May 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Parshat Ki Teitzei

This week’s prophetic selection, the third and fifth in the series of seven haftarot of consolation, is taken from the 54th and 55th chapters of Yeshayahu. Interestingly, the opening prophecy of Chapter 54 is read for Parshat Ki Teitzei, while the later prophecy is read for Parshat Eikev before the earlier prophecy. This year, however, when we read both haftarot on the same Shabbat (as we read a special haftarah for Rosh Chodesh two weeks ago), we follow the order of the Tanach and read the selection reserved for Parshat Ki Tisa (“Roni Akara”) before that of Parshat Re’eh (“Aniya So’arah”). Rav Moshe Lichtenstein points out that although both nevuot are found in the same chapter, they are two separate prophecies with unique approaches to the exile and with different visions of the redemption. Our rabbis consciously established these prophecies to be read in a “reversed’ order (on a “usual” year) so that each consecutive haftarah would offer a higher level of comfort.

The very opening words let us know that the first two prophetic promises of comfort, those read for Parshat Va’etchanan and for Parshat Eikev respectively, failed to console the people. Although in the haftarah of Eikev, the second prophecy of consolation, Yeshayahu promised the people that they would never be abandoned and that their redemption will arrive soon, the following haftarah, the third prophecy of comfort read today, begins with God’s cry to Israel: “Aniya so’arah lo nuchama,” “Oh, afflicted one, tempest-tossed and not comforted…” These words reveal that the people still mourned and still grieved. God compares her to an “akara,” a barren woman who has little hope for a future, and begins to comfort her with reassurances that she will yet have children and that no enemy would harm her, as He will protect her.

The real comfort, however, is found in the first nevuah we read this week, the only one usually read for Ki Teitzei. Here, God tells Israel, “Ki yamin us’mol tifrotzi, For you will spread northward and southward,” and your children will conquer nations and inhabit the desolate cities. Here we have the promise of children, so numerous that they will fill the cities that were desolate for so long! And that is the consolation of God that leads to the joyous words that begin next week’s haftarah: “Kumi ori ki va orech, Arise and shine, for your light has come, as Hashem’s glory has risen upon you!”

Consolation after unparalleled destruction could not take place in a matter of weeks, months or even years. True solace, and our ability to understand and accept Hashem’s comforting words, would take many, many years. And the same is true of our redemption. It will not take place in a few weeks or months or even years. It is a process. But as we look around us and realize that, for the first time in almost 2,000 years, more Jews live in Eretz Yisrael than any other country in the world, we must begin to feel comforted; comforted in the understanding that the words recited after the recitation of the haftarah, “v’davar echad mid’varecha achor lo yashuv reikam,” that every word spoken by Hashem to the navi will be kept, are true. True comfort can be found today more than at any other time in our post-Churban history. All we need to do is have the vision to see the fruition of the prophets’ visions.

By Rabbi Neil N. Winkler


Rabbi Neil Winkler is the rabbi emeritus of the Young Israel of Fort Lee and now lives in Israel.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles