Reflection on Isaiah 66

This reflection originally appeared as part of the 929 Project, the study of a chapter of the Jewish Bible or Tanakh each day.

Our chapter, the final in the Book of Isaiah, presents us with a variety of contrasting and paradoxical motifs. A beautiful, redemptive conjuring of Yerushalayim is juxtaposed with the ways in which those who do evil in the world or do not follow Hashem’s ways will be treated. We are reminded that the world is Hashem’s, entirely brought about by Hashem. How, then, to reconcile a yearning for redemption, a yearning for full consolation, consolation beyond measure with the seemingly steadfast presence of those who act wickedly, and turn away from what is right and good? How are we to deal with the disappointment and anger so evident in our chapter? This anger is no less real and present for many of us today than it was for the Prophet Isaiah. Cosmic yearning is no less real in our time. For many of us, the world as it is and the world as it should be feel as though they are lifetimes apart. Disconnection from self and others, to say nothing of our worrisome disconnect from and disregard for nature and from source often leave many of us feeling unmoored, adrift, destabilized.

Yet, our people have remained resilient, hopeful, always yearning for, imagining and dreaming of a more redemptive future for themselves and all others. As we meditate upon the beautiful verses in our chapter which describe a redemptive consciousness, may that give us the strength we may need in these times. Maintaining our Emunah, our faith, in a world consoled utterly, in a world in which all thrive can nourish our spirits and our imaginations for what comes next.


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