being without a king,
like a widow without a husband; loss
of independence, you will never again experience.
your Maker is your Husband
your Maker is your Husband" - Your Creator will be your Master; not as
in the Exile, when you had other masters.
L-rd of Hosts is His Name" - And the Power is in His Hands; for He is
the Master both Above and Below.
of all the Earth" - He will be, then.
the L-rd has called you,
wife as-if abandoned" - You aren't like a woman whose husband has died,
for your "Husband," so to speak, is Alive and In Existence
Forever; rather, you are like a wife whose husband got angry with her and
left her for a long time.
the wife of One's Youth be rejected?" - And if you think for a moment
that He will abandon you forever, it is not so, because are
you not the Wife of His Youth, to whom He will give Eternal loyalty? (RADAK)
Yeshayahu 54:7-8 - Image of Brief Anger and
small moment have I forsaken you;
was a little angry I hid My Face
and Metzudat David are together here in their explanation that these
"P'sukim" express the idea that all the suffering that the
People of Israel experienced throughout the years of Exile will, from the
perspective of Eternity, be perceived as
suffering for only an instant, when compared to the Great Good with
which HaShem will reward us.
It seems to
me that all of these commentators are here making an unspoken assumption -
that the "P'sukim" have invoked the idea of "Techiyat HaMetim," "Resurrection of the Dead,"
one of the Fundamental Beliefs of Judaism.
For how else
can we dismiss as inconsequential even just the following four points of
Jewish suffering: the destruction of the two Temples with the City of
Jerusalem, the destruction of Beitar
and the Holocaust. What can
atone, so to speak, for the
suffering of those who died and of those who lost them?
believe that we must picture this Passuk as speaking in the environment of
"Techiyat HaMetim," when someway or other, the martyrs have been
brought back to the bosom of their People.
- Image of Oath and Covenant of HaShem
this is as the waters of Noach to Me;
of Noach" - RADAK mentions that the text will support two versions of
"As the Waters of Noach" (the opinion of "Menachem Ibn
Seruk," the Grammarian)
"As in the Days of Noach" (the opinion of
way, the basic meaning is the same; namely, that as HaShem has sworn not to
destroy the World by another "Mabul,"
a Great Flood, as in the time of Noach, so has he sworn that the Jewish
People will never experience another Exile.
the mountains may depart,
Even if "Zechut
Avot," the Merit of the Forefathers, a very potent source of blessing
for us, runs out, HaShem's Relationship of love with the Jewish People will
Metzudat David: Even if the mountains and the hills are moved by the violent
force of an earthquake, nothing will shake My Covenant of Peace with the
Rabbi Pinchas Frankel
Rabbi Frankel is an Educational Coordinator at the OU