By Rabbi Dovid Siegel | Series: | Level:

Yeshaya 61:10

This week’s haftorah marks the climax of a seven week series of reflectionon Jewish redemption. In this final presentation Hashem announces Hispersonal return to the Jewish people. Now that every other dimension ofredemption is in place the time has finally arrived for Hashem to rest HisDivine Presence amongst His people. Eretz Yisroel has been revived,Yerushalayim has been rebuilt, the exiles have returned en masse, but theultimate objective has yet to be seen. In response to this, the prophetYeshaya quotes the Jewish people saying, “I will be gladdened by Hashem,My soul will rejoice over My G-d.” (61,10) Chazal in Yalkut Shimoni (505)view the Jewish people’s response to be specifically related to the returnof Hashem to Yerushalayim. The Jewish people respond to all themagnificent prophecies of their glorious future and proclaim that theirtrue source of happiness is but one, the return of Hashem to His belovedpeople. They sorely long for the privilege of sensing the presence ofHashem amongst them and feeling the closeness and love He has for Hispeople. They resolve that they will be gladdened and happy only throughHis return to them.

The prophet continues and describes the proportions of this return and theextent of Hashem’s cherished relationship. “No longer will you be referredto as forsaken because about you it shall be proclaimed, ‘My desire is inyou’.” (62, 4) Hashem pledges to fully identify with His people and todisplay His true desire in them. His relationship with them will be soencompassing and evident that a newly gained identity will be conveyed uponthe Jewish people, “Hashem’s desirable one”. But a worry crosses the mindsof the Jewish nation concerning the nature of their forthcomingrelationship. After all, weren’t they previously associated with Hashem insimilar proportions before being rejected by Him? If so, they reason thatalthough Hashem will truly return to them it will only feel to them like aremarriage. Their long awaited association will have a nostalgic air to itand won’t bring them the true happiness they seek.

The prophet responds and reveals to them the indescribable proportions oftheir new relationship. Yeshaya says, “Hashem will rejoice over you like agroom over His bride.” (62, 5) The Radak explains that Hashem’s return tothe Jewish people will possess all the freshness and novelty of a groom tohis bride. Their relationship represents the epitome of happiness andappreciation as they begin forging their eternal bond with love andrespect. In this same manner Hashem’s newly founded relationship with Hispeople will possess similar qualities. It will be so complete and perfectthat it won’t leave room for reflections upon their past. The happinessand fulfillment that they will experience will be so encompassing that itwill feel like a fresh start, a relationship never experienced before. TheRadak adds an indescribable dimension to this relationship and explainsthat this sense of newness will actually continue forever. Instead ofbecoming stale and stagnant their relationship with Hashem will always beone of growth and development and will constantly bring them to greaterheights. Each newly gained level of closeness will be so precious and dearto them that it will be regarded as a completely new relationship repletewith all of its sensation and appreciation.

But the most impressive factor of all is that the above description is notonly our feelings towards Hashem but is, in truth, Hashem’s feelingstowards us. The prophet says that Hashem Himself will forever rejoice overus with the sensation of a groom over His newly acquired bride. From thiswe discover that Hashem’s feelings towards His people are literallyboundless. Even after all the straying we have done, Hashem still desiresto unite with us in the proportions described above. He desires to erasethe past and establish a perfectly new relationship, so perfect and newthat it will continuously produce the heightened emotions of a bride andgroom for eternity.

These emotions are, in truth the hidden message behind the tefillin whichwe don each day. As we wrap the tefillin strap around our finger we recitespecial passages expressing our betrothal to Hashem. This experiencerepresents our placing the wedding ring of Hashem on our finger, portrayingour perfect relationship with Him. But our Chazal (see Brochos 6a)inform us that Hashem also wears tefillin. In proof of this they cite apassage in this week’s haftorah which states, “Hashem swears by His rightand by the strength of His arm.” (62, 8) Chazal explain that the words,”the strength of His arm” refer to the tefillin worn on the left arm. TheMaharsha expounds upon this concept and explains that Hashem actually bindsHimself to the Jewish people. Hashem’s tefillin, like ours, representdevotion and commitment, His commitment to His beloved people. Hashemcherishes His relationship with us and as an expression of His commitmentto us, He also wears a betrothal band. Eventually our boundless love forHashem will find its expression together with Hashem’s boundless love forus and together we will enjoy this indescribable relationship forever andforever.

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