MeAm Loez on

Haftarah Nitzavim - VaYelech
Yeshayahu 61:10 - 63:9


Yeshayahu 61:10 I shall rejoice, I shall rejoice in G-d; my soul shall exult in My G-d.  For He has clothed me in garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness - like a bridegroom adorned with a turban and like a bride bedecked with her jewels.

The Jewish people will say upon Redemption that not only do they rejoice in G-'ds mercy, but they also exult in all His harsh judgment of the past.  But whereas that joy will be felt by soul and body, that exultation in suffering will only be felt by the soul.  and this rejoicing will not be light-hearted joy, but a spiritual rejoicing with G-d - their renewed closeness to G-d will be like that between a bride and a bridegroom, only their "nuptial garments" will be spiritual.

Yeshayahu 61:11 For as the earth brings forth its produce and as a garden sprouts forth its seeds, so shall Hashem G-d sprout forth righteousness and praise in front of all the nations.

Jewish Redemption will be like the growth of a seed, which sprouts forth only after rotting.  During the long exile they had seemed like that rotted seed, but now they will blossom forth.  And they will burst forth and multiply just like that seed, year-round, just like a garden.

That growth may come in its set time, spontaneously, as the earth gives forth its produce - if the Jewish people do not merit it.  But if may also come earlier, when planted, as a garden gives forth its seed - if the Jewish people have enough merit.

Yeshayahu 62:1 For the sake of Tziyon I shall not remain silent and for the sake of Yerushalayim I shall not remain still - until her vindication emerges like a brilliant light and her salvation like a flaming torch.

G-d's Salvation shall come for the sake of Tziyon, His Temple, its site now in foreign hands, and for the sake of Yerushalayim, His people, now in foreign lands.  It will come for the sake of "Tziyon," the righteous, and for the sake of "Yerushalayim," the masses.  It will come like a flaming torch to burn all their spiritual impurities.  Not only "Tziyon," the generation of Redemption, will be purified, but also "Yerushalayim," all future generations, by G-d's continued Presence in the City.

Yeshayahu 62:2 Nations will behold your vindication and all kings [will behold] your glory.  You shall be called a new name specified by G-d.

When the Jewish people will rise up to their destined spiritual level and be called, so to speak, in G-d's Name, all nations and kings will "see," realize, the vindication of the Jewish people.  They will readily admit that the Jewish people deserve the glory which G-d has granted them.

Yeshayahu 62:3 You shall be a glorious crown in G-d's hand and a royal diadem in the palm of your G-d.

You shall be carefully safeguarded in the "palm of G-d" - the palm is the most sensitive place of the hand.  Although dependence on others in a source of shame, your dependence on G-d will be your source of glory.

Yeshayahu 62:4-5 You shall no longer be called "Abandoned one" and your Land shall no longer be called "Desolate."  Rather, you shall be called "Desired one" and your Land "Espoused," for G-d desires you, and your Land shall be espoused.  Like a youth marries a maiden, your children shall espouse you, and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, G-d will rejoice in you.

Although Tziyon felt abandoned by G-d - "G-d has forsaken me" (49:14) - now she will be filled with His Presence, now He will desire to be with them. Although other peoples lived in the Land, only the Jewish people's presence make it "espoused."  Those peoples were incompatible with the Land's spirit - they were like a young person marrying an elderly one.  Only the Jewish people belong to the Land, like a youth belongs to a maiden.  The freshness of joy between a bride and a bridegroom will be forever between the Jewish people and G-d.  Though it may seem that G-d is like a husband taking back his divorcee, their relationship will now be on a new level: Throughout the long exile, the Jewish people remained faithful and their mutual love only increased.  In fact, their "marriage" with G-d will only now be "consummated," because at Mount Sinai they were only "betrothed."

Yeshayahu 62:6-7 On your walls, Yerushalayim, I have appointed watchmen who shall never be silent, all day and all night: You who remind G-d, be not silent!  And give Him no silence until He establishes Yerushalayim and makes it the pride of the earth!

Not only will G-d "Not be still" until He restores Yerushalayim (vs1), but He has even "appointed watchmen to remind Him." And neither will the watchmen be still until the set time but they will "remind Him" throughout the exile, "throughout day and night."

These watchmen are angels in heaven, but are also the Jewish people themselves.  Together they mourn over Yerushalayim, which "reminds" G-d of its desolate state.  And these watchmen stand on the "walls," on the firm merits of the righteous.

Yeshayahu 62:8 G-d sears by His right hand, His mighty arm: No more shall I give your grain as food to your enemies, nor shall foreigners drink your wine over which you have toiled.

G-d, in Whose power, Whose "mighty right arm," it is to promise, swears that the Jewish people will be plundered no more.  And G-d's influx of bounty, which, during the exile, goes first to the nations, to "foreigners and enemies," the Jewish people receiving only what remains, will go straight to the Jewish people with Redemption.

Yeshayahu 62:9 Because its harvesters shall eat it and praise G-d and its vintners shall drink it in My holy courts.

The Jewish people will merit to keep their produce because they will not be producing it just for themselves - they will be using it as a means to praise G-d.

Yeshayahu 62:10 Go around, go around the gates! Clear the way for the people! Pave the path, pave the path, remove its stones! Lift a banner above the peoples!

But to be prepared for the Final Redemption, you must rouse each other to repent.  You must go around to all places where Jewish people live and clear the way before them to G-d.  "Pave the path" to show each his way, "remove all stones" that may impede their way.  Raise up yourselves to your spiritual heights, make yourselves a "banner" to nations.

Yeshayahu 62:11 For G-d has announced to the ends of the earth, Tell the community of Tziyon: "Lo! Your salvation has come! Reward is with Him and recompense is before Him!"

And even in places at "the end of the earth," where there is no one who can teach, on one who can show the way, G-d Himself will rouse them to repentance so that they also merit Salvation.

Yeshayahu 62:12 They shall be called, "The Holy People, G-d's Redeemed."  And you shall be called, "The Sought - after, the Unforsaken City."

All will acknowledge G-d's Redemption and the worthiness of the Jewish people. All will see G-d's return to Tziyon, nevermore to be forsaken.

Yeshayahu 63:1 "Who is that coming from Edom, with bloodstained clothes from Bosrah, adorned in his raiment, overthrowing in his great might?"  "It is I, Who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."

Who is that coming after slaughtering Edom, his clothes yet stained from Edom's blood?  Who is that wearing those bloodstained clothes, wearing them as royal raiment? Who is that mighty one who has overthrown the nations in preparing the world for the End of Days?  It is G-d acting "righteously," destroying Edom justifiably, a prerequisite to Jewish Salvation.

Yeshayahu 63:2-3 "Why are Your garments red and your clothes like one treading in a winepress?"  "I trod the winepress by Myself and no one from the nations was with Me - I have trod upon them with My wrath and trampled them with My fury.  Their blood splashed on My clothes and stained all My garments.

Sill, why are G-d's own "clothes" stained, so to speak - could He not have used earthly agents?  But He trod upon the nations by Himself, without the help of the Jewish people, because they had not enough merit to earn it.  Neither were any of the nations "with Him" against the persecuting nations - they all were persecuting nations.  So although He only wanted to "tread upon" the nations, to extract their "wine," their righteous, He "trampled" on all of them.

Yeshayahu 63:4 "For the day of vengeance is in My heart and the year of My Redemption has come!

G-d will wait for the Jewish repentance, for the "year of Redemption" to come, even if that does not happen.  G-d's vengeance on the nations will bring it about.  The time of  this latter way will remain "in G-d's heart" - a Divine secret until the time comes.

Yeshayahu 63:5 "I looked, but there was no one to help; I was amazed that there was no support.  So My arm wrought Me Salvation and My fury supported Me.

G-d "looks around" at the Jewish people and sees that they have not repented - there is no one among them to "help Him."  So G-d will bring Redemption "for Himself," supported by His Fury at the nations.

Yeshayahu 63:6 "I shall trample peoples in My fury and confuse them in My wrath, bringing their strength to the ground."

G-d will not only trample the persecuting peoples, but confuse them to prevent their repentance.  This, for their forced converting of the Jewish people and preventing them from returning to Him. Their "strength," the seeming everlastingness of their world sway, will come to a precipitous fall.

Yeshayahu 63:7 I shall recount G-d's kind acts and His praises for all He has done for us and the abundant goodness that He has bestowed on the House of Yisrael, in His mercy and His bountiful kindness.

Yeshayahu shall now recount what G-d has done for the Jewish people to remind them of what they have forgotten.  Not with the intention that they praise Him for the past, but so that they realize that their actions have withheld G-d's continued kindness.  He reminds them specifically of G-d's benefaction in choosing them as His people, despite their having no merits and of His mercy in forgiving them, despite their having sinned against Him.

Yeshayahu 63:8-9 He said, "Only they are My people, children who will not betray," and He became their Savior. He was troubled by all of their suffering, so the angel of His Presence saved them - He redeemed them out of His love and mercy.  He raised them and uplifted them all the time. 

G-d had chosen the Jewish people and was their Savior, "suffering" their afflictions with them.  Whether it was in the Wilderness or througout the Exile, G-d's "agents," His "angels," were there to help them. 


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