Sixth haftarah of consolation

Rabbi Jan Uhrbach
Ki Tetzei By :  Jan Uhrbach Acting Dean of the Rabbinical and Cantorial Schools Posted On Aug 31, 2018 / 5778 | The Voice of the Prophet

In the sixth haftarah of consolation, Isaiah draws heavily on the metaphor of light and darkness, and the repair and redemption is imagined as individuals’ and society’s embodiment of divine light. When God’s presence truly shines upon a person or nation, that person or nation is in turn able to bring light to others. This light—which may be understood as moral guidance and instruction, truth, compassion, justice, unification, love—is the true source of power and honor, the “wealth” of which the prophet speaks.

By implication, when the path to power, honor, or wealth brings darkness to the world—resting on oppression or degradation of others, engendering division, hatred, or violence—one can be sure that one is not walking with God. Moreover, such “wealth” is temporary, and pales in comparison to the “riches and royalty” that a life in God’s presence offers; it is copper to divine gold, and iron to divine silver.

Food for thought:

  • Have you ever felt a sense of God’s presence, or felt you were able to bring God’s presence to others? How would you describe the experience?
  • What marked it for you as “true”?
  • In contrast, when have you thought you were acting from pure motives or even religious conviction, but in retrospect you now see the impact of your “dark side” (the yetzer hara, or negative impulse)?
  • Are the things you can do to recognize the influence of the yetzer hara sooner?

Listen to the haftarah brought to life as it is declaimed in English by renowned actor Ronald Guttman by subscribing to The Voice of the Prophet podcast.

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