Seven of Comfort #6 (Ki Tavo)
Taken from the final third of the book of Isaiah, the “Seven of Comfort” (Aramaic: שבע דנחמתא) that are recited on the Shabbatot between Tisha B’Av and Rosh Hashanah do not relate to the weekly Torah reading. Instead, they powerfully describe the complex workings of the covenant between God, His people, His Land, and humanity as God redeems His people from exile, in Babylon and beyond, to return them to the Land.
Seven of Comfort #6 (Ki Tavo): Isaiah 60:1-22
After celebrating the renewed familial relationship between God, Zion, and His people in last week's Haftarah, this week’s penultimate Haftarah of Comfort emphasizes the renewal’s ever-growing Divine light and its impacts on the rest of humanity. God’s Presence in Jerusalem will illuminate the darkened nations of the world, attracting a constant stream of all peoples and their leaders to Zion and the Temple; God will destroy those who do not. From vast distances (see Haftarah Geography), the exiled Jewish people’s former oppressors will transport them home to Zion, and become their servants. They will build the Temple with unprecedented grandeur. Their abundant sacrifices, transported from afar , will glorify God, the Temple, and His people. God’s light will quickly end the exiled Jewish people’s mourning, granting them peace and inspiring them and their leaders to avoid oppression and to be righteous.
Verses 60:1-3: Zion must once again radiate the renewed presence of God. Dwelling in darkness, the nations and kings of the world will follow the Divine glory and light radiating from redeemed Jerusalem.
Arise, shine, for your [Jerusalem’s] light has come, and the Lord’s glory has shone upon you.
ק֥וּמִי א֖וֹרִי כִּ֣י בָ֣א אוֹרֵ֑ךְ וּכְב֥וֹד ה' עָלַ֥יִךְ זָרָֽח׃
Verses 60:4-9: Zion will radiate astonished joy as she envisions the world’s far-flung nations returning the Jews exiled among them to Jerusalem. The nations’ offerings on God’s restored altar and their praises will glorify Him, the Temple, and His people.
Surely the isles gather unto Me, with Tarshish’s [large] ships at the head, to bring your [Jerusalem’s] children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the Lord your God and for the Holy One of Israel, because He has glorified you.
כִּֽי־לִ֣י ׀ אִיִּ֣ים יְקַוּ֗וּ וָאֳנִיּ֤וֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ֙ בָּרִ֣אשֹׁנָ֔ה לְהָבִ֤יא בָנַ֙יִךְ֙ מֵֽרָח֔וֹק כַּסְפָּ֥ם וּזְהָבָ֖ם אִתָּ֑ם לְשֵׁם֙ ה' אֱלֹקיִךְ וְלִקְד֥וֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל כִּ֥י פֵאֲרָֽךְ׃
Verses 60:10-17: These nations and their kings will continually arrive to rebuild and glorify Jerusalem and its Temple with the finest materials; otherwise, they will be destroyed. Israel’s oppressors will utterly submit to them. Israel will have peace and recognize God as its savior. Jerusalem and the Temple will become ever more glorious.
Foreigners shall build your [Jerusalem’s] walls and their kings shall serve you- for in My wrath I struck you, [yet] had mercy on you in My grace.
וּבָנ֤וּ בְנֵֽי־נֵכָר֙ חֹמֹתַ֔יִךְ וּמַלְכֵיהֶ֖ם יְשָׁרְת֑וּנֶךְ כִּ֤י בְקִצְפִּי֙ הִכִּיתִ֔יךְ וּבִרְצוֹנִ֖י רִֽחַמְתִּֽיךְ׃
Verses 60:18-22: God’s light, not the sun or moon, will forever illuminate Zion. Its era of mourning concluded, all its residents will be righteous and have peace. Even its smallest and youngest will become mighty as God hurries their redemption.
Your [Jerusalem’s] sun will never again set, nor shall your moon be withdrawn. For the Lord shall be your everlasting light; your days of mourning will end.
לֹא־יָב֥וֹא עוֹד֙ שִׁמְשֵׁ֔ךְ וִירֵחֵ֖ךְ לֹ֣א יֵאָסֵ֑ף כִּ֣י ה' יִֽהְיֶה־לָּךְ֙ לְא֣וֹר עוֹלָ֔ם וְשָׁלְמ֖וּ יְמֵ֥י אֶבְלֵֽךְ׃
Locations noted are mentioned in verses 6 and 7. Inland from the Red Sea, the main route between Jerusalem and Sheba is about 1600 miles long - a tremendous journey in ancient days.
The Haftarah’s penultimate verse is a primary source about the World to Come.
Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:1
All of Israel have a share in the World to Come, as it is stated, “And your [Jerusalem’s] people are all righteous. They shall inherit the land forever, a branch of My planting, My hands’ work in which I glory.” (Isaiah 60:21).
כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה ס) וְעַמֵּךְ כֻּלָּם צַדִּיקִים לְעוֹלָם יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ נֵצֶר מַטָּעַי מַעֲשֵׂה יָדַי לְהִתְפָּאֵר.
With emendations, all translations are from Sefaria.org. To dedicate, comment, or subscribe, email email@example.com.