Haftarah: Lech Lecha: Grow Wings and Fly
Isaiah 40:27 – 41:16:“Why do you say, ‘My way is hidden from God, and my cause has been passed over by the Lord?’” What an interesting way to begin the Haftarah for the portion
that describes Abraham’s revolutionary beginning! How could Israel, who has lived through the terrors of exile, possibly not cry out that God does not seem to be paying attention? Is this exile what Abraham had in mind when he began his great journey? Abraham was certainly warned of the exiles predestined for Israel. (Genesis 15:13-16) However, the theme of the portion is not exile or failure. This portion is the astonishing story of an extraordinary human being who was willing to challenge the world and create a nation, a vision, and an entirely new way to live life.
Isaiah calls out, as only a prophet can, to teach us how to live as Abrahams no matter our circumstances. He distills the message of Abraham into a single vision; we must emulate the Creator. God “neither wearies or tires”(40:28). “Those whose hope is in God will have renewed strength, they will grow a wing like eagles; they will run and not grow tired, they will walk and not grow weary.
Abraham looked at the world and appreciated the abundance of its creativity. He too lived in dark times. People chose again, ten generations after the Deluge, to live without God. Society was corrupt. Yet, when Abraham looked at the world what he saw was the infinite expression of life and creativity. He decided to create his own path through life. Abraham did not have specific instructions when he began his journey. He simply decided to emulate the Creator and become someone who would nurture life. He became a master of Chesed. He chose to imitate God and successfully transformed the world.
The prophet understood the hopelessness of exile. He empathized with its frustrations and the feelings of distance from God. Isaiah reminded us that we are all not only, children of Abraham, we are potential Abrahams. We can choose to create our own light in the darkness of exile. Isaiah promises God’s help to those who choose to live as creative beings, people who nurture life, people who are willing to grow wings and fly.