30 Jul Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Va’etchanan – Shabbat Nachamu
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Va’etchanan and as is always the case it comes on the Shabbat immediately following the fast of Tish’a B’av, the day on which we commemorate and mourn the destruction of both the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. This Shabbat also has its own special name, Shabbat Nachamu, taken from the opening words of this week’s haftarah from the 40th chapter of the book of Isaiah. The haftarah for this week, as is the case of the six that follow, all preach messages of comfort – the English translation of the word Nachamu is “be comforted” – reminding us all of an important message as we near the High Holiday season. Even as we take seriously our task of self-evaluation and personal analysis of our lives, an endeavor that might lead us to the realization that there is much about our lives we’d like to change, God wants us to find comfort in the knowledge that God will accept us where we are on our journey. We are not expected to be perfect, nor are we allowed to simply accept defeat. But even as we struggle, we should find comfort knowing that God gives us points for trying.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik