This week’s Torah portion is Deuteronomy 29:20-30:9, which calls upon Israel to be faithful to the covenant in the land God has given them. God promises that even if Israel is scattered among the nations and the land lies desolate, He will restore Israel from captivity, gathering the Jewish people even from the ends of the earth back to their land.
In the 72 years since Israel’s rebirth as a modern nation, we have seen this promise fulfilled. The haftarah portion accompanying this week’s Torah portion is Isaiah 61:10-63:9, an exuberant declaration of the glorious future awaiting God’s Chosen People.
In these verses, Isaiah proclaims a message of hope and restoration over an exiled and oppressed people. He makes a solemn vow, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning.”
In Isaiah’s day, Israel was called “forsaken” and Eretz Israel “desolate” (62:4). Today, the verbiage may be different, but its essence remains the same: As the world’s oldest hatred rises in our midst, anti-Semites of every shade and shape declare the Jewish people “evil” (read: “forsaken”) and seek to lay waste to the Land of Israel (read: to render it “desolate”).
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