Haftaras Shabbos HaGadol

This Shabbos, we read the special haftarah for Shabbos HaGadol (Malachi 3:4-24). This segment in Malachi comes on the heels of a segment describing how Hashem will subject us to a rigorous cleansing and smelting process to purify us. The haftarah itself begins with the following verse: “The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be pleasing to Hashem as in days of yore and former years.” The Maggid notes that this verse can be read b’derech drash as a plea: “May the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasing to Hashem as in days of yore and former years.”
The Maggid links the verse, read in the above way, to a Gemara on Shir HaShirim 4:9: “You have captured My heart, O my sister the bride – you have captured My heart with [just] one of your eyes ….” The Gemara remarks (Shabbos 88b): “In the beginning, with [just] one of your eyes; when you fulfill, with both of your eyes.”
The Maggid develops the idea by analyzing the difference between the service our forefathers offered to Hashem and the service we offer. The forefathers kept the Torah voluntarily. Hence Hashem was pleased with their service; He did not scrutinize it strictly, for it was a pure gift. We, however, are obligated through the covenant at Sinai to keep the Torah. Hashem therefore has reason to scrutinize our service according to a strict standard – and we are not fully meeting our obligations. Hence Hashem’s love for us is diminished – we are capturing His heart with only one of our eyes. In the verse from Malachi, in the Maggid’s rendering, we plead with Hashem to temper His outlook toward our service. We ask Him to view our service with favor, as if it were a gift, like the service of our forefathers.
In the end of days, we will rise to a lofty level, and fufill our obligations to Hashem under the Torah in full measure. And then, in turn, Hashem will love us in full measure – we will capture His heart with both our eyes. 
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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