קוּמִי אוֹרִי, כִּי בָא אוֹרֵךְ; וּכְבוֹד יְהוָה, עָלַיִךְ זָרָח. Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

This week’s Haftarah brings me back to Jerusalem, of course.

Jerusalem, as a city of prophets and a place for G-d’s vision to come alive, a city with blood, tears, hopes and joy all intertwined with each other in one giant ball of cosmic energy too tight and ready to burst out.

It always seems to me that prophecies in the Torah have been proven time and again to be true in our times. As we come closer to Rosh ha-Shana, the chapters of נביאים (prophets) become lighter in the mood if I can say it this way.

ב  כִּי-הִנֵּה הַחֹשֶׁךְ יְכַסֶּה-אֶרֶץ, וַעֲרָפֶל לְאֻמִּים; וְעָלַיִךְ יִזְרַח יְהוָה, וּכְבוֹדוֹ עָלַיִךְ יֵרָאֶה.

2 For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but upon thee the LORD will arise, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.

ג  וְהָלְכוּ גוֹיִם, לְאוֹרֵךְ; וּמְלָכִים, לְנֹגַהּ זַרְחֵךְ.

3 And nations shall walk at thy light, and kings at the brightness of thy rising.

With today’s world politics, weather patterns, information floods and the like, the words of the prophet do not seem to ring true. I do see the “darkness” that seems to cover all “the peoples”, but where is the light for Israel? Most of the nations turn back to familiar routes of anti-Semitism, people are at each other’s throats more than ever, and we do not look like a loving bunch.

Doesn’t the prophet articulate the words of G-d:

ח  מִי-אֵלֶּה, כָּעָב תְּעוּפֶינָה; וְכַיּוֹנִים, אֶל-אֲרֻבֹּתֵיהֶם.

8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their cotes?

But do we really resemble doves? With our virtual conversations on Facebook and other social platforms, do we turn into a crowd of foul-language spitting, hate-producing zombies? Sometimes I want to start crying in the morning.

On the other hand, Israel is on the rise economically, politically (forging relationships with countries that were never friendly), socially. We have an abundance of Jewish learning resources available and a growing number of people interested in them. Things that were luxuries a mere 30-40 years ago are now commonplace.

Reading these lines does give me hope. Hope for a better year 5779 to come soon, hope for personal and community happiness, hope for peace, however elusive this hope maybe today.

May we all merit this future!

יח  לֹא-יִשָּׁמַע עוֹד חָמָס בְּאַרְצֵךְ, שֹׁד וָשֶׁבֶר בִּגְבוּלָיִךְ; וְקָרָאת יְשׁוּעָה חוֹמֹתַיִךְ, וּשְׁעָרַיִךְ תְּהִלָּה.

18 Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, desolation nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.

יט  לֹא-יִהְיֶה-לָּךְ עוֹד הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, לְאוֹר יוֹמָם, וּלְנֹגַהּ, הַיָּרֵחַ לֹא-יָאִיר לָךְ; וְהָיָה-לָךְ יְהוָה לְאוֹר עוֹלָם, וֵאלֹהַיִךְ לְתִפְאַרְתֵּךְ.

19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

כ  לֹא-יָבוֹא עוֹד שִׁמְשֵׁךְ, וִירֵחֵךְ לֹא יֵאָסֵף:  כִּי יְהוָה, יִהְיֶה-לָּךְ לְאוֹר עוֹלָם, וְשָׁלְמוּ, יְמֵי אֶבְלֵךְ.

20 Thy sun shall no more go down, Neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

כא  וְעַמֵּךְ כֻּלָּם צַדִּיקִים, לְעוֹלָם יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ; נֵצֶר מטעו (מַטָּעַי) מַעֲשֵׂה יָדַי, לְהִתְפָּאֵר.

21 Thy people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land for ever; the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, wherein I glory.

Shabbat Shalom!

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