Haftorah This Week
Welcome to Haftorah This Week, the place where you will find thoughts and
reflections by CLAL faculty and associates on this week's Haftorah.
HAFTARAT LEKH LEKHA
Every morning, as we awake refreshed from sleep, the prayer book, quoting Isaiah,
reminds us that the Holy One "gives strength to the weary." We are reminded that
sleep need not be an inert suspension of active life. According to midrash: "In sleep
our souls leave behind the wearying boundaries of the body and find their way to the
limitless realm of the Divine." As a metaphor, the daily blessing celebrates the
renewed strength we may feel as we return from this world of new visions. We may leave
behind our cynical weariness and awake ready to see possibilities beyond our restricted
vision of the day before.
Isaiah knew that peoples too grow weary. He saw an Israel exhausted by defeat and
exile, humbled and humiliated to the edge of despair. If, after all, the Holy One of
Israel did not care, why should the people of Israel? He perceived that such despair could
easily become a paralyzing cultural cynicism, blocking all vision of return, renewal and
repair. And he opened himself to the power of the presence of the divine word to free the
exiled people Israel from the limits of their situation.
The Divine word in Isaiah links us to the inexhaustible power of old that created the
cosmos with a wisdom which, like the depths of divine power, can never be fathomed. We are
reminded of the divine creative force that joins us when we confront the seemingly
unsurmountable difficulties of transforming a real world into an ideal one. In Isaiah, the
Divine voice offers us trust in its power to go beyond the limits of our present
understanding and abilities and bring us home to our deepest sense of ourselves as
individuals and as a people. It calls upon us to transcend the cynical alibis and excuses
we use in order to avoid our moral and spiritual responsibilities.
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