This chapter of יְשַׁעְיָהוּ – Isaiah looks like a song to me. A song of promise that we need right now so desperately.
Does it always seem that times are as difficult as they can be, or they are, indeed, more challenging than before?
I suppose that this is not a politically correct chapter mentioning women as suffering from their own “shame of thy youth”, or “reproach of thy widowhood”.
א רָנִּי עֲקָרָה, לֹא יָלָדָה; פִּצְחִי רִנָּה וְצַהֲלִי לֹא-חָלָה, כִּי-רַבִּים בְּנֵי-שׁוֹמֵמָה מִבְּנֵי בְעוּלָה אָמַר יְהוָה.
|1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear, break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.|
|2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations, spare not; lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes.|
|3 For thou shalt spread abroad on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.|
|4 Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed. Neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and the reproach of thy widowhood shalt thou remember no more.|
|5 For thy Maker is thy husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and the Holy One of Israel is thy Redeemer, the God of the whole earth shall He be called.|
|6 For the LORD hath called thee as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit; and a wife of youth, can she be rejected? saith thy God.|
|7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great compassion will I gather thee.|
|8 In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have compassion on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.|
However, the image of a woman embraced by a husband who has been longing for her just as much as she was for him, is a powerful one for me.
ט כִּי-מֵי נֹחַ, זֹאת לִי, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי מֵעֲבֹר מֵי-נֹחַ עוֹד, עַל-הָאָרֶץ–כֵּן נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי מִקְּצֹף עָלַיִךְ, וּמִגְּעָר-בָּךְ.
|9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.|
|10 For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall My covenant of peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath compassion on thee.|
It is such an uplifting Haftarah promising not only physical but spiritual prosperity for anyone who is searching for the truth.
א הוֹי כָּל-צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם, וַאֲשֶׁר אֵין-לוֹ כָּסֶף;
לְכוּ שִׁבְרוּ, וֶאֱכֹלוּ, וּלְכוּ שִׁבְרוּ בְּלוֹא-כֶסֶף וּבְלוֹא מְחִיר, יַיִן וְחָלָב.
|1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye for water, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.|
|2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your gain for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.|
|3 Incline your ear, and come unto Me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.|
It is especially personal for me today, on the day of birth of a man who brought me to my path to Judaism. Today, over 20 years since his passing, the pain is no longer sharp, but the memories and gratefulness for his existence in my life do not subside. On this, naturally, rainy day of Parshat Noah, I am thanking Gd for those years you were at my side.