Haftarah for Shoftim

Isaiah 51:12-52:12

G-d replies to Isaiah that He is the One Who consoles. Why fear a mortal man who withers like grass? People forget G-d, Who created the universe, and they worry about humans, who are here today and gone tomorrow. Your oppressor is mortal; he has no power to harm you. It is G-d who moves the sea and who put words of Torah in our mouths. He sheltered us and preserved us to be like the stars of Heaven and the sands of the shore.

Awaken, Jerusalem! You have finished drinking from the cup of G-d’s punishment. The Jews in exile were directionless. How will Jerusalem be consoled? Her children have fainted in the streets. Listen, you afflicted people, who are “drunk” from your troubles. G-d says that we will no longer drink from the cup of punishment – He will pass it to those who oppressed us.

Chapter 52

Isaiah tells Jerusalem to “get up and get dressed,” because invaders will no longer be permitted to enter. Shake off the dust, get up off the ground and sit on your throne. Take off your bonds – you were sold as slaves but you’re not being redeemed for money; you repented and returned to G-d.

G-d says that Egypt oppressed the Jews, but at least they hosted the Jews prior to that and felt “owed.” Assyria didn’t even have a weak justification! The Jews were exiled for their sins, but they were abused and G-d’s Name was blasphemed. Now that He redeems them, His Name will be recognized.

Isaiah praises the footsteps of the messenger who ascends the mountain to announce the salvation. The watchmen of the cities will sing when they see G-d restore the Jews to Jerusalem. The ruins that were left from the exile will rejoice in Jerusalem’s restoration. G-d has revealed His might – all the nations will see His salvation.

Leave the places of exile. Purify yourselves to carry the vessels of the Temple. (This refers to the Levites, who carried the vessels of the Tabernacle in the desert when they left Egypt.) You won’t hurry as you did when you left Egypt, because you won’t fear anyone’s attack; G-d is guarding your backs.

Excerpted from The OU’s Nach Yomi