This week’s Haftorah is short but carries a succinct message. The Haftorah is read from Yishayohu (נד. י-יא) and it is the fifth Haftorah of the שבע דנחמת. The Haftorah starts with Hashem telling Yerushalayim to expand and become strong: Yerushalayim, states through the Navi, is going to grow in all directions. The Haftorah continues with Hashem making a double statement: 1) for a short moment I (Hashem) will leave you and with great mercy I will gather you (Am-Yisroel) back. 2) With a little anger I will hide Myself (Hashem) from you and with eternal kindness I (Hashem) will have mercy on you (Am-Yisroel).
Why is it that Hashem tells us he will leave us for a little while and then answers that He will save us with an abundance of mercy? Either both should be measured in terms of time or both in terms of abundance? The same question could be asked on the next verse: why does Hashem say that He will hide from us for a little bit and then answer this with eternal love?
Am-Yisroel went through a lot in our almost two thousand years of exile. For the most part the Klal didn’t suffer unbearably. Recently we suffered the worst tragedy in Jewish History – the Churban of Europe. The entire world felt the הסתר פנים during the Holocaust. It was the closest thing to a world deprived of Hashem כביכול – so intense was the suffering of the Holocaust. To call it a short period of suffering would somehow make light of its intensity. The Galus has been so long that to yet call it minimal would minimize that period of close to two thousand years. The Navi is eternal and we have had this Nevua throughout our Galus and throughout all our suffering. Hashem comforted us by using terms to let us know that what we were going through (when we went through it) was minimal and temporary.
We live in an era in which we are beginning to see the words of the Neviyim unfolding: Yerushalayim is truly growing in all directions. Yerushalayim is being strengthened for its promised eventual surge.
In the Shir Hamaalos we recite every Shabbos before bentchn, we say that when the Geula will come we will be as though we were dreaming. Chazal tell us (in the ninth Perek of Tractate Brachos) that the outcome of dreams depend on how we interpret them. Right now we could definitely allow ourselves to view Yerushalayim’s growth as the beginning of the fulfillment of this Nevua. Remember, dreams become what our interpretation of them makes them.
A very warm Good Shabbos, Rabbi Y. Dov Krakowski