“and all your children shall be taught of haShem; great shall be the peace of your children”
there’s comfort for us all herein. the promise of the future in the wholeness/peace of our children. not surprising, is it? as we’ve already discussed, these first 3 weeks of comfort have a parallel in the steps of the prayers said at graveside, and the third step of mourning corresponds to the movement from acceptance of loss to the reunderstanding of the goodness of G’d in the saying of kaddish. it is the first kaddish, to be followed thereafter by the daily kaddish yatom, the kaddish of the orphan. all of us are orphaned since the destruction of the easy access to G’d’s Presence that was in Jerusalem.
a parent lost is like a parent hidden, yes? not absent exactly, for still held in memory, still alive in the learning we have been given by that father or mother. but not as visible. hidden, like the Presence of haShem….but that we are still aware of haShem in the dark times is the beauty of kaddish.
exalted and sanctified be the Great Name
so we say. we know You. you are not wholly gone. and in this 3rd haftarah of comfort Isaiah points out that all the orphans will learn of the Great Name and that will itself be the beginning of the beginnings of wholeness.
this brief haftarah, on shabbat just passed, culminates the week that leads up to Rosh Chodesh Elul. comfort for the “storm tossed” Israel, and wholeness to come, by way of the knowledge of G’d–“all your children shall be taught of haShem”–all of your newborns. and who are the newborns of Elul, which is aramaic for “searching”?
the newborns are the reborns. each of us who does t’shuvah is reborn in tzedek, in righteousness.
“establish yourself through righteousness;
distance yourself from oppression”
so says the prophet on behalf of G’d in our haftarah (Isaiah 54:14). REmake yourself in righteousness, putting distance between yourself and the wrongs of your past. in righteousness make yourself whole, give yourself peace by distancing yourself from the MAlingering past….in which you have oppressed others, knowingly or not. the past in which you have oppressed yourself in the wrongs you have done. ”aveirah”, a key word for sin shares its root with “avar”, a word meaning past. t’shuvah is never about the past, chevrei, but only about what is to be now.
in this new month of Elul, we are all of us children again….if only we will learn of haShem….and everything we do from this point to Yom Kippur is designed to teach us of nothing else.