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Consolation for Jerusalem

האוטובוס שנפגע בפיגוע

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

What a difference between the news this morning from Jerusalem -- two critically wounded in a terrorist attack in the Old City -- and the haftarah we read about Jerusalem being consoled and comforted only yesterday, on Shabbat.

This past Shabbat, known as Shabbat Nachamu (Shabbat of Consolation) is the first in a series of seven Shabbatot of solace and consolation. On each of these Shabbatot, we read a moving, comforting haftarah, with heart-warming words about Jerusalem.

We read the following words, spoken by God to the prophet Isaiah, this past Shabbat morning, words that are pertinent to today's news: "'Console, console My people,' says your God. 'Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her.'"

But it is not just Jerusalem that needs to be consoled and comforted. Jerusalem must be the source of comfort for all of humanity. When we read these seven haftarahs of consolation we understand that the state of affairs inside Jerusalem affects what happens outside it. Our ability to make Jerusalem safe and secure, making sure good triumphs over evil within it, will radiate outward and give light to the entire world.

Here are some passages from the haftarahs of consolation we will read in the coming weeks:

"On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen; all day and all night"

 "Awake, awake; Clothe yourself with strength, O Zion; Put on your garments of majesty, O Jerusalem, the holy city, for the uncircumcised and the unclean shall never enter you again."

"Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither robbery nor destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise."

Amen. May the wounded have a speedy and complete recovery and may we merit to see all the prophecies of consolation fulfilled in our own days.


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