days of repentance: haftarah of comfort 5

“for but a brief moment have I forsaken you,

and with abundant mercy will I gather you in”

this week’s haftarah, the 5th of the comfort haftarot, is only 10 lines long (Isaiah 54:1-10). but it is replete with imagery of the heretofore barren giving birth to children, so many, in fact that the sides of the tent of settlement will have to be opened to both the left and also to the right to accommodate the growing brood.

perhaps the lesson for us in Elul, in the course of t’shuvah, is to realize that the exile in which our “I” has been wandering is brief, just a “little holdup” in the much greater volumes of time during which redemption will come and, what’s more, become established and persist. indeed, post-exilic life is greater than the life to which end of exile might be thought to simply ‘return’ you to (54:1)…

“for more are the children of the desolate than those of the married wife”

hmm. is this in the eyes of the one time lonely person who has never married and never given birth? is it just ‘relative’ this way? perhaps….i know that my only daughter seems like an abundance to me. but i suspect that the message for the time of t’shuvah is that the fruits of the work we do this month will multiply beyond our expectations up to this point. all that turning inward will pay rich rewards that will not be contained by your personal tent.

we’ve said that your t’shuvah is individual….unique to you. but the bursting out of the rekindled flame within will exert powerful effects on those to your left and your right….on all those you encounter from this time on. but why are we surprised?

after all, we love ourselves more and rightly as we grow nearer to our mission, nearer to our G’d, nearer to the proper path, so when we love our neighbors as ourselves, what MUST happen? the “as oursleves” effect will be exponential! big love all round, say i. great big love, like the compassion of G’d for the ba’al t’shuvah, the highest form of human soul!

ketivah v’chatima tova

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