Haftarah: Noach: A Fragile Future
Isaiah 54 – 55:5: What was it like for Jerusalem in 1948 to watch as Jews streamed back to her from the four corners of the earth after an absence of 2,000 years? What
is it like for her now to watch herself built and expanded far beyond her ancient boundaries? What does she feel when Jerusalem’s future seems so fragile?
Isaiah draws a parallel between the reconstruction of Jerusalem and the world Noah faced after the Flood. What was it like for Noah when he first opened the Ark after a year stuck inside and peered onto a new world? Everything was fresh and new. Noah understood how fragile it all was. The previous world had lasted only ten generations. What did Noah feel as he looked at the renewed world as he wondered how long it would last this time?
What do we feel just after the intensity of the Days of Awe, when the year is fresh, and yet, we have begun to experience the fragility of this new opportunity?
This is what people often experience as the tease of the new. This lies at the core of the temptation and challenge of an opportunity. Isaiah speaks to people who have worked to no avail, (Isaiah 55:2) a generation frustrated by its failures, a nation fearful of the future, even if accompanied by wonderful promises.
The prophet taught his generation that the final accomplishment of Noah was his commitment to the future, his acceptance of God’s oath. Abraham continued and expanded this commitment as he began his journey relying on just such assurances. The first patriarch lived a future oriented life no matter how fragile it seemed.
Isaiah inspired his generation to look forward, to build, to dream, despite the fragility of the military and political situations. He raised their sights to always live as the nation that will always dream and teach the world to face the future with confidence and determination. Yes, the future is fragile, but only for those fearful of its fragility.