We can see with our own eyes how the land is developing with great strides. Building cranes tower over us in every direction. Roads and train tracks are being laid out, and the Isaiah’s words are being fulfilled.

“Comfort My People. Comfort them.” (Isaiah 40)

HaRav Dov Begon, Head of Machon Meir

“Comfort My people, comfort them, says your G-d. Speak comfortingly to Jerusalem and cry to her, that her war service is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned. For she has received of the L-rd’s hand double for all her sins” (Isaiah 40:1-2).

Malbim explains that the repetition of “Comfort My People, comfort them” serves to teach us about the redemption process of the Jewish People. There are two possible scenarios of redemption: either for redemption to come early, “hastened,” or for it to come “in its allotted time” (see Sanhedrin 98a on Isaiah 60:22). The redemption can come early for one of two reasons: either because Israel have great merit, or due to Israel’s having been punished with a severity far beyond what they deserve. Either can lead to “hastened” redemption. Thus, when Israel “has received of the L-rd’s hand double for all her sins” (Israel 40:2), redemption is hastened.

There is also a possibility of redemption “in its allotted time.” One way or another, Israel shall ultimately be redeemed. To what may this be compared? To a woman in her last months of pregnancy. There is a chance that the birth will come early, and there is a chance that it will come at full term, but one way or another, the birth is anticipated and the woman will bring a new soul into the world.

Ours is the generation of holocaust and rebirth, of double punishment. We were smitten with a long exile of close to two thousand years during which the Jewish People were beaten down to the dust, and at the end of that time, there came a terrible Holocaust. Such a generation deserves the comfort and consolation of hastened redemption. Indeed, with our own eyes we see the Jewish People reaping that consolation, building the State of Israel as a strong country militarily and economically.

We see clearly how “every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low; and the crooked made straight and the rough places flattened” (Isaiah 40:4). Through the ingathering of the exiles and the building of the State of Israel, the day is not far off when we will merit as well that “the glory of the L-rd shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the L-rd has spoken it” (Ibid., v. 5). All of G-d’s promises to the Jewish People from the very start — He shall fulfill. That is our comfort.

Comfort My people – for G-d’s word will endure forever.

The Prophet Isaiah (Chapter 40) addresses the prophets and sages in every generation and asks, “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people! Bid Jerusalem take heart” (verse 1). And what is the consolation Isaiah offers? “Proclaim unto her that her time of service is accomplished, that her guilt is paid off; that she hath received of the L-rd’s hand double for all her sins” (verse 2).

In other words, the time earmarked for her in the exile has passed. The end of the exile has arrived, for she has received twice the punishment coming to her in the Babylonian exile and in the 2,000 year long exile. The atonement for her sin has been completed.

In the stage of actual redemption Isaiah addresses them and says:

“O you who tell good tidings to Zion – get you up into the high mountain. O you who tell good tidings to Jerusalem – lift up our voice with strength. Lift it up! Be not afraid. Say unto the cities of Judah: ‘Behold your God! Behold, the L-rd G-d will come as a Mighty One” (verses 9-10).

Those nations that will see fit to fight us will be like a drop in the bucket, like dust on a scale, as it says, “Behold, the nations are as a drop in the bucket, as the small dust of the balance. Behold the isles are as a mote in weight. Lebanon is not sufficient fuel, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for burnt-offerings. All the nations are as nothing before Him; they are accounted by Him as things of nought, and vanity” (verses 15-17).

Lebanon is here compared to a forest of trees all aflame. Isaiah addresses the skeptics, those weak in their faith, and he says:

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: ‘My way is hidden from the L-rd; my right is passed over from my G-d’? Did you not know? Have you not heard that the everlasting G-d, the L-rd, Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, nor is weary? His discernment is unfathomable. He gives power to the faint; and to him that has no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait for the L-rd shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” (27-31)

Today, with our own eyes we see Isaiah’s words being fulfilled in our day. After two thousand years of exile, after our having undergone the calamitous Holocaust, we are rising to rebirth in the land of our life’s blood. Millions of Jews are being gathered homeword, as Isaiah said, “Even as a shepherd who feeds his flock, who gathers the lambs into his arm, carrying them in his bosom, gently leading nurslings” (verse11).

We can see with our own eyes how the land is developing with great strides. Roads and train tracks are being laid out, and the Isaiah’s words are being fulfilled:

“‘Hark!’ one calls: ‘Clear in the wilderness the way of the L-rd, make plain in the desert a highway for our G-d.’ Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the rugged shall be made level, and the rough places a plain” (verses 3-4).

The nations are rising up against us to fight us, and these nations are likened to grass: “The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the L-rd blows upon it – Surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our G-d shall endure forever” (7-8).




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