This week’s haftorah is directed towards Zion displaying her illustrious future in the time of Mashiach. The haftorah begins with the disturbing thought that Zion refuses to be consoled by anyone. Although the ingathering of the exiles will have occurred and the land of Israel will be rebuilt, Zion herself will remain without comfort. Her thousands of years of laying in ruins will beg to be accounted for. In her illustrious past, she was accustomed to being the center of the world, the most beautiful site on earth. But for ages her respect, dignity and appreciation were stolen from her. In place of her splendor and glory she consistently faced shame, degradation and ruins. Remembering her glorious past she will be unable to clear her mind from all her shameful years of desolation, and will remain inconsolable.
The prophet Yeshaya addresses Zion and says to her in the name of Hashem, “You afflicted, stormy city who is not comforted, behold I will lay your floors with precious stones and set your foundation with sapphires.” (54:11) Hashem will respond to her concern and assure Zion that she will be totally restored to her previous glory. But Hashem won’t stop at that and therefore pledges to establish Zion even more desirable than ever. Her splendor will be so magnificent that even her floors and walls will be studded with precious jewels and sapphire stones. Her physical beauty will transcend all existing structures and the city will literally sparkle and glisten from diamonds. Every moment spent in Zion will be an unforgettable experience and everyone will be irresistibly attracted to her physical splendor and glory.
This however only satisfies the physical dimensions of Yerushalayim – but what about her previous spiritual heights? For thousands of years Zion has ceased to function as the center of Torah knowledge. How can Zion be comforted from this loss? To this, the prophet adds a significant dimension and says, “And all of your children will be students of Hashem and much peace will be amongst them.” (54:13) The clarity of Torah perspectives will be so readily accessible that all of the children of Zion will become students of Hashem. Chazal in Yalkut Shimoni (Yeshaya 479) explain this reference and reveal that in the time of Mashiach ultimate peace and harmony will exist amongst Torah leadership. They explain that the present confusion and diversity amongst our people are the result of the limitations of our Torah study system. Until the era of Mashiach we must rely upon the finite human mind to transmit Torah from teacher to student. Realizing that the human intellect of the teacher has its limitations it follows naturally that the Torah knowledge absorbed by the student will have even greater limitations. But Yeshaya reveals that in the time of Mashiach all of Zion will be privileged to study Torah from its original source, Hashem Himself. As there are no limitations to Hashem one can readily understand that there will be few limitations to the absorption of the Torah knowledge by the student. The clarity resulting from such study will produce an unbelievable level of peace and harmony in the Torah world, everyone following the exact same path of Torah observance.
The prophet expands his vision and even invites the nations of the world to participate in Zion’s renaissance. He calls to them and says, “All who are thirsty go and drink water without pay; go and acquire wine and milk.” (55:1) Chazal (Yalkut ad loc.) explain that the water here refers to Torah knowledge and the wine and milk to spiritual sustenance. Even the nations of the world will be invited to Torah study and unique spiritual experiences. The Radak explains here that the wondrous revelations of Hashem in the time of Mashiach will produce an unprecedented thirst for knowledge. The nations of the world will be so impressed by Hashem’s miracles and revelations that they will flock to Zion to study His word. This will ultimately yield the fulfillment of the prophetic words, “For from Zion will go forth Torah.” (Yeshaya 2:3) Zion will finally return to her previous spiritual greatness and serve as the Torah center of the world for the Jewish people. But in addition the Torah will be fully appreciated in the time of Mashiach even by the nations of the world recognizing the Torah as the absolute truth. Even they will view Torah as their true source of life and will absorb its every word as one does his bread and water.
Finally, Yeshaya completes his picture and says, “Behold nations that never knew you will run to become your servants because the glory of Hashem will shine upon you.” (55:5) The inhabitants of Zion will be held in such high esteem that nations from near and far will flock to them to serve their every need. With this final detail, Zion will be totally consoled. She has been promised to return to her original splendor. In addition she will become the most desirable spot on the face of the earth. Her children will even be privileged to study the words of Torah directly from Hashem. She’ll serve as the center of Torah for the entire world, nations of the world included. And finally, through her reflection of Hashem’s glory, she’ll even attract previously unknown nations which will display their total subservience to her. Her lonely forsaken past will be lost to history and she will forever enjoy her well earned glory being the most irresistable place both physically and spiritually in which one can be found.