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Haftarah: Chazon: A Vision of Justice

Isaiah 1:1-27: “The vision of Isaiah son of Amotz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” (1:1) This vision incorporates all that Isaiah saw as a prophet. It is not, as are most other visions, a one time prophecy. This vision is the sum total of all Isaiah saw.

Isaiah described people who are offering sacrifices: “Why do I need your numerous sacrifices?” (Verse 10) They appear in the Temple to stand before God: “When you come to appear before Me.” (Verse 12)  They observe Shabbat and celebrate Rosh Chodesh: “The New Moon and Shabbat, calling of convocations.” (Verse 13) They travel, at great personal and financial cost, to Jerusalem three times each year for the Festivals: “You trample My courtyards.” (Verse 12) They pray: When you spread your hands in prayer.” (Verse 15) 

They live with a palpable sense of God’s Presence, and yet: “They have rebelled against Me!” (Verse 2)


“For the orphan; they do not do justice. The cause of the widow does not come unto them.” (Verse 23)

The generations Isaiah saw worshipped God, but they did not fight for the weak. They did not advocate for the widow and the orphan. God refers to these people as having hands that are “full of blood”. (Verse 15) The prophet compares them to Sodom and Gomorrah!

“Then I will return your judges as in earliest times, and your counselors as at first, after that you shall be called City of Righteousness, Faithful City. Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her returnees with righteousness.” (Verses 26-27)

Isaiah teaches us that we cannot envision a world filled with God’s Presence, even if filled with Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, Prayer, Offerings and self-sacrifice, unless we first create an environment of justice and righteousness in which to serve God.

How would Isaiah see our society?

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