This Weeks Haftorah
Rabbi Levi Langer

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Haftorah Three Weeks: Shabbos Nachamu

A voice says, "Proclaim!"
And the rejoinder comes: "What am I to proclaim?"
"All flesh is like grass, and its kindness like the blossom of the field ... The grass dries and the blossom withers, but the word of Hashem endures forever!" (Isaiah 40:6-8)

The Chofetz Chaim (Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, 1838-1933) commented that in each generation people come up with new ideas to replace the "outdated" precepts of the Torah. They advance new ethical principles, they proudly wave aloft their "modern" beliefs.

And then the next generation comes along and tosses those new beliefs into the wastebasket, and advances new ideas of their own. Yet those who remain true to the Torah's ethical system find that, amazingly, its ideas are as fresh and as relevent today as they were when they were first taught at Sinai thousands of years ago.

So we need not be overly impressed by the "new" ideas we hear propounded today. Let us simply be aware that given just a few years, all the new ethics will join its predecessors in the refuse-bin of history.

The grass dries, the blossom withers. Only one system has endured amid a kaleidescope of different cultures and different eras: "The word of Hashem endures forever."

Copyright (c) 1997 by Rabbi Levi Langer

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