days of repentance: haftarah of comfort 4

“my people shall know my Name…that it is I who speaks…hineni”

the haftarah this shabbat just past was the 4th in the series of 7. it is the haftarah of comfort that begins the outweighing of rebuke….there were 3 of rebuke, and now 4 (and still counting) of comfort.  in this text from the prophet Isaiah (51:12 -52:12) we have the call to know the Name of haShem. the unspeakable 4 letters about which we have been speaking since the 4th day of Elul.

it is G’d and G’d only who speaks and comforts the People now. it is direct. as it must be in t’shuvah, for when t’shuvah expunges the sin, the missing of the mark, the direct line to haShem is laid bare. and just as Avraham avinu ansered when G’d calls to him and tells him to lech l’cha, to go to/for/into yourself , G’d answers when called upon by Name by the ba’al t’shuvah, the one who is doing t’shuvah, and who is ready to live in the here and now…..hineni….”behold”, “here i am” …..hineni…..

“in the place where baalei t’shuvah stand,

even the perfectly righteous cannot stand”

hineni….answers haShem to the call of the ba’al t’shuvah, for the master of t’shuvah has drunk the dregs from the cup of trembling/staggering/shaking/bewilderment, the cup of fury (Isaiah 51:17, 22) and has returned to the straight and narrow, as it were….but not straight and narrow as in puritanical, but in the sense of ‘reserve’, b’tsniut, walking again humbly with G’d.

to the humble the answer is humble, as G’d G’dself  answers as simply as the awed Avram, who became Avraham with the addition of a little hei, a little t’shuvah, not as a one-time act, but as a way of life. the ba’al t’shuvah stands where Avraham avinu stood, for like Avraham, the ba’al t’shuvah is rebeginning. ever ready to hear the Voice of the One who Speaks.

so imitate the way of G’d by bringing comfort to one in need. don’t go in with the attitude of “buck up”, but rather with tsniut, with reserve, ready to answer a need with hineni, here i am…..

whenever you call me, i’ll be there…i’ll be around

so, what do you think?

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