Isaiah – Chapter 65

Holier Than Thou

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d says, “I encouraged the Jewish people to return to Me by sending them prophets, but they wouldn’t listen. I said, ‘Here I am!’ but they wouldn’t turn to Me. I spread My hands out to them, but they continued to go in their bad way. The people continue to antagonize Me and they sacrifice to idols. They try to summon forces of necromancy, they eat pork and other forbidden foods. They tell the truly righteous, ‘Keep away from me because I’m holier than you!’ ” These people really anger G-d.

G-d will not rest until He has paid them back for their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They denied G-d and worshipped idols; that’s why they were exiled and that’s the sin that will be punished first. But G-d will not completely destroy the nation. He will remove the righteous and they will inherit Jerusalem and the Temple, to live there. The Sharon (a region in Israel) will become a place for sheep and the Valley of Achor will be a place for cattle – this will be a blessing for those who actually sought G-d.

Those who turned their backs on G-d, however, will fall to the sword because G-d called them and they refused to answer. They did whatever they wanted, not what G-d wanted of them. G-d’s faithful will eat, but the faithless will go hungry. The former will drink, the latter go thirsty. The righteous will rejoice while the wicked will know shame. The wicked will be used in a curse; people will say, “May it happen like it did to…” Conversely, the righteous will be used for a blessing.

In the Messianic era, everyone in the world will swear in the Name of G-d and there will be no wars because we’ll all be on the same side. There will be a “new Heaven and a new Earth” meaning a whole new order – the lowly will be exalted and the arrogant will be humbled. G-d will make Jerusalem a place of rejoicing – crying will not be heard there. Everyone will live their full life span because there will be no wars. 100 will be considered an early death, caused by one’s sins. The people will build houses and plant vineyards that they will enjoy themselves, rather than dying and having others inhabit. People will have long lives, outliving the buildings they erect.

It will be that G-d will answer them even when they have not yet called upon Him. The wolf and lamb will dwell together and the lion will eat straw like cattle. Snakes will cause no harm. (These are metaphors for peace – aggressors will put down their weapons and cease their hostile activities. There are those, whoever, who take it literally to mean that G-d will change nature itself so that lions eat straw, etc.)

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