Stretch Out Your Tent

Third Haftarah of Comfort: Isaiah 54:11–55:5 Rachel said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die.” Gen. 30:1 The Lord comforts Zion in her affliction with a transcendent vision of restoration: “I will lay your foundations with sapphires, and make . . . all your walls of precious stones” (Is. 54:11–12). And then the… Continue reading Stretch Out Your Tent

Comfort for a Traumatized Age

Second Haftarah of Comfort: Isaiah 49:14-51:3 The seven weeks of comfort or consolation following Tisha b’Av are especially relevant to the traumatized age in which we live. Like the Jewish generations that witnessed or lived shortly after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple on Tisha b’Av, we live in the shadow of unspeakable loss in… Continue reading Comfort for a Traumatized Age

Seedbed of Hope

The Jewish religious year is unflinchingly hope-filled. I almost wrote “unflinchingly optimistic,” but that doesn’t quite get it. Optimism believes everything is going to turn out all right, but the prophets often give us a picture of things that don’t turn out all right, at least in the short term. Hope looks at the disappointments… Continue reading Seedbed of Hope

Irreplaceable Israel

We’re in the middle of Elul, the sixth month, which means we’re in the middle of a prayer focus on protection and restoration for the land and people of Israel. The two prayer themes of protection and restoration or return (teshuvah in Hebrew, which also means repentance), are linked in Scripture, as in our theme… Continue reading Irreplaceable Israel