Shabbat Nachamu / שבת נחמו

Shabbat Nachamu (“Sabbath of comfort/ing) takes its name from the haftarah from Isaiah in the Book of Isaiah 40:1-26 that speaks of “comforting” the Jewish people for their suffering. It the first of seven haftarahs of consolation leading up to the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Shabbat Nachamu begins at sundown on Fri, 27 July 2018.

(Devarim 3:26) “But the L-rd was wroth with me”: As one would say (to his neighbor): That man was angry with me and was filled with wrath against me. “because of you”: You are the cause. Likewise (Psalms 106:32) “And they aroused the wrath (of the L-rd) at the waters of contention, and Moses was afflicted because of them.” “and He did not heed me”: He did not accept my prayer. R. Nathan says: It is written (Iyyov 36:5) “Behold G-d is great, and He will not despise” — the Holy One Blessed be He does not despise the prayer of the many, but here “and He did not heed me.” He did not accept my prayer. “And the L-rd said to me, etc.” He said to me: “It is enough for you with this thing,” (My refusal to heed You), tzaddikim being kept (by such rebuke) from a graver transgression. In this regard, R. Yishmael adduced a folk-saying: “According to the camel is the load.” Variantly: If Moses, the wise, the father of the wise; the prophet, the father of the prophets, was not forgiven, how much more so lesser men who delay judgment and who pervert judgment! (lit.,) “much for you”: He said to him: Much (reward) is in keeping for you; much is stored away for you, viz. (Psalms 31:20) “How much is Your good that You have stored away for those who fear You!” And it is written (Isaiah 64:3) “And none had ever heard or given ear (to such things before). No eye had ever seen a god other than You doing (such things for those) who hope to Him.” Variantly: “Much for you”: He said to him: “Much have you labored; much have you toiled. Take leave, Moses, and rest,” viz. (Daniel 12:13) “Go (to your reward) in the end (of days), when you will rest.” He said to him: “A king (Moses) does not enter (Eretz Yisrael) as a commoner.” Moses: “If not, I will become Joshua’s disciple.” The L-rd: “Rav lecha” (“The station of ‘Rav’ is yours.”) “It does not befit a Rav to become the disciple of his disciple.” Moses: “I will enter through the air or through space.” The L-rd: (Devarim 32:52) “And there shall you not come.” Moses: “If not, let (at least) my bones cross the Jordan.” The L-rd: (Ibid. 3:27) “For you shall not cross this Jordan”: Your bones, too, will not cross, viz. (Ibid. 4:22) “for I will die in this land; I will not cross the Jordan.” Now can a dead man cross? — Moses was saying: “My bones, too, will not cross.” (Ibid. 3:26) “Do not speak to Me again about this thing”: He said to him: “Do not ask this thing of Me, but decree a different thing upon me, and I will do it.” An analogy: A king issues a difficult decree upon his son, who asks him to rescind it. The king: Do not ask this thing of me, but decree a different thing upon me and I will do it, viz. (Iyyov 22:28) “You will decree and it will be fulfilled for you.” Moses: If not, (i.e., If I cannot enter Eretz Yisrael), let me see it. The L-rd: This I will do. (Devarim, Ibid. 23) “Go up to the summit of Pisgah, etc.” We are hereby apprised that the L-rd showed Moses the distant as (if it were) near; the concealed, as (if it were) revealed — all that is called “Eretz Yisrael,” as it is written (Ibid. 34:1-3) “And the L-rd showed him the whole land … and all of Naftali … and the Negev and the plain, etc.”