Tradition has is that Haftarah readings were instituted during the times when public reading of the Torah was prohibited in Israel by non-Jewish authorities of the land. The sages then used this “trick” of reading the books of the prophets as to not leave the people without the word of G-d altogether. The specific portions of the books were picked so that they would reflect the text of the Parshah of the week.
After Tish’a b’Av, for several weeks the Haftarah portions are called “The Haftarah of consolation”.
The last three verses in this week’s Haftarah (Isaiah 51: 1-3) יְשַׁעְיָהוּ state:
א שִׁמְעוּ אֵלַי רֹדְפֵי צֶדֶק, מְבַקְשֵׁי יְהוָה; הַבִּיטוּ אֶל-צוּר חֻצַּבְתֶּם, וְאֶל-מַקֶּבֶת בּוֹר נֻקַּרְתֶּם.
|1 Hearken to Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD; look unto the rock whence ye were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged.|
|2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many.|
|3 For the LORD hath comforted Zion; He hath comforted all her waste places, and hath made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.|
During these rough days of summer in New York, my mind goes back to Jerusalem and I see the prophet’s vision – children playing and adults enjoying the gardens of the Holy City. My only prayer is that we all “Hearken” to the voice of G-d that we try to block off with our mundane things and voices and realize that only when we start caring about every person in our nation, we can overcome the outside threats as well. This goes for every one of us – right and left, haredi and hiloni, women and men, young and old.
May we be deserving of the Nachamu of The Lord.