Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Haftorah Beam - VaEtkhanan

I really enjoyed re-reading my drash from last year for this Torah portion -- it felt so relevant for how I feel about my current project!

For the Haftorah reading, I want to highlight 2 excerpts.  First,

ט  עַל הַר-גָּבֹהַּ עֲלִי-לָךְ, מְבַשֶּׂרֶת צִיּוֹן, הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ, מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלִָם; הָרִימִי, אַל-תִּירָאִי, אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה, הִנֵּה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.9 O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah: 'Behold your God!'
י  הִנֵּה אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה בְּחָזָק יָבוֹא, וּזְרֹעוֹ מֹשְׁלָה לוֹ; הִנֵּה שְׂכָרוֹ אִתּוֹ, וּפְעֻלָּתוֹ לְפָנָיו.10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come as a Mighty One, and His arm will rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.
יא  כְּרֹעֶה, עֶדְרוֹ יִרְעֶה, בִּזְרֹעוֹ יְקַבֵּץ טְלָאִים, וּבְחֵיקוֹ יִשָּׂא; עָלוֹת, יְנַהֵל.  11 Even as a shepherd that feedeth his flock, that gathereth the lambs in his arm, and carrieth them in his bosom, and gently leadeth those that give suck. 

In the context of the current conflict with Hamas in Gaza, this points out several things.  First, Zion was synonymous with both the people and land of Israel since biblical times. As Martin Luther King Jr. reportedly said, "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism."

Second, the G*d being praised here is simultaneously a powerful, mighty ruler, and a gentle, nurturing shepherd.  This is the behavior of Israel's army, the IDF: It is powerful, striking mightily at those who seek to drive the Jews into the sea; and yet, it goes to great lengths to minimize civilian casualties, and provides field hospitals for the local injured.

The other excerpt is:

כט  נֹתֵן לַיָּעֵף, כֹּחַ; וּלְאֵין אוֹנִים, עָצְמָה יַרְבֶּה.29 He giveth power to the faint; and to him that hath no might He increaseth strength.
ל  וְיִעֲפוּ נְעָרִים, וְיִגָעוּ; וּבַחוּרִים, כָּשׁוֹל יִכָּשֵׁלוּ.30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall;
לא  וְקוֹיֵ יְהוָה יַחֲלִיפוּ כֹחַ, יַעֲלוּ אֵבֶר כַּנְּשָׁרִים; יָרוּצוּ וְלֹא יִיגָעוּ, יֵלְכוּ וְלֹא יִיעָפוּ.  31 But they that wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. 

When life gets us down and we feel like all is lost, faith can often restore power to our endeavors.

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