Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Haftorah Beam - Bamidbar

The first Torah reading in the book of Numbers is connected to the divine Covenant with the People of Israel, and the Haftorah reading relates to its restoration in the time of the prophet Hosea.  Having strayed from G*d, the people are returning to their traditions and observances, and will be rewarded with a renewed closeness with G*d:

א  וְהָיָה מִסְפַּר בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, כְּחוֹל הַיָּם, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יִמַּד, וְלֹא יִסָּפֵר; וְהָיָה בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר-יֵאָמֵר לָהֶם, לֹא-עַמִּי אַתֶּם, יֵאָמֵר לָהֶם, בְּנֵי אֵל-חָי.1 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass that, instead of that which was said unto them: 'Ye are not My people', it shall be said unto them: 'Ye are the children of the living God.'
The rest of the Haftorah deals with this in greater detail, comparing the People of Israel with an unfaithful wife, rejected and forlorn. It concludes with the restoration of intimacy, which is initiated not by repentance but by G*d:
טז  לָכֵן, הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי מְפַתֶּיהָ, וְהֹלַכְתִּיהָ, הַמִּדְבָּר; וְדִבַּרְתִּי, עַל-לִבָּהּ.16 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly unto her.
יז  וְנָתַתִּי לָהּ אֶת-כְּרָמֶיהָ מִשָּׁם, וְאֶת-עֵמֶק עָכוֹר לְפֶתַח תִּקְוָה; וְעָנְתָה שָּׁמָּה כִּימֵי נְעוּרֶיהָ, וּכְיוֹם עֲלוֹתָהּ מֵאֶרֶץ-מִצְרָיִם.17 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she shall respond there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
יח  וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם-הַהוּא נְאֻם-יְהוָה, תִּקְרְאִי אִישִׁי; וְלֹא-תִקְרְאִי-לִי עוֹד, בַּעְלִי.18 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call Me Ishi, and shalt call Me no more Baali.

The reconciliation begins with G*d leading us, as he has done with His people since Abraham, into the wilderness.  In the empty, barren wilderness, we can hear His "small still voice" as it "speaks tenderly" unto us.  In that place we can see the love that has always been there, and can respond with our own prayers.

In similar vein, we should see our fellow man not as "not my people", but as "children of a living G*d".

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