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 KI TETZE
In this fifth Haftarah of comfort following Tisha B'av, Isaiah is chosen to express the movement form despair to hope. Once again, as is common among the prophets, Israel is God's love mate whom he has spurned for her faithlessness. The prophet tells his community that God's distemper is momentary, his love enduring.
For Isaiah and his generation, the great destruction and exile in 586 BCE was a defining moment of the bond between God and Israel. A people schooled in the belief that they were the chosen of the Lord could not but read the events of the destruction as an episode of Divine rage. How does a prophet navigate the sensitivities of a people so humbled and so abused by an angry God?
The prophet sustains God's just indignation upon his people's disloyalty, but the images speak further. God's anger is fueled not by hatred, but by love spurned. The metaphor of God as disappointed lover explains the severity of the destruction while it promises imminent hope for reconciliation. The prophet must soften the experience of the destruction, so that the people can begin to trust themselves and God again.
The anger in the prophet's language lasted only a split second--no matter that its consequences were so devastating. Indeed, God did not even act to destroy, but merely turned His face away for that fleeting moment. And like an angry lover who immediately regrets his jealous fury, God regrets His as well. The prophet interprets the destruction in a way that turns it toward hope and return. God has pledged never to release the waters of Noah again; those waters, like God's momentary hiding in disappointment and rage, are transcended by a new covenant.
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