Isaiah – Chapter 66

Homecoming

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d says, “Heaven is My throne and Earth is my footstool. What building is sufficient to hold My presence? I made Heaven and Earth as I wished, but I still look upon the downtrodden people who do My will. Those who offer sacrifices without repenting are actually making things worse for themselves; they chose their path and they prefer abominations. I, too, will choose a path of destruction, bringing their worst fears upon them. This is because they did not return when I called, preferring to indulge their desires.”

Listen to the word of G-d and tremble. Your own brothers tossed you out as if you were unclean, thinking they would be the ones to glorify G-d. When they see your joy, they will be ashamed.

A sound comes from Jerusalem and the Temple – it is G-d punishing His enemies. The redemption will come quickly, like a woman who delivers before labor even begins. Did anyone ever see such a thing? No, but the exiles’ return will be that sudden.

Everyone who loves Jerusalem and mourned for her can now rejoice in her renewed splendor! Peace will flow like a river and you will enjoy the wealth of nations. G-d will console the nation like a mother consoles her son. You will see and rejoice when G-d reveals Himself to His faithful and punishes His enemies.

G-d will arrive in fire, fanning His wrath with flames. G-d will execute judgment with His sword and many will die, idolaters among them. All the nations will gather and see G-d’s glory.

Those who survive will be sent to the nations, to distant places that never heard of G-d, to share His glory with them. They will return the Jews scattered in their lands to Jerusalem and G-d will restore the Kohanim and Leviim among them to His service.

The new way of the world is already before G-d and the Jews will never again be exiled. Every Rosh Chodesh and every Shabbos, all humanity will bow down to G-d. They will see those who rebelled against G-d punished forever.

The closing note of all humanity bowing before G-d on Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh brings the Book full circle, as chapter 1 started the Book by saying that Rosh Chodesh and holidays had become tiresome to G-d thanks to the insincerity of His worshippers. After the punishment and the redemption, the situation will be rectified and G-d will happily accept service offered with a whole heart.

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