Haftarah for Noach

Isaiah 54:1-55:5

Isaiah compares Jerusalem to a barren woman, but he tells her to rejoice because the barren one has more children than the fertile one (referring to other nations that were not overrun). Jerusalem is told to make room for all her children, who are coming. They will spread out east and west, taking back other cities that had been abandoned or occupied by enemy forces. No longer will Jerusalem be ashamed, as she was in exile; her "widowhood" is over.

G-d is the Master of the world. He redeemed Israel and he will be recognized as G-d by the whole world. Israel is not really like a widow, because their "husband" (G-d) still lives. They were merely "separated," but now they are reconciled. G-d was angry with the Jewish people for but a short time; now He gathers them with great mercy and everlasting kindness.

This is like the flood in the time of Noah, during which time G-d swore never again to flood the Earth. Now He swears never to punish the Jews like this again. Mighty mountains will eventually be eroded away, but G-d's kindness and His covenant of peace will be with us forever.

Israel is like one who has been tossed about by a storm. G-d will pave our floors and gates with precious gems, not only in the Temple and Jerusalem, but throughout the land. All our children will study the ways of G-d and they will have great peace. We will be firmly established because of our righteousness, not fearing oppression. Those who are not with G-d will fear. Those who oppose Israel will fall before them (or, perhaps, will come to side with them).

G-d created the entire concept of metal work. A smith forges implements of war, but we need not fear those who wield them. Any weapon held against Israel will fail; anyone who speaks against them will be defeated. This is the reward of those who have served G-d.

Chapter 55

Isaiah tells all who are thirsty to go to the water and all those with no money to go buy food - it will not be an impediment. (As in many places, the food and drink are a metaphor for Torah.) Why should you work and pay for no food? Listen to G-d and eat your fill of goodness. Turn towards Him and live, enjoying an eternal covenant.

David's descendant (Moshiach - the Messiah) will chastise the nations and rule over them. You will call a nation you don't know and they will come because they've heard about the miracles G-d has performed for Israel.

Excerpted from The OU's Nach Yomi