This D’var Torah is in Z’chus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein in Z’chus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandfather Moshe Ben Breindel, and my grandmothers Channah Freidel Bas Sarah, and Shulamis Bas Etta
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken in terror attacks (Hashem Yikom Damam), and a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.
הַפְטָרָה שֶׁל פַּרָֺשַת כִּי תָבוֹא
ו׳ משבע דנחמתא
לעלוי נשמת קיילא רות בת בונם טוביה ע״ה
“Rise and Shine!”
The sixth Haftarah of the Sheva D’Nechamasa (Seven of Consolation) brings us this blast of full-out, positive energy [Yishaiyah 60:1-22]. Like a father waking his child in the morning for a long-anticipated family outing, Yishaiyah calls out [60:1], “Kumi Ori”—“Rise and shine!” From start to finish, the Navi does not merely encourage us but practically celebrates the future redemption as though it has already arrived. “Kumi Ori Ki Va Oreich…”-“Rise, shine, for your light has come…” [Ibid.]. And with that, the Navi proceeds to describe all of this wonderful news about the nations of the world benevolently volunteering and flocking to the service of the B’nei Yisrael, Israel being showered with gold and silver, and Hashem just taking glory in us. A simple reading of this Haftarah can’t not put a smile on one’s face. The positivity is overwhelming.
That said, it seems that this Haftarah is taking a slightly different direction from that of the previous Haftaros of this series. For most of the Sheva D’Nechamasa until now, the Navi’s voice was more on the solemn end. There was an apparent mood of heartbreak and feelings of hurt being patched over hope and encouragement. The voice was reassuring, but also still. “It will be okay. You can do this.” Here, however, there is hardly any mention of the destruction of the past. It is just pure jubilation—and over something that presumably hasn’t even happened yet. “Rise, shine, for your light has come…”—but has it come? Yes, we believe that with G-d’s help, one day, the light will come. And yes, then, we will celebrate wholeheartedly. But, when one is still in a state of distress or mourning, when one is awaiting comfort from his loss, yes, he can keep his faith and move forward. He can hope to celebrate again one day. One day. But, the ecstasy and merriment in this Haftarah, at this juncture, as enjoyable and gladdening as it is to read, seems slightly out of place. What is the nature of this “celebration” in our Haftarah? What does the Navi mean when it urges us, “Kumi Ori Ki Va Oreich…”-“Rise, shine, for your light has come…”?
Among all of the elation expressed in this Haftarah, the Navi has a clear fixation on one image and theme; Light. The opening Pasukim in our Haftarah read as follows:
“Kumi Ori Ki Va Oreich U’Ch’vod Hashem Olayich Zarach”-“Rise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of Hashem has shined upon you” [60:1]. “Ki HaChoshech Yichaseh Eretz VaArafel L’Umim V’Olayich Yizrach Hashem U’Ch’vodo Olayich Yeira’eh”-“Though darkness will cover the land and thick cloud the regimes, but on you, Hashem will shine and His glory will be seen” [60:2]. “V’Halchu Goyim L’Oreich U’Melachim L’Nogah Zarcheich”-“And nations will go to your light and kings to the glow of your shine” [60:3]. Skip a verse… “Az Tiri V’Naharta…”-“Then you will see and you will be radiant…” [60:5] and so forth.
There will be light, a glow, a shine, radiance, and #MoreLight. But, what does it all mean? Why is the Navi so fixated on light?
Not such a tough question. Light, as we might imagine and suggest, symbolizes positivity. When one is truly happy, his face glows with a metaphoric aura of radiance. Perhaps if he’s holy and really happy, the aura is more literally visible. Light can also be a symbol of clarity, for it is far easier to see and find our way under the light of the sun than in the darkness of the night. The symbolism is not hard at all to relate to. But, even as far as symbolism goes, the Navi, as we’ve just read, seems to take this imagery pretty far. It describes a shine that we will have, a glow which the nations of the world will flock to. It sounds almost tangible. But, at the same time, literally speaking, it is not the light we are familiar with. It’s not like the florescent bulbs we’re accustomed to seeing in all of our buildings or even the natural sunlight in its beauty which G-d provides us daily. It’s something apparently extra.
In fact, the Mei’am Lo’eiz explains that the light in our Haftarah is a reference to none other than the Primordial Light, the Or HaGanuz (Stored Light) which Hashem created on the first day of Creation [Bereishis 1:3-4, See Rashi]. The Torah tells us that G-d saw that this light was “good” and so He “separated” it, which Chazzal teach us means that He stored it away for the righteous in the World to Come. Though light was created on Day One, the world would not experience the light of the sun which we’re familiar with until Day Four. What that tells us, again, is that the light of our discussion is something altogether different from the light of the luminaries.
But, it’s not just a different kind of light. If we take it step further, this light, though unfamiliar to us, is the most fundamental light. In fact, if the Mei’am Lo’eiz is correct, then what our Navi is describing is not a metaphor or symbol for something else, but it is light in its most literal essence. If anything, the light of the sun is only a Mashal, an analogy and metaphor, for whatever this light is. What is this essential light? It sounds like a wonderful thing, but what is it? Where can we get it?
This light is apparently the source of joy in our Haftarah. The goodness and positivity described is that most essential light, and it is apparently the source of all light. Florescent bulbs are just an artificial recreation of natural sunlight, and sunlight is only a mere analogy of this light of goodness. This light of goodness does not depend on anything else. It is the source itself. It is pure goodness from G-d Himself. That is why the Navi explicitly states towards the end of the Haftarah [60:19-20], “Lo Yihiyeh Lach Od HaShemesh L’Or Yomam U’L’Nogah HaYarei’ach Lo Ya’ir Lach V’Hayah Lach Hashem L’Or Olam Veilokayich L’Sif’arteich; Lo Yavo Od Shimsheich Vireicheich Lo Yei’aseif Ki Hashem Yihiyeh Lach L’Or Olam V’Shalmu Yimei Evleich”-“The sun will no longer be for you for the light of day, nor will the glow of the moon illuminate for you; rather Hashem will be for you an Eternal Light, and your G-d [will be] for your splendor. No longer will your sun set nor will your moon be gathered in, for Hashem will be for you for an Eternal Light and your days of mourning will be complete.”
What does the Navi mean? Our light will not depend on the natural course of the sun or the moon, nor on fire or on lightbulbs, but Hashem Himself will be our light source. But, again, this passage is not talking about physical earthly light, but light in its essence, the Primordial Light that Hashem created—that goodness and positive bliss, our source of happiness. In other words, our happiness and goodness will not be dependent on the sun—on the things that naturally make us happy. That’s not authentic. It’s not from the source. That’s artificial, “florescent goodness.” That’s “sunlight happiness.” Even “sunlight happiness” is not directly from the true source of light. Our goodness and happiness will not be determined by our environment, our situation, or anything synthetic and external. It will be a genuine goodness and happiness. It will come directly from the source, the from the most real, Primordial Light, the hidden light, meant for the righteous, the light that Hashem’s nation can look forward to, because the very next verse in the Haftarah assures us, “V’Ameich Kulam Tzaddikim”-“And your people are all righteous ones” [60:21].
We were troubled earlier as the Navi appeared to be celebrating at a time of consolation. Indeed, consolation and happiness are not synonymous. However, if we understand the Navi’s assurance of this light, the essential light of genuine goodness, then we can begin to understand how, even in Galus in This World, such a light can be enjoyed and celebrated. This light, although hidden, is not inaccessible. There are some people who can attain this genuine light of goodness and happiness—a goodness that can be appreciated regardless of one’s situation, a happiness despite every reason to be sad. Perhaps because of their righteous attitudes, they experience light from the truest source so that celebration is not only natural, but the most natural. It is a light that other people cannot help but notice and envy. This light causes the nations of the world to flock to B’nei Yisrael who will have that light. But, the point is that if you have that light, you can rejoice in that jubilation always, even in a state of Churvah (destruction). You would not merely have Nechamah enabling you to move forward, but you would have a light that compels you to dance.
My sister, Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, whose Yahrseit is this Motzei Shabbos—she experienced this light all of the time. She lived through personal, physiological Churvah (destruction). But, her illness, like the florescent bulbs and even the sunlight itself, were only artificial. They had no effect on the genuine goodness and happiness she had, because she was experiencing the goodness and happiness from the source of light itself. She could dance when her body could not. She could rise and shine in celebration of Shabbos when her feet could physically no longer.
The Haftarah celebrates a light which, though hidden, is accessible to all of us, regardless of our situation. We can be connected to the source of that true light, if we want to. For all intents and purposes, in fact, that light has already come, as the Navi stated. If we allow ourselves to tap into that genuine source of light, we can celebrate every second of life with Hashem. We can rise and shine!
May we all be Zocheh to attain this genuine light source and experience the true goodness and happiness that come with it in their fullest form with the coming Geulah in the days of Moshiach, Bimheirah Biyomeinu! Have a Great Shabbos!
-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg 🙂