Haftaras Shabbos Rosh Chodesh

In this week’s special haftarah for Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, Yeshayah says (verse 66:10): “Rejoice with Yerushalayim and jubilate over her, all you who love her; exult with her in exultation, all you who mourned for her.” The Maggid links this verse with the following one (Yirmiyah 31:12): “Then the maiden shall rejoice with dance, and the young men and elders together; I shall transform their mourning into exultation, and I shall comfort them and gladden them from their grief.” This verse mentions both the young and the old, hinting that each will rejoice in a different way. The Maggid elaborates on this idea.
Regarding the manna that Hashem provided the Jewish People in the wilderness, our Sages teach that each person tasted in it whatever he wished to taste. Hashem employed great wisdom in sustaining the Jewish People in this specific way. He could have provided everyone gourmet delicacies, but the commoners would not have appreciated them, and it is not Hashem’s way to perform miracles for nothing. On the other hand, He could have given each person the food that most befit him, but then each person would get a different portion, which would cause jealousy. He therefore sustained them in a way such that everyone’s portion looked the same, but each person tasted in it whatever befit him.
Hashem faces a similar problem in regard to the final redemption. The Jewish nation comprises both old people and young people. The old people have absorbed a great deal of the suffering of exile, and therefore, when the final redemption comes, they will need a great deal of gladdening. The young people, who have suffered less, will need less gladdening. Now, if Hashem granted everyone a large portion of joy, the young people would wind up with an excess. But if He granted each person the portion befitting him, the differences in the portions could cause jealousy. He will solve this problem using a strategy similar to that of the manna. He will enable everyone to behold the same wondrous salvation, but each person will feel a different level of joy, depending on how much suffering he felt before.
As an analogy, suppose someone goes traveling, and later an erroneous rumor is spread that he was killed. Everyone who knew him will mourn, but they will not all mourn to the same degree. Close friends will mourn more than acquaintences, and the man’s wife and children will mourn most intensely. Afterward, when the man returns home, everyone who mourned over him will now rejoice, but, again, not to the same degree. Those who mourned more when the man was reported dead will rejoice more over his safe return.
It will be the same with us when the final redemption comes. Hashem will work great miracles which we all will be privileged to behold, and we all will rejoice. Thus, Yirmyahu’s prophecy says that Hashem will impart joy to “young men and elders together”—on an equal basis. Yet each will feel a different degree of joy, depending on how much he mourned before. Accordingly, Hashem’s says that He will “transform their mourning into exultation”—each person’s previous mourning, whatever its specific level, will be transformed into a matching level of exultation. He will “gladden them from their grief”—each person’s previous grief will serve as the source of his final joy.  In a similar vein, Dovid HaMelech declares (Tehillim 126:5): “Those who sowed with tears will reap with joy.” And just as a person who sows more naturally reaps more, those who mourn more will naturally rejoice more. Similarly, in our haftarah, Yeshayah says: “Exult with her [Yerushalayim] in exultation, all you who mourned for her.” However much one mourns now over Yerushalayim’s degraded state, he will exult to the same degree when she is restored to her full glory.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.