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