This weeks Torah Portion is Devarim and the Haftorah is Isaiah 1:1-27. It contains:
1 This is the vision of Yesha‘yahu ….
15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; no matter how much you pray, I won’t be listening; because your hands are covered with blood.
16 “Wash yourselves clean! Get your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing evil,
17 learn to do good! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, defend orphans, plead for the widow.
18 “Come now,” says Adonai, “let’s talk this over together. Even if your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow; even if they are red as crimson, they will be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel, you will be eaten by the sword”; for the mouth of Adonai has spoken
27 Zion will be redeemed by justice; and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
Yehovah lists some of the evils of those who have walked away from Torah and doing good. When I see the reference to ‘hands covered with blood‘ and to ‘defend orphans’ my thoughts first go to the killing of many millions of our most innocent every year.
The murder of our unborn.
These innocents are orphans in the sense that their parents and all who should be protecting them have; whether knowingly or not, and whether by force or not, abandoned them.
We also, as a society, have abandoned them.
This is surely our nation and our worlds greatest ‘evil deed’.
“The greatest gift of God, I would think, is the Gift of Life. The greatest sin of humans, it would seem, would be to return that gift, ungratefully and unopened.” – John Powell
Yet, Yehovah always offers help, He is always waiting with open arms for us to turn back and talk with Him. He will ultimately execute justice and redeem the righteous who have repented of their Torah-less lives.
In the Deavrim Torah portion itself we hear from one of the greatest teachers of all time, who is known as ‘Moshe Rabbenu’, meaning “Moses, our teacher”.Moses spends his last days as teacher, sharing again the Torah and instruction on how to live by it.
Here in the Haftorah we also hear the instruction ‘learn to do good’.
But how do we learn best? By gathering around us the best teachers – Moshe, Yeshua, Rav Sha’ul, etc. Those who best teach Torah, the instructions of our God on how best to live.
The Torah properly understood gives us a protective fence around us, within which we can live the most free life, because a righteous life, one lived within and in accordance to Torah will be a live without too many instances of ‘missing the mark’, of moral and ethical mistakes (i.e. sin), and in such a life when we “… spread out (our) hands” He will not hide His eyes from us and when we pray He will listen!
This Haftorah can also offers the great hope of Mashiach as well. As the Rabbis state, “The first words of the haftorah: “Chazon Yeshayahu” tells us that specifically during times of darkness, you can accomplish the vision of the redemption and that we will experience this great revelation with the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon.”