A Taste of Torah – Parshas Vaeschanan

Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman

True Consolation

In this week’s Haftorah, Hashem tells the prophet Yeshaya to deliver the following message to us.  Nachamu nachamu ami – Be consoled my nation. This is the comforting message we read after experiencing the mourning of Tisha B’Av and the loss of the Bais Hamikdosh. In analyzing this phrase a simple question comes to mind. Why is the word nachamu repeated?

Harav Moshe Feinstein z”l (a 21st leading rabbinical figure in the U.S.) explains this with another question. In reading Megillas Eicha on Tisha B’Av, the phrase Chayt chotoh YerushalayimJerusalem, you have sinned – is read, another phrase containing repetition, the double phrase of sin – chayt chotoh. He answers sin is said twice because the Jewish people need to reflect on two thoughts.  The first thought is the sin itself, and the second one is the fact that one does not even realize a sin has been committed.

With the above explanation, we can now understand the phrase of Nachamu. Hashem is blessing the Jewish people with a two-fold blessing. The first blessing is His people will be comforted and forgiven for their sins. The second blessing, and perhaps the more important one, is His making the Jewish people aware of their actions and the ability to understand the differences between right and wrong. This second blessing has a long-term impact – once one is given the capability of recognizing a sin, one can change one’s future behavior.

Therefore, this week’s Haftorah delivers a very powerful message.  We live in a world where it is sometimes very difficult to discern the difference between right from wrong and where our values are challenged on a daily basis. Consequently, it is incumbent upon us to spend time to think and reflect on our actions so that we can be recipients of this blessing and see the ultimate redemption and rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdosh in our times.