Weekly Sidra: Va’etchanan (and I pleaded)
Torah Portion: Devarim / Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
Haftorah: Yeshayahu / Isaiah 40:1-40:26
Comfort, oh comfort My people, Says your G-d. (Isaiah 40:1)
This week is Parasha Vaetchanan (I pleaded). The Haftarah for this week is special in that it is the first Shabbat after Tisha B’Av (the 9th of Av). This week is Shabbat Nachamu. Shabbat Nachamu ("Sabbath of comfort”) takes its name from the Haftarah from Isaiah in the Book of Isaiah 40:1-26 that speaks of "comforting" the Jewish people for their suffering. This is the first of seven haftarot of consolation leading up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
There was an article in yesterday’s news about a Toronto Synagogue that was defaced by having a swastika and pro-Islam graffiti painted on the side of the building. The swastika was accompanied by the phrase “Islam will rule.”
Jews all over the world have faced persecution since the time of living in Egypt to today. Unfortunately, it appears that anti-Semitism continues to grow and the effort to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel is gaining momentum.
However, this week’s reading tells us that comfort is on the way. The way I see it, comfort is a two-way street. It is not only Hashem who comforts us, but we are also to comfort one another.
How do we comfort each other in these difficult times? Here are some suggestions to ponder.
First, get your will in line with Hashem. This can be done through prayer, reading Torah and listening to Hashem’s voice.
Second, be part of the Jewish community by joining a synagogue, buying from Jewish shops, etc.
Third, have an accountability partner. Someone you know and trust and who is not afraid to tell you how it is with you. This could be your Rabbi, but ideally. It should be a close friend since the Rabbi has enough responsibility to do.
Fourthly, be an encourager to all you meet. Say a kind word, smile, or be ready to help at all times. This should be done in a genuine and caring manner not just as a social nicety.
Finally, have the courage and conviction to make Aliyah to Israel and encourage others to do likewise. There is no place like home and there is no place for all Jews better than the Land of Israel.
I hope that this writing has encouraged you if even in a small way to do more. I know it has inspired me just to write these words.
Next Year in Jerusalem!!
Tags: 9th of av, accountability partner, anti semitism, book of isaiah, devarim, difficult times, gaining momentum, haftarah, isaiah 40, jewish new year, jewish shops, rosh hashanah, rsquo, Shabbat, shabbat nachamu, sidra, state of israel, swastika, tisha b, torah portion
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