This Weeks Haftorah
Rabbi Levi Langer

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Haftorah Parshas Eikev

"And it will have been kings who were your nursing-fathers, and their princesses your nursing-mothers." (Isaiah 49:23)

This haftorah is the second of the "seven of comfort" (sheva d'nachemta) which are read on the seven weeks following Tisha B'av. These readings speak of our hopes for the future. But more than that, they invite us to take a new look at the subject matter of the readings which we read on the Shabbosos preceding Tisha B'av: the exile and the dispersion of the Jewish people.

In our verse we are taught, writes Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, that in time to come we will view our exile-relationship with the "kings and princesses," who for so long held us in captivity, in a new light. Always we had seen them as the oppressors who prevented us from doing what we wanted to do, from being what we wished to be.

But at the time of the Redemption we will understand that these mighty rulers were merely puppets in the hand of Hashem. They held us captive because this was Hashem's will, because He wished us to live through the consequences of our endeavor to escape our special role as Hashem's people.

The message of consolation isn't just about the future. There is consolation in the present, too. For in truth, we haven't ever been forsaken by Hashem: even today He guides and educates us, shaping our destiny and preparing us for our future.

Copyright (c) 1997 by Rabbi Levi Langer

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