Monday, August 8, 2011

Parshat Nachamu (Comfort)

Parshat Va’Etchanan (Shabbat Nachamu)
Dvarim 3:23 – 7:11
12 Av 5771 / August 12 – 13, 2011

Parshat Nachamu (Comfort)
by Laura W., MH London Alumnus
This Dvar is dedicated to the Aliyah Neshama of Ursula bas Yisrael and Zvi ben Abba

This week’s Parshah is Va'etchanan and as it always follows Tisha b'Av, it is more commonly referred to as Shabbat Nachamu (Comfort). This name is taken from the opening words of the haftarah from Isaiah (40:1)

'Nachamu, nachamu- Comfort, comfort My people'

I recently read an article about how a robotics division of a Japanese company lent a retirement home two of its seal robots, nicknamed Love and Peace, in an attempt to console survivors of the Tsunami and earthquake. It reminded me that this week we read the first (of seven) haftarot of consolation. During the next 7 weeks we read passages in which Hashem sends messengers to console Jerusalem. We start to see the familiar Jewish themes here of destruction and renewal. Though it is not until week 7, when Hashem offers direct consolation as we approach the month of Elul, that real healing and renewal can begin.

Sometimes it takes the experience of a personal or national tragedy to see what's real in our lives. We read about how the 2nd Temple was built with silver and gold but its destruction was due to a lack of social action and consciousness. Hashem seems more concerned with what is in our hearts and considers that more real than how much money we have and what we can buy with it. It was only by losing something so essential and significant as the Temple that we could realise how important it is to take care of each other and the world we share.

On one hand, as I am writing this (before Tisha B’Av) I am aware that the Temple lights are about to go out and we will soon experience a severing of spiritual power. On the other hand, I am comforted by the fact that Tish B’Av also heralds in a process of creating a new light.

My blessing to everyone is to experience a complete redemption from both physical and spiritual exile this Shabbat and the ability to feel Hashem’s light and comfort in our lives.


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