Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Haftorah Beam - Lech L'cha

How providential that this week's parsha is Lech L'cha -- "Go forth (to yourself)" -- as we get ready for the Buddy Walk.  The Torah portion is about Abraham walking the walk -- literally and figuratively -- that will change the world and the way that humanity understands the spiritual realm.  Buddy Walks are about walking the walk -- literally and figuratively -- to change the way that humanity understands those who are "different".

The Haftorah reading clearly echoes this theme:
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
Why declare, O Israel,
"My way is hid from the Lord,

My cause is ignored by my God"?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is God from of old,
Creator of the earth from end to end,
He never grows faint or weary,
His wisdom cannot be fathomed.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
Fresh vigor to the spent.
30 Youths may grow faint and weary,
And young men stumble and fall;
31 But they who trust in the Lord shall renew their strength
As eagles grow new plumes:
They shall run and not grow weary,
They shall march and not grow faint.

Actually, I struggled to take an excerpt out of this.  It is all SO GOOD.


  1. You're right, it's an amazing Haftorah!

    But you, Israel, My servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    Seed of Abraham My friend —
    You whom I drew from the ends of the earth
    And called from its far corners,
    To whom I said: You are My servant;
    I chose you, I have not rejected you —
    Fear not, for I am with you,
    Be not frightened, for I am your God;
    I strengthen you and I help you,
    I uphold you with My victorious right hand.
    Shamed and chagrined shall be
    All who contend with you;
    They who strive with you
    Shall become as naught and shall perish.

    Very inspiring stuff... and not outdated at all, if you think of the miracles of the modern State of Israel and the victories of the IDF.

    1. Yeah, I was looking at that excerpt, too.... And a few verses later, where it refers to "thou worm Jacob" I was wondering what that was all about, so I looked it up on mechon-mamre.org:

      יג כִּי, אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ--מַחֲזִיק יְמִינֶךָ; הָאֹמֵר לְךָ אַל-תִּירָא, אֲנִי עֲזַרְתִּיךָ. {ס} 13 For I the LORD thy God hold thy right hand, who say unto thee: 'Fear not, I help thee.' {S}
      יד אַל-תִּירְאִי תּוֹלַעַת יַעֲקֹב, מְתֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; אֲנִי עֲזַרְתִּיךְ נְאֻם-יְהוָה, וְגֹאֲלֵךְ קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל. 14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I help thee, saith the LORD, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

      Interestingly, verse 13 addresses the masculine, but because תּוֹלַעַת is feminine, verse 14 addresses the feminine. It reminds me of the dichotomy between "the whole universe was created for me" and "I am dust and ashes".

      There is also this commentary on it:

    2. Interesting! And apparently this passage has created quite a bit of difficulty over the centuries.

      I like the interpretation in which God says 'fear not', even if the House of Jacob is likened to a worm. God will help us anyway, whether we are strong or weak -- because we were chosen for a sacred responsibility, and because He promised us that help.

      It can be tempting, at a moment of despair, to wonder why one should even bother asking God for help. Why would God bother with such an insignificant nothing as me? Here is our answer -- because He promised He would.

      This also helps us to remember that, while we may feel as insignificant as worms to those who would destroy us, in God's sight they are worms too.

    3. Indeed! I also liked the metaphor that a worm, despite being small and vulnerable, can nonetheless overcome tremendous obstacles (even without miraculous divine intervention) simply by relying on its own (G*d-given) strengths: Its digestive juices and its persistence. I think that the text supports this in another way: It does not say, "Fear not, for I shall help you", but "Fear not, for I HAVE HELPED you". The help is already there at hand -- we just have to identify it.

  2. In these days - when so much is uncertain - these are words of hope and inspiration. They remind us that we are not here alone and more than that, that Hashem is present, that he gives us both the strength to deal with the life at hand and the help that we need when our own strength may not be enough.


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