Fourth haftarah of consolation

Shofetim By :  Jan Uhrbach Acting Dean of the Rabbinical and Cantorial Schools Posted On Aug 17, 2018 / 5778 | The Voice of the Prophet

This fourth and middle haftarah of consolation and comfort begins with a challenge to the people: why do you allow a mere mortal, however seemingly powerful, to send you into a tailspin of fear and anxiety? Isaiah points out that the people are suffering not only from externally imposed oppression, but from their own internal response—dread, reeling like a drunkard, despair. This hopelessness that denies or ignores unforeseen possibility and unexpected redemption is called “forgetting God.”

To find hope in such circumstances requires a purposeful act of imagination, envisioning and calling into being new possibilities and paths which once seemed impossible or unimaginable, a process which might be called “finding God.” The prophet therefore calls the people to rouse themselves, rise up, and awaken—to re-engage their imaginations and participate in crafting a vision of a new reality.

Food for thought:

  • What inspires you to creative thinking and imaginative problem-solving?

  • Do the ways you think about God assist you in such redemptive re-envisioning, or get in the way?

  • If they get in the way, how might you move toward a healthier, more growth-oriented theology?

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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