This week’s haftorah reveals to us another impressive dimension of our final redemption. The haftorah begins with the prophet Yeshaya representing Hashem and tells the Jewish people, “I Myself am the one who will console you.” (51:12) The Jewish people were told that Hashem will personally comfort them and redeem them from their exile. Yeshaya continues and says, “And I am your Hashem …. who will firmly establish you. Say to the inhabitants of Zion, ‘You are My people.'” (51:16) These passages indicate that there is some hesitation on the part of the Jewish nation regarding their return to Zion. There seems to be an insecurity in the minds of the Jewish people concerning the permanence of their return. The Jewish people have experienced before the process of exile and return but their return was short-lived. They therefore express their concern to Hashem and request some guarantee that, this time, their return will be permanent. Hashem responded that this time He would personally bring them back to Zion and that their fears were over.
The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni 474) explains the significance of this response with the following parable. Chazal compare this situation to a king who became enraged with his queen. He was so disturbed over her behavior that he totally rejected her and banished her from the palace. After a period of time he reconsidered his behavior and desired to reunite with her. He informed her of his intentions and she responded that she would consent to return on the condition that he doubled the amount of her kesubah (marriage financial agreement). Chazal conclude that we should appreciate the Jewish people’s predicament in this same manner. Hashem’s initial relationship with His people was established through the agreement of the Ten Commandments wherein Hashem opened with the words, “‘I’ am your Hashem.” This relationship proved, from the Jewish people’s end, to be unfortunately an imperfect one and they eventually strayed severely from the proper path. After their actions became absolutely inexcusable Hashem was forced to reject them and exile them from Zion. Now, Hashem was requesting their return and He found it appropriate to double His relationship with them. He therefore reflected this and announced, “‘I Myself’ will console you.” This indicated that Hashem would increase the revelation of Himself to His people and their experiences with Him. In response to this the Jewish people readily accepted Hashem’s offer and consented to return to Zion.
The indescribable scope of Hashem’s new commitment is presented to us at the close of the haftorah. Yeshaya says, “How beautiful is the sight on the mountain of the proclaimer of peace; proclaiming goodness and salvation and saying to Zion, “Your Hashem has come to reign …. the sound of your onlookers raising their voice in unison and singing, because with perfect clarity they will behold the return of Hashem to Zion.” Chazal in Yalkut Shimoni (428) explain these verses and remind us that it is virtually impossible in our days to sense Hashem’s presence with perfect clarity. Even when our nation merits this unique experience of feeling Hashem’s presence it is accompanied with heavy ramifications. But in the era of Mashiach this will no longer be so. The Baal Haturim (Bamidbar 14:14) shares this understanding and contrasts the nation’s experience at Mount Sinai to their experience during the era of Mashiach. Although they did merit to directly “view” Hashem’s presence when He stated in the Ten Commandments, “I am your Hashem’, this experience was overwhelming to them and they lost consciousness. Chazal (see Shabbos 88b) reveal to us that they were miraculously revived after each one of the commandments. However, in the era of Mashiach the Jewish people’s spiritual capacity will be greatly increased and they will be capable of viewing Hashem’s presence with total clarity. This comment is based on the passage in this week’s haftorah which states, “Because with perfect clarity they will behold Hashem’s return to Zion.” The actual wording reads, “From eye to eye” which indicates that we will per se look Hashem directly in the eye. Hashem’s return will be so tangible to the Jewish people that they will actually merit to sense His presence with perfect clarity.
We now return to the parable of the king and gain special insight into the era of Mashiach. During the receiving of the Torah, the Jewish people experienced an elevated relationship with Hashem and merited to truly sense Him amongst them when He said, “‘I am your Hashem.” However this revelation was far beyond their physical and spiritual capacity and it did not yield everlasting results. They could not fully absorb this experience and when this great revelation occurred they could not remain in a total state of consciousness. The revelation therefore remained one sided, and from Hashem’s standpoint “I am Hashem” had been shown. However, from the Jewish people’s vantage point the revelation was not absorbed or internalized and they eventually destroyed their relationship by following foreign ideals and false deities. Now that their return to Hashem was being suggested they responded with great concern, “What will guarantee that we won’t repeat our previous failings?” Hashem answered, “‘I Myself’ will redeem you.” Hashem informed them that this time the return will assume far greater proportions than ever before. By the time of redemption the Jewish people will be prepared to adequately absorb the revelations of Hashem and internalize them. These revelations will yield most perfect results and an everlasting bond will be established between Hashem and His people. “I” and “Myself” will be felt reflecting a perfect revelation from Hashem’s standpoint and an adequate absorption and internalization of this from the Jewish people as well. In essence Hashem will lay the Jewish people’s fears to rest by doubling His commitment. Not only will there be a revelation from His side but even we, mortal beings, will absorb this revelation and relate to it with perfect clarity. Our “eye”, our sense of Hashem and His “eye”, the actual degree of His revelation will be one and the same. This will yield a most perfect relationship, an everlasting association with our true husband and father above. Oh! May we merit to see this day!