As we read the seven haftorahs of comfort that lead
up to the Yomim Noraim, these insights into the true
meaning of true comfort should prove very valuable.
Part I discussed the fact that the seven haftorahs
that we read from Tisha B'Av until Rosh Hashonoh show that
consolation provides a crucial bridge that takes us from the
Churban to the Tikkun that we have on Yom Kippur, equivalent
to our receiving the Second Luchos on that day. However, we
do not even understand what consolation is and how it could
be possible. How can we console someone in the midst of a
loss? Consolation does not mean distraction, so how is such a
thing possible? It is certainly not enough to just read the
haftorahs in public. We must assimilate within
ourselves the consolation. There is a process to which we
must join ourselves in order to pass from the Churban to the
eventual Tikkun. In order to do this, as a first step we must
learn what it is.
At the beginning of Brochos (5a) in the gemora
on the posuk (Shemos 24), . . . vo'Etno lecho es luchos
ho'even vehaTorah vehamitzvoh asher kosavti lehorosom,
Chazal explain each of the terms in the posuk.
Luchos ho'even -- this is the Ten Commandments.
Torah -- this is Scripture. Vehamitzvah -- this
is the Mishnah. Asher Kosavti -- these are the
nevi'im ukesuvim. Lehorosom -- this is Talmud.
All this teaches us (says the gemora) that all of them
were given to Moshe Rabbenu on Sinai.
There is an obligation to learn everything that is mentioned
in this posuk. All were given to us by Hashem. There
is thus a chovoh gemuroh to learn nevi'im as
Chazal said that we fulfill this obligation through two
pesukim we say every day: Uvo leTzion go'eil
uleshovei pesha beYaakov ne'um Hashem, and the following
posuk, Va'ani zos berisi osom omar Hashem, Ruchi asher
olecho udevorai asher samti beficho, lo yomushu mipicho umipi
zar'acho umipi zera zar'acho, omar Hashem, mei'atoh ve'ad
olom (Yeshayohu 59:20-21). (And a redeemer will come to
Zion and to those who return from sin in Yaakov, Hashem has
sworn. And this is My covenant with them, Hashem said, My
spirit and My words that I put into your mouth, will not
budge from your mouth and the mouth of your descendants and
the mouth of your descendants' descendants, Hashem said, from
now until forever.)
With these two pesukim we fulfill our obligation to
Incidentally, that is why we do not say these two
pesukim in prayer when there is a haftorah. On
Shabbos morning, for example, we do not say these two
pesukim. We say them only at Minchah when there
is no haftorah. When there is a haftorah, we
thereby fulfill our obligation to learn Nevi'im and
have no need to say these pesukim.
The Core of the Prophetic Message
Since they represent the entire literary body of prophecy, we
have, it is expected that these two pesukim
encapsulate the essence of what we have received from the
prophets. What is this?
Prophecy itself originated at Sinai: Novi mikirbecho
mei'achecho komoni yokim lecho Hashem Elokecho, eilov
tishmo'u. Kechol asher sho'alto mei'im Hashem Elokecho
beChoreiv . . . (Devorim 18:15-16) The Borei Olom
said here that He promised at Sinai that He would send
The prophets were sent in order to continue what was begun at
Ma'amad Har Sinai, namely, they bring us the dvar
Hashem. In that, they are a continuation of the
Ma'amad Har Sinai, since the prophets carry further
elements of the dvar Hashem that we first experienced
This is, quite obviously and literally, a fulfillment of the
posuk mentioned earlier: . . . devorai asher samti
beficho, lo yomushu mipicho umipi zar'acho umipi zera
zar'acho, omar Hashem, mei'atoh ve'ad olom. The dvar
Hashem will not budge from us, forever, and it was
thereby continued with us by prophecy as long as the latter
existed. The dvar Hashem was kept in our mouths by the
prophets who prophesied.
But, Chazal say, at the time of the first Churban, prophecy
was taken from the nevi'im and given to chachomim.
Omar Rav Avdimi demin Haifa: Miyom shechorav Beis Hamikdosh,
nitlo nevu'ah min haneviim venitnoh lechachomim (Bovo Basra
12a). Evidently, this is the way to continue the presence
of the dvar Hashem in Klal Yisroel: the
devorai asher samti beficho . . . lo yomushu -- must
now be propagated by the chachomim.
The same word of Hashem, the devorai asher samti
beficho, that the prophets had, is now with the
chachomim. It is through them that is fulfilled: lo
yomushu . . . mei'ato ve'ad olom. The wise men are those
through whom the Ma'amad Har Sinai itself stays with
There is also another major component to the message of the
prophets. (The two are parts of a single whole.) "All the
nevi'im without exception, commanded teshuvoh
(Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvoh 7:5). The gemora
(Megilloh 14a) itself also says: "Rabbi Abba bar Kahana
says, `The taking off of the ring is greater than 48 prophets
and seven prophetesses.' " This implies that all the prophets
tried to effect what taking off the ring (of Achashverosh to
authorize Hommon to murder the Jews) accomplished. Taking off
the ring drove the Jews to teshuvoh, so we thereby see
that all the prophets spoke about teshuvoh. It also
says that all the prophets spoke about the days of Moshiach
(Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvoh 8:13).
"All the nevi'im -- without exception -- commanded
teshuvoh and Yisroel is redeemed only through
teshuvoh. And the Torah has promised that in the end
Yisroel will do teshuvoh, at the end of their exile,
and immediately they will be redeemed" (Rambam, Hilchos
All the prophets spoke about teshuvoh and they
promised redemption as a result of the teshuvoh. The
Geulah comes to shovei pesha beYaakov, as
stated in the posuk in Yeshayohu (59:20) that
is said every day.
This was the main content of the message of the nevi'im
to Klal Yisroel. They were certainly not sent to
tell us halochos. It is well known that nevi'im
cannot originate halochos.
Venosati devorai befiv (Devorim 18:18). This is what
the nevi'im must do: they must give us the dvar
Hashem. They must warn us to do teshuvoh and
promise us Geulah. They must continue Ma'amad Har
Sinai throughout all the generations.
We find, as we mentioned, that the nevi'im also bring
us effective consolation, as reflected in the
haftorahs we read. Nonetheless, in critical times,
"Onochi, Onochi Hu menachemchem" (Yeshayohu 43:25) --
Hashem Himself is the One Who consoles us. This is certainly
the highest level of consolation, reached when Hashem reveals
Himself as "Onochi" and even a double "Onochi"
as found in Yeshayohu.
We are as far from this as can be. We cannot even find any
possibility for it within ourselves. We do not see how it can
be that one can live, fully, with the greatest pain and
anguish, and yet be successfully consoled.
It is an idea that is very far and very deep, but we can try
to grasp it, even though we have no direct connection with
End of Part II
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