Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Parshas Shoftim 5770 - Yeshaya 51:12-52:12

I, only I, am He who comforts you -Only I can provide actual comfort to you- Who are you that you -the child of the righteous like you, filled with merit why- should -you- be afraid of mortal humans or from men who will be made -as- grass?

You have forgotten Hashem, your Maker- and you are not relying on Him. Since He created the world, you should realize that He also has the power to save you- Who spreads out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you are continually in fear all day because of the oppressor’s -the leaders of the nations who enslaved you- anger when he prepares to destroy -he may plan to destroy, but he will not succeed- but where is the oppressor? -tomorrow comes and the oppressor is no more-

The wanderer -Israel who has been exiled among the nations, wandering from place to place- will be released soon -from exile, and so there is no need to fear the oppressor- and he will not die in the pit -exile is like being in a grave. Israel will not die in this grave- nor will he be lacking bread -while they are captives in exile, Hashem will provide their sustenance. When they leave exile, they will not starve on the way out-

-Why would you not rely on Me?- [And] I am Hashem, your Al-Mighty, Who stirs up the sea and its waves rage -certainly I have the power to lash out against the nations who hold you captive- Whose Name is Hashem, Master of Legions.

And I have placed My words in your mouth -the words of Torah so that you may speak them- and I have covered you in the shade of My hand -in the merit of the Torah, I have protected you from your enemies- to plant the heavens -to fulfill the promise that you would multiply like the stars in the sky- and set a foundation for the earth -to fulfill the promise that you would increase like the dirt of the ground- and to say to Zion, “You are My people!”

Awaken yourself! Awaken yourself! Arise Yerushalayim, you who have drunk from the hand of Hashem the cup of His fury -to cleanse you from sin- and you have drunk from and drained the sediments of the cup of poison -all the evils what were destined to befall you in exile are over. It is time to get up from exile and leave-

There is no leader for her from among all the children she has borne -while she is in exile, they could not lead each other- From among all the children she has raised, there is no one that can hold her hand -they cannot help each other since they are all equally devastated-

There are two -tragedies- that have happened to you. Who will cry for you? -the two tragedies are- The destruction and the calamity -which are- [and] the hunger and the sword. With whom shall I comfort you? -who can I use as an example to say, ‘this other nation has been stricken like you’-

Your children are exhausted -weakened and unable to feel- They lie at the head of all the streets like a wild ox trapped in a net -like an animal with no master would fall into a trap and cannot move- filled with Hashem’s fury, with the rebuke of your Al-Mighty.

Therefore, hear this now afflicted one, drunk but not from wine - rather from all the tragedy that has befallen you-

So says your Master, Hashem, and your Al-Mighty Who will fight -on behalf of- His nation -to take revenge against those who would do evil against them- Behold, I have taken the cup of poison from your hand -no longer will tragedy be visited against you- from the sediments of the cup of My wrath shall you drink no further.

And I will put [it] -the cup of poison- in the hand of your tormentors -and they will receive their due punishments- who have said to your soul, ‘Prostrate yourself -bend towards the ground- so that we may pass over you,’ for whom you have made your body like the ground -like something that everyone walk over- and like a street for passersby -and you did this out of love for Me-

Awaken, awaken -from your slumber of pain- Don your strength -that which has been stripped away from you, wear it once again. Your inner strength is represented by the Stronghold of- Zion -where stood the Beis HaMikdash, the Kohanim, the Sanhedrin, and the kings-. Don your garments of splendor -let there be rejoicing- Yerushalayim, the holy city, for no longer will the uncircumcised and ritually impure enter you.

Shake the dust from yourself -in exile you were like one who was lying in the dirt- Arise -from the ground, from exile- and sit -on the throne of glory- Yerushalayim. Undo the binds of your neck -the ropes that were tied on you during the Babylonian exile- captive daughter of Zion.

For so says Hashem, you were sold for nothing -for the sins you committed because of the Yetzer Hora, for which you do not benefit- and you will be redeemed without money -rather, through repentance-

So says Hashem, your Al-Mighty: Egypt, My nation went down first to journey there -although Egypt enslaved them for many years, initially they provided them a place to live and they sustained them. The slavery there was a partial repayment of that debt, albeit more than was warranted- but Assyria -Sancheriv and Nevuchadnezzar, leaders in Babylonia- oppressed them for no reason -Israel owed them nothing.

And now, why should I remain here? -Why should I let Myself stay here and My children?- says Hashem, for My nation was taken for no reason. Their rulers glorify themselves -saying ‘We are the most powerful’- says Hashem, and constantly all day My Name is cursed -profaned and treated disrespectfully in their eyes.-

Therefore, My nation will know My Name -when I redeem them, they will recognize that My name implies Master, Leader, and Ruler- Therefore, on that day -of their redemption, they will understand that I am the One Who speaks, that it is I Who speaks, here I am -I exist!-

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Parshas Re'eh 5770 - Yeshaya 54:11-55:5

Afflicted, storm-tossed one -her heart is stormy from all of the tragedy that has befallen her. Tha Navi is delivering Hashem’s words to the city of Yerushalayim itself- who has not been consoled: Behold, I will set down gems as your stones -I will place gems under your floors and cover them with tile- and lay your foundation with sapphires.

I will set your window -frames- with gems -rubies- and -I will make- your gates with Ekdach -Carbuncle- stones and all your borders with desirous stones. -the types of stones that everyone wants to own. Not only Yerushalayim, but even the border cities will be covered with precious stones-

And all your children will be students of Hashem -like in Sefer Yirmiya where it says Man will no longer teach his friend saying, ‘Know Hashem’, for they will all know Me. They will all have faith in Hashem to the extent that there will no longer be any argument about such matters and therefore,- [and] your children's peace will be abundant.

Establish yourself through righteousness -the rebuilding of Zion will be completed through righteousness, the proper behavior between man and Hashem- Distance yourself from oppression -do not take the money of others like the wicked. You have no need for this because you have no fear of being oppressed and impoverished- for you need not fear it, and from devastation for it will not come close to you.

Behold, they may gather together -against you- but not from Me -not at My command. Although others have gathered against you at My command, like Sancheriv and Nevuchadnezzar, these nations Gog and Magog are gathering against you without My command- Whoever gathers against you will fall.

Behold, I have created the smith who fans his charcoal flame and creates a tool for his work and I have created a destroyer to demolish -I am the one who incited the enemy against you. But I am also the one who punished that enemy-

Any weapon -sharpened against you- will not succeed -no one will be able to damage you- and any tongue that rises up against you in judgement you will find guilty -they will leave the judgement guilty and you will be innocent. They will not be able to cause you physical damage or verbal damage- This is the inheritance of the servants of Hashem and their righteousness comes from Me -so- says Hashem.

Ho -this word is like an invitation- all who are thirsty should go to the water -Torah- and those that have no money should go buy and eat. Go buy wine and milk -Torah is a better purchase than wine or milk- without money and without price -the wisdom of Torah can be acquired without money-

Why do you weigh out money for no bread and your efforts with no satisfaction? -why do you toil to learn non-Torah wisdom that doesn’t benefit you. These intellectual pursuits are not referred to as ‘bread’ because they don’t provide sustenance to the body or soul- Listen well to Me and you will eat well -the wisdom of Torah is referred to as 'Tov'- and your soul will delight with fat -with rich foods, another metaphor for Torah. Your soul will delight in the World to Come-

Lean your ear -to hear My words- and come to Me -from whereever you are to learn My Torah- Listen and your souls will be filled with life -during the reviving of the dead at the time of Moshiach- and I will make an eternal covenant with you, the faithful kindness -that I promised- [of] Dovid -that the kingly reign would never leave his descendants

Behold, I have placed him as a witness over the nations, a leader and commander to the nations -a prince and ruler over them, to rebuke and direct them properly-

Behold -if you listen to Me- you will summon -to serve you- a nation you had not known and a nation that didn’t know you will run to you for the sake of Hashem, your Al-Mighty, for the Holy One of Israel -they will not run to serve you because of your might, but for My sake- Who has glorified you.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Parshas Eikev 5770 - Yeshaya 49:14-51:3

More beautiful Haftorah verses from Yeshaya this week for Parshas Eikev

49:14 - And Zion said
-She thought that she was forgotten- ‘Hashem has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.’ -Zion remembered that she had been the seat of the government of Israel and now, it’s as if the city is mourning the children that were exiled from her. The Jewish people are children, not simply inhabitants because they all come to Zion to serve Hashem-

49:15 - -It is not what you think- Would a woman forget her infant and not have mercy on the child from her womb? Although these may forget -even if there were a possibility for these women to forget- [but] I -am The Merciful One and I- would not forget you.

49:16 - Behold, I have engraved you upon My palms -I see you on My palms as if you are engraved there. I see you and constantly remember you. Your -destroyed- walls are before Me always.

49:17 - Your children will hasten -to return to you-; those who destroy and ruin you -the negligent sinners- will leave you -there will be no wickedness among you any longer. They were the reason for your destruction and desolation-

49:18 - -Hashem speaks to Zion- Raise your eyes all around and see: -how all of your children- [They] have gathered, they have come to you. By My life, says Hashem, you will be clothed with them all -glorify yourself with them- and adorn yourself like a bride -tie them upon you like a necklace to beautify yourself like a bride does before her wedding-

49:19 - Your ruins and desolate areas and your devastated lands -that you worry about, worry no longer- now will be crowded with inhabitants -that which was desolate and empty will be so full that it will be crowded- Those who would destroy you will be distanced -those who destroyed you will be sent to the edges of the earth. Destructive forces will never return to your borders.

49:20 - Again will they say in your ears -you will hear them say-, the children of your bereavement -the children whom you mourned for-, ‘This place is too crowded for me -There will be so many they will talk about how crowded things are- Move aside -make room- for me so I can settle’.

49:21 - And you will say in your heart, ‘Who has borne me these? -Where has this huge nation come from?- I have been bereaved and alone, an exile -Zion itself is like an exile with all of her children gone- and a wanderer -For so long I have been bereaved of them and alone- Who has raised these? I have been left by myself. Where are these from?’ -from where have they come and who brought them here?-

49:22 - So says Hashem, the Al-Mighty, ‘Behold I will raise My hand towards nations -a sign to gather in the exiles- and to people -less organized then nations- I will raise My banner -like a flag as a sign to gather around- and they will bring your sons wrapped in a cloth -or, in their arms- and your daughters will be lifted on -their- shoulder’.

49:23 - And kings will raise you -they will protect you as you grow- and their princesses will be your wet nurses -they will serve you- They will prostrate themselves to you and will lick the dust of your feet and -then- you will know that I am Hashem -and I have the power to accomplish all that I say- Those that hope in Me will not be ashamed -one who hopes for something that never happens feels ashamed. Those who hope in Hashem will not be ashamed.-

49: 24 - Can the loot of a warrior be taken? -You may think that it’s impossible to take back from Eisav that which he plundered- Can that which is captured from a righteous person be rescued? -Is it indeed possible to rescue from him that which he took from the righteous Yaakov?-

49:25 - But so says Hashem, even captives from a warrior and loot from mighty men can be rescued -even this is possible. Those that fight with you, I will fight with -I will take up your cause- and I Myself will save your children -from those that caused you pain.

49:26 - And I will feed those that cursed you -and said that all hope is lost for you- their own flesh -I will feed them to animals that normally eat meat or to birds of prey- and they -the birds that drink their blood- will become drunk on their blood like sweet wine and all flesh will know that I am Hashem your Savior and Redeemer -above all natural law with the ability to do anything- the Mighty One of Yaakov.

50:1 So says Hashem, ‘What is your mother’s bill of divorce by which I have sent her away? -Have I given you a get like it says by Yirmiyahu, I have given the bill of divorce? I have not cut you off completely. You were destined to return to me- Or to which of My creditors have I sold you? -Who has loaned me anything in order that I sell you to him as payment for a debt?- Behold, it is for your iniquities that you have been sold, for your rebellious sins that your mother has been sent away -and therefore through repentance your exile will be lifted. You were not sold and no money is needed to redeem you. Your sins were the cost of your sale and Teshuvah will be the money for your redemption-

Please check back throughout the week as I complete the post for this week's Haftorah

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shabbos Nachamu 5770 Yeshaya 40:1-26

This week's Haftarah, Parshas Va'Eschanan (Shabbos Nachamu), begins the period of comforting Haftaros. Please enjoy the blog, add comments, and share!

1: Comfort, comfort -This is referring to Yeshaya’s upcoming prophecies regarding the times of Moshiach. The repetition of the word ‘comfort’ emphasizes the future comfort. From this point until the end of his sefer are prophecies of comfort. This posuk is the transition point between the prophecies of punishment and those of comfort. “Comfort them My prophet, comfort”- My people”, says your Al-Mighty.

2: Speak -
words that are accepted by- [to] the heart of Yerushalayim and proclaim to her that her time -in exile- has been completed. Her sin has been forgiven -her punishment has ended- for she has received double -the great consolation from Hashem makes it seem as if she has been punished twice- for all of her sins -the double punishment is for her sins and the sins of her ancestors- from the hand of Hashem.

3: A voice
-of Ruach HaKodesh- calls out in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way of Hashem -the path to Yerushalayim, for her exiles to return to her- make a straight path in the desert -this refers to making a new road that was not there before, whereas the previous phrase refers to clearing a road that already existed but was blocked with rocks and other debris- a road for our Al-Mighty.’

4: Every valley -this verse describes through parable how easy the journey will be back to Yerushalayim. Traveling up and down mountains would normally wear out the traveler. The people returning to Yerushalayim will not become tired as they return- will be raised and every mountain and hill will be lowered. That which is twisted will be straightened and heights will become valley -the land will be smooth and easy to navigate.

5: The glory of Hashem will be revealed and all flesh together will see -All people will know- that the mouth of Hashem has spoken. -They will then know, when they see the prophecies being fulfilled, that all of this comfort that the prophets spoke of was from the mouth of Hashem. The seeing referred to here is that of the heart. They will know and understand in their hearts.

6: A voice -from Hashem speaks to me- [says], ‘Proclaim!’ And -my spirit- asks -the voice- ‘What shall I proclaim?’ -the voice responds, ‘Proclaim this:’- ‘All flesh is grass -most of the wicked enemies of Israel who will arrive with Gog and Magog will die. They will wilt and decay like grass- and all its kindness like a blossom in the field -even if they performed acts of kindness for Israel, they will not be remembered becase of all of their sins against Israel. They are compared to the blossoms of the field that quickly dry up and get blown away by the wind-

7: Grass withers and blossom fades when the breath of Hashem blows upon it;indeed, the nation -that arrives with Gog- is like the grass.

8: Grass withers and blossom fades -these enemy nations will dry up like the grass and wither like the blossom and they will be destroyed- but the word of our Al-Mighty -the promises He made through his prophets- stands forever’-none are able to nullify His word-

9: Ascend upon a high mountain -one who wishes his voice to be heard, goes to a high place- herald of Zion -groups of prophets who announce the Redemption to Zion- Raise your voice with strength, herald of Yerushalayim. Raise it. Have no fear -do not be afraid to raise your voice, because you think there will be false claims- Say to the cities of Yehudah, “Behold your Al-Mighty!” -the honor of His Presence will return to Yerushalayim-

10: Behold, my Lord, Hashem will come in strength -against the nations to take payment. He will come with a strong arm without the need for anyone else- His arm will rule for Him -His rule is not dependent on others. The strength of His army is solely in His outstretched arm. He relies on nothing but Himself for His strength and might- Behold, His reward is with Him -the reward for the righteous is ready to be given. His actions -the reward for the actions of the righteous is upon Him to give out- are before Him.

11: -He is- like a shepherd who grazes his flock, he gathers his lambs in his arm -like a kind shepherd who assists the younger lambs who are as yet unable to go on their own- he bears them in his bosom, he leads the nursing ewes -he does not move them quicker than they are able to move. So too, HaKodosh Boruch Hu leads Israel from their exile slowly and supports the sick and infirmed. A shepherd that watches his flock has much more mercy upon it than if it were being watched for payment from someone else-

12: Who measured the water in His palm -He has the power to do all of this and certainly he has the power to fulfill the promises He made. Like a person measures the depth of a container with his fist, Hashem placed the water where it belongs and knows how much is there- prepared the heavens with a measuring tool -since the heavens span a distance, a ‘zeres’ is used in this verse. It is a tool that is used to measure distance-, measured in a container the dirt of the ground -The nations should not wonder about how he can take Israel out from under their service after so many years of enslavement. The One who created the world from nothing is able to do this. These verses demonstrate Hashem’s abilities to do all- weighed mountains on a scale and hills with a balance? -He placed the mountains and hills in the land that was most fitting. Heavy mountains were placed in hard land. Lighter ones were placed in softer land-

13: Who can assess the spirit of Hashem -who prepared Hashem’s spirit for the prophets? Hashem did and He can be trusted. Hashem controls all of the elements of creation: water, fire, earth, air. Certainly He has ultimate control over the combinations thereof. No one can effect control over Him. Do not say He lacks wisdom and counsel to fulfill His promises: [and] what man could give Him counsel?

14: From whom did He seek counsel?
-is there anyone among the idolaters with whom He counsels like He counseled with Avrohom (Bereishis 18:17)?- [Who] gave Him insight? [Who] taught Him the path of justice -Who from among the idolaters have sought Him out through wisdom like Avrohom. He focused his efforts to recognize Hashem on his own and understand His Torah- and taught Him knowledge? [Who] explained the ways of understanding to Him?

15: The nations
-the idolaters that refuse to recognize their Creator and are not significant enough to Him that He would appoint a prophet from among them to reveal His secrets. Their powers- are like a drop from a bucket -like a bitter drop from the bottom of the bucket that contains the dirty water and rotten wood- and are considered like dust rubbing off a scale -the copper of the scale wears away and flakes off- behold, He will cast off the islands like dust -like dust blown away by the wind. Since Hashem has the unlimited power as described above, and He accomplishes it all without assistance, how could the nations prevent Him from taking Israel out of their captivity? These nations are considered like nothing before Him.

16: The -forest of- Lebanon -even though it is very large- does not have enough for kindling -on the altar of Hashem- and its beasts are not enough for Olah Korbonos -There are not enough animals to atone for the sins of the nations against Israel-

17: All the nations are like nothing before Him -they are like nothing in His eyes- He considers them as nothingness and emptiness -less than zero-

18: To whom can you compare G-d and what likeness can you attribute to Him? -you think that just like your false gods have no real power to save you, so too Hashem, chalila, is the same and you compare your idols to Him-

19: -Would you compare Him to- the idol cast by a blacksmith that is overlayed with gold -after the blacksmith forms it from iron or copper- and the silversmith overlays it with silver chains -to move it from place to place? How could your foolishness be so deep as to compare the most exalted G-d to something so lowly and disgusting as this?-

20: The poor man -who cannot afford the gold and silver idols- chooses wood for his idol that will not rot -they truly believe in their idols- He beseeches the wise woodworker to prepare an idol that will not fall apart -since wood is naturally weaker then iron, the abilities of the craftsman are much more apparent if he can make it strong and more permanent-

21: Do you not know -who placed the foundations of the world? It is He that you should be serving- Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning -through tradition from one generation to the next since the beginning of time-? Have you not reflected on the foundations of the world -Are you able to understand the foundations of the world? There is no ‘foundation’ per se. The heavens surround the entire Earth. How could it possibly stand if not for the decree of the Omnipresent!-?

22: It is He who sits on the circumference of the Earth -He sits upon the heavens that surround the Earth- Those who dwell upon it -before Him- are like grasshoppers -the comparison is to a person who is very high up. When he looks down, everything appears very small- He spreads the heavens -as if it were a thin- curtain and stretches them like a tent to dwell in- He sits under the tent of the firmament upon the center of the Earth like a king who sits among the people of his country. These images must demonstrate how great a King He truly is!

23: Who turns governors -wise counselors- into nothingness -it is as if they don’t exist in His presence- Who makes the judges of the land as if they never existed -flesh and blood kings lack wisdom so they employ counselors. They cannot enforce the law alone across their entire kingdom so they hire judges. Hashem, with His wisdom, turns these counselors into nothingness and He can enforce His laws without the aid of judges, rendering them null and void-

24: -These governors and judges are- as if they were not even planted , as if they were not even sown -they’re uprooted as if they were never sown- as if they had never taken root in the ground -they will never be restored to their positions of power after they are uprooted- If He were to blow on them -even only slightly- they would dry up and a storm wind would carry them away like straw.

25: ‘To whom can you compare Me -Since I can do all that has been described here, who can actually be compared to Me- that I should be -his- equal’, says the Holy One -who is separate and distinct from anything physical or comparable-

26: Raise your eyes towards heaven -these creations are physically larger and more powerful then the creations below, yet He created these as well- and see Who created these -the stars and all the celestial bodies in heaven- He brings out their legions by number, He calls them all by name -the world was created from nothing and that necessitates the existence of a Creator- from His abundant power and His tremendous strength, not one is missing.

We hope you have enjoyed this edition of Haftaros Elucidated and have found it helpful in understanding this week’s Haftarah.

This week, the Haftorah was elucidated with the commentaries of Rashi, Radak, Metzudos David and Tziyon, Mahari Kra, Malbim, and Targum.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shabbos Chazon 5770 Yeshaya 1:1-27

1: The vision -the term 'vision' ('chazon') is used here to indicate the harshness of the upcoming prophecy. 'Chazon' is the harshest of the ten words used for prophecy- of Yeshayahu son of Amotz -we have a tradition from our sages that Amotz and Amatzia the king of Yehuda were brothers- which he saw regarding the territory of Yehudah and Yerushalayim -This is not the beginning of his Sefer, indicating that all of Yeshaya's prophecy were regarding Yehudah and Yerushalayim. He prophesied regarding Bavel as well. The beginning of his Sefer takes place in the year that King Uziyahu dies. There is no fixed chronology within the Sefer.- during the the days of Uziyahu, Yosam, Achaz, and Chizkiyahu, kings of the territory of Yehudah. -On the day that Uziyahu was plagued with Tzaraas, the Shechina rested upon Yeshaya and he prohesied throughout the reign of these 4 kings until Menashe became king and killed him. This vision was related during the reign of Chizkiyahu after the exile of the Ten Tribes.

2: Listen heavens -to the anger and complaints I will raise against K'lal Yisroel, on behalf of Hashem- and give heed earth -"you were witnesses in the times of Moshe (Devarim 32:1) to the warnings I gave. Come now and bear witness to the fact that they disobeyed those warnings."- for Hashem has spoken. -These are the words of Hashem. They are not my words. Hashem said "I am not mistreating them- I have raised -through My Torah- and elevated -through My Divine Presence- [My] children -I have bestowed goodness upon my chosen nation of Israel and elevated them above all other nations. They have not treated Me in kind- and they have -knowingly- rebelled against Me."

3: "The ox knows its owner and a donkey its master's trough -These are animals that live among people to serve them and they have no cognitive abilities. Yet, they realize who feeds and takes care of them. When their work is done, they return home- K'lal Yisroel doesn't know -They are My nation whom I acquired from their house of bondage. They don't know that I am the one who bestows goodness upon them and gave them their land and drove out their enemies. If they knew who I was, they would not forsake Me. They would not have worshipped false gods in my stead.- My nation does not understand -they do not understand that when they keep My Torah, things will be good for them and when they forsake it, things will be bad. How can they not understand this?!"-

4: -The prophet continues- Woe! - this word always indicates a crying out in lament, a deep groan from one's heart. One must cry out that this holy nation has become a sinful one. A nation that was described as holy is now heavy with iniquity.- A sinful nation. A nation heavy with iniquity -so much sin-. Evil offspring, destructive children -children who had been blessed by Hashem are now evil. They had been children to Hashem and now they are destructive. They have destroyed the paths that led them towards good.- They have forsaken Hashem. They have angered the Holy One of Israel -He was sanctified in their midst through His miracles and the revenge He took against their enemies on their behalf and they have forsaken Him- and have turned their back -they have separated themselves from Him. They have presented their backs to Hashem instead of their faces.

5: For what have you been smitten since you continue to turn away? -When one is punished for acting badly and continues in his wickedness, his friend chastises him and tells him, 'You were punished for that and yet you have not concluded, I was punished for this wickedness. I will stop acting this way. Here also. Why are you being smitten since you take no heed and continue to act wickedly and turn away from Hashem? For behold!- All heads are smitten with sickness and all hearts are in pain. -Why don't you understand the connection? You have not realized that Hashem is the one smiting you because of your sin. Rather, you continue to act as if these punishments are coincidental.

6: From the sole of the foot to the head -from the simple to the leaders of the people- nothing in this nation is whole - serving Me as they have been commanded. They have all rebelled and sinned- injury, bruise, and festering wounds -no manner of punishment has made a difference-. They have not been treated and they have not been bandaged. -Nothing has caused them to repent- The wound has not been softened with oil -not even a thought of Teshuvah has crossed their minds.

7: -Therefore- your land is desolate. Your cites are -so desolate as if they have been- burned with fire. -The produce- of your land is consumed by strangers in your presence -and you cannot stop them. Just like the punishments enumerated in the admonitions of Parshas Bechukosai-. It is desolate as if overturned by strangers -it remains desolate because foreign enemies come and consume what they find. You never have the chance to replant and work the land because your enemies are constantly coming.

8: And the Daughter of Zion -the city of Zion- is left like a booth on a vineyard -after the harvest, the farmers abandon their shelters and leave. Similarly, Zion is empty of its inhabitants because of the exile. The majority of the cities of Yehudah were destroyed and during the reign of Chizkiyahu, all of the fortified cities were seized by the king of Ashur. Only Yerushalyim was left,- like a shed among the gourds -the shed that is used by those who guard the crops day and night is abandoned after the harvest- like a city under siege -when a city is being taken over, tents and dwellings are built for the soldiers to hide in. When the siege ends, these temporary dwellings are left empty.

9: Had not Hashem, Master of Legions -Hashem is referred to in this way because He commands the Malachim above and the people below. We are His legions and therefore He did not kill all of the nation of Israel like we deserved. Rather, He- left a trace of a remnant -in His mercy and for the sake of His Name which is conferred upon us, but not because of our righteousness-, we would have been like S’dome -completely destroyed-. We would have been compared to Amorah -utterly wiped out.

10: Listen to the word of Hashem, you chiefs of S’dome -The Navi is addressing the leaders of Israel and comparing them to the leaders of S’dome in the ways they abuse the poor and corrupt the law. The people are also like the people of S’dome with their wicked behaviors-. Heed the Torah of our Al-Mighty, nation of Amorah! -this is referring to the next several verses (11-19)-

11: “Why do I need your many Korbonos?”, says Hashem -I have commanded you to bring Korbonos so that you will remember me and place me in your hearts always, so that you don’t sin If you would be concerned enough to confess your sins and do T’shuvah from your wicked ways, the Korbonos you bring would find favor before me as it says in th Torah. Now , however, I am disgusted by the Korbonos you bring.- “I am sated with ram Olos and fat from fattened animals -like someone who has had enough of something and is now sickened by it- The blood of bulls, sheep , and goats I do not desire” -since you transgress my Torah, the Korban of the wicked is an abomination-.

12: “When you come to appear before me -during the Three Festivals, the Mitzvah of R’eeyah-, who has requested this from your hands -that you should come before Me and rebel against My words. It is not honor that you bring Me, rather shame-, to trample My courtyards?”

13: “Do not continue bringing your worthless flour Korbonos -I am warning you. Do not bring your worthless offerings, of which the smoke that rises- [It] is incense of abomination to Me -it does not find favor with Me-. Regarding the Rosh Chodesh, Shabbos, and Yom Tov Korbonos, I cannot abide your iniquity when you gather together before Me.” - these two things cannot exist together: your gathering together before Me to bring Korbonos when you have the abomination of Avodah Zorah in your hearts-

14: “My soul detests -the Korbonos of- your Rosh Chodesh and your Yomim Tovim. They have become -like a heavy- burden upon Me. I am tired of carrying them.” -I have carried and forgiven many of your transgressions. I cannot bear to forgive them any longer-

15: “And when you spread your hands -in prayer-, I will hide My eyes from you - and not accept your prayers, because your hands are filled with blood-. Even if you increase your prayers -and cry out all day-, I will not listen. Your hands are filled with blood -of murder-.”

16: “Wash yourselves -cleanse your heart and purify it- Purfiy yourselves -Cleanse, Purify, Remove, Cease, Learn, Seek, Vindicate, Judge, Take up, Come: These 10 actions are all different references to T’shuvah, corresponding to the 10 Days of Repentance and the 10 verses recited during the Malchiyos, Zichronos, and Shofros sections of the Rosh Hashana davening. Remove the wickedness of your actions from before My eyes. Cease doing evil. -stop treating each other wickedly-”

17: “Learn to do good, seek justice -among those who quarrel, seek to find justice and determine who is innocent- , support the victim -do the right thing and comfort them-, provide justice for the orphan, fight on behalf of the widow” -do not make her pursue those that owe her.

18: “Come now, let us discuss” -together, you and I. We will discover who turned against who. If you rebelled against me, I will still give you hope through repentance-, says Hashem. “If your sins are like scarlet, they will become white as snow. -if you prepare yourselves to walk the proper path, I will cleanse the sins that have made your hands red with blood. Even- If they are red as crimson, they will be as wool”. -not quite as white as snow-

19: “If you are willing and obey -if you sublimate yourselves to Me and listen to My voice- you will eat the goodness of the land.- that which strangers were eating in front of you will once again be eaten by you”.

20: “But if you refuse and rebel, -you will not consume the food, rather- a sword will devour you, for the mouth of Hashem has spoken”. -where did Hashem say this? I will bring the sword upon you (Vayikra 26:25)-

21: How the faithful city has become like a harlot! -straying from her master- She was filled with justice -from the beginning. Yehoshafat placed Judges in all the cities of Yehudah and told them, “See what you are doing. You will not be judged by man but by the Al-Mighty!”- righteousness lodged within her -forever was she filled with justice and righteousness was always within her. The Hebrew word ‘hɦ,£tœ‡k§n’, filled, has the numeric value 481. That is how many synagogues there were in Yerushalayim. - but now, murderers -they killed Uriah and they killed Zechariah.

22: Your silver has become dross -it is only the leftover of silver. You make copper and plate it with silver to take advantage of others- your strong drink diluted with water -buyers think they are getting pure wine, but it is actually diluted.

23: Your leaders -who should be straightening that which is crooked, they stray from the path and make the straight crooked- are rebellious and friends of thieves -your leaders divide the spoils with the thieves and don’t stop them from robbing others.- All of them love bribery and chase payment -One says to the other, ‘Find me innocent today, and tomorrow I will find you innocent'- They do not provide justice to the orphan -from those who would take advantage of them- nor does the grievance of the widow come to them -since they do not want to defend her and fight for her against those who would exploit her, the widow doesn’t even bring her case to them since it won’t help.

24: Therefore, Hashem, the Master -everything belongs to Him and He can uproot you from your land and put others in it-, the Lord of Hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, says, -in the manner of an announcement. “you will all know that- I will be relieved - of this anger by way of the punishment I dole out to- [of] those who challenge Me -and angered me with their actions and transgressed laws between man and his fellow man- and I will avenge Myself of My enemies -those who hate me”.

25: “And and I will turn My hand upon you -I will continuously smite you until all transgressors are gone- and I will refine your dross -this refers to the wicked among you. I will cleanse them from among the righteous- as with lye and I will remove all of your lead.” -lead refers to the wicked among you.

26: “And I will restore your judges as they were at first -I will appoint righteous judges as before, She was filled with justice. This will be during the times of Moshiach when all the wicked are destroyed. The remainder of Israel will not act with injustice and will not speak falsehood-, and your counselors as they were at the beginning. Afterwards, you will be called ‘City of Righteousness’ -as before, righteousness lodged within her. There will be righteousness between man and his fellow man-, ‘Faithful City’”-the counselors will restore the faithful Torah and there will be faithfulness between man and Hashem.

27: “Zion will be redeemed through justice -through the people who dwell there acting justly- and those who return to her through righteousness.”-those who do Teshuvah within her borders. The return from exile will occur through the righteousness that they do.

This week's Haftarah is elucidated with the commentary of Rashi, Metzudos Dovid and Tziyon, Radak, Targum, Mahari Kra, and Malbim

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Divrei Torah for Parshas Eikev

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