If one will take notice, he will realize that the Haftorah follows the norm to mirror a theme of the Parsha which is read each week. The exception to this rule is the Seven Weeks beginning from the date of Shiva Asar in Tammus until Rosh Hashanah where upon the Haftorah parallels the period according to the historical events on the calendar. Beginning on Shiva Asar in Tammuz until Tisha B’av a period also known as the Three Weeks, we read the Haftorahs dealing with the admonishments of the Naveeim who focused their messages to the spiritual failings of Am Yisrael and prophesized the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash. This is followed by seven Haftorahs that concern themselves with the comforting of Klal Yisrael from their disconnection with Hashem subsequent the Churban. Smack in the middle of the month of Av we commence the Seven Weeks of Nechamah. The Chasam Sofer points out that the name of the month is Menachem Av and interprets it to mean that the first part of the month is called Av which deals with destruction and mourning. However, the second part of the month is called Menachem which means comfort. It is at our parsha that immediately follows Tisha B’av that we read the initiating Haftorah of the weeks of Nechama beginning with words Nachamu Nachamu Ami. These first two words state that Hashem promises that Klal Yisrael will have a double comfort after the cataclysmic event of the Bais Hamikash’s destruction and Am Yisrael’s galus from Eretz Yisrael.
Why does the Navi use the phrase conveying a double comfort? Secondly, It is brought that נחמו נחמו is gematriah יצחק 208. But isn’t our understanding that Yitzchak is the personification of Middas Hadin? How then can we reconcile the description of hope and comfort to equal the gematriah of din and strict judgment? Furthermore, it is brought in the sefarim that the word דינא describes numerically the different time periods that follow Tisha B’av. The letter nun which is gematriah 50, represents the 50 days from Tisha B’av until Rosh Hashanah. The letter yud symbolizes the following ten days of Aseres Yemai Teshuvah. The letter dales symbolizes the four days between Yom Kippur and Succos. The fourth letter aleph symbolizes the Yom Tov of Succos which all seven days are included in its first day. We must closely examine this allusion in order to fully understand the message it sends to us. The word דינא which are the identical letters of אדני, proclaims judgment and consequently fear. How then do these four segment periods which are alluded to in the word דינא, manifest din when the Seven weeks following Tisha B’av are called weeks of Nechama? How do the additional segments of the four days following the Yamim Noraiim and the aleph of Succos which is called Zman Simchaseinu, manifest the Middah of Din?
Growth and spiritual change for the better can only come from one’s bittul and self negation to fulfill Hashem’s wishes. This can be seen from growth of a tree to which the human is compared. Only when the seeds seems to completely self destruct and disintegrate does the miraculous process of growth begin. Preferably, Hashem desires that the bittul should initially stem from one’s voluntary bechirah, from one’s discipline and self control over his yetzer harah. If that fails to work, Hashem then proceeds to bring one to this same bittul through punishment and affliction ch”v. the obvious difference between the two is that the initial choices of Man’s bittul to Hashem’s command gladdens the heart and expresses love to Hashem. Coerced negation is coupled with Man’s experience of pain and fear. However, retroactively when one looks at his tikkun which evolved from his affliction episodes, he too experiences now the happiness and joy of finally attaining tikkun which is rewarded by providing a greater closeness and intimacy with Hashem and a deeper meaning in his personal existence.
This concept expresses the two facets of Yitzchak’s character of Middas Hadin. Even though his name symbolizes fear and judgment, on the flip side it also means laughter and simcha. For on the outside the Middah of Din appears as Hashem concealing Himself from Man, however, in reality it covers over the potential joy and simcha that emerges from the tikkun.
The Paneach Razah, one of the Baalei Tosfos, brings that in the beginning of Parshas Vaeirah, the first word וארא is also gematriah יצחק. He explains that this wordוארא describes the beginning of the turnaround of Am Yisrael who until this time were subjected to Galus Mitzrayim. This word hints to Yitzchak because from all the Avos was he alone was willing to change and subtract from his name in order to bring the geulah. In Navi we find his name to be ישחק and he altered it to יצחק. That is a bittul from a ש equal to 300 to a צ which is 90. This action of Yitzchak freed the Yidden from Mitzrayim 190 years earlier than the decreed 400. This is based on the cheshbon that the difference between 300 and 90 is 210. After 210 years of bondage, not the 400 decreed years, Am Yisrael left Mitzrayim. That is why יצחק is gematriah וארא. The geulah from Mitzrayim came from the combination of the two facets of Yitzchak’s character, that the din is infused with joy and simcha which is represented in the ש of ישחק and the צדי of יצחק which is from the lashon of to trap of יצחק.
After the severe din of the Churban Bais Hamikdash and Galus Yisrael, Hashem graces us with a double nechamah. One symbolizes the hope and comfort of the future redemption, the return to Yerushalayim and the Bais Hamikdash, the release from the residing culture’s influence tainting our lives. The second is the comfort we receive at the time of the geulah for all the tzaros and pain we experienced that helped bring us to our final tikkun. The light of the geulah will be a comfort for we will then realize and understand that the darkness was a necessity for us to reach the light which would free us from the shackles of mind and heart control imposed upon us by the galus. Behind the concealment of Hashem lies the silver lining of joy and simcha for the concealment brought us to our spiritual repair. Nachamu Nachamu is gematriah Yitzchak.
Every דינא shares this concept that the darkness is driven by the light of Hashem hidden underneath. That is why we find that in the time periods that follow the Seven Weeks of Nechama following Tisha B’av which are hinted in the letters of דינא there are also weeks and days of nechama, days of simcha after the kaparah of Yom Kippur, and the Yom Tov of Succos, Zman Simchaseinu. The Kedushas Levi writes that Succos is the time of Teshuvah from love and not from fear. Teshuvah from fear turns the aveirah into a mitzvah an incredible tikkun. So too, the end letter of דינא which represents Succos is the אחרון אחרון חביב which brings a חביבות to the entire דינא for it reveals that the entire energy behind the דין and צרה is chesed and mercy leading to the goal of attaining full tikkun.
Even though it seems that the Haftorah of Nachamu Nachamu Ami does not relate to the parsha but rather to the time on the calendar as we stated at the very beginning of this mamar, it nevertheless does relate in someway. The Torah commands to love Hashem with all your heart, soul, and מאד. Rashi brings two explanations to the word מאד. One is money and the other is middos. Loving Hashem by the middah is explained by Rashi that one must love Hashem even when one’s interchange with Him is Midas Hadin. Since the intention and goal of Middas Hadin is out of Hashem’s love for His natiion in order for us to arrive at tikkun, we must therefore reciprocate and mirror that love back even when we are stricken by this very middah. This is really the statement of שמע ישראל ה’ אלקינו ה’ אחד of accepting the yoke of Heaven upon ourselves twice a day. We are proclaiming that even though on the exterior we experience two separate display of Hashem’s middos, one of יהו’ which is mercy, and the other אלקים which is din, both of them are really יהו’ אחד only mercy and chesed.
The time of the year when we can really realize the Hashem Echad is right after Tisha B’av during the Seven Weeks of Comfort followed by the remaining 15 days Aseres Yemai Teshuvah which are days of closeness with Hashem דרשו ה’ בהמצאו, atonement, simcha, and Succos, the transformation of aveiros into mitzvos. The total of these 65 days are structured in the time periods of דינא gematriah 65, however, they are replete with days of simcha and intimacy with Hashem. Sixty Five is gematriah היכל the Sanctuary of Hashem. It is also gematriah מאדך the mitzvah to love Hashem even though he was delivered an unexpected blow from Him. During these periods consisting of 65 days one can become comforted with the Middas Hadin for one realizes that it too is really a display of a personal love kiss from Hashem to you.
The age of 65 is the average age for retirement. It is at this time that one takes out his savings and lives comfortable. This mamar introduces one to another type of retirement. During this period of 65 days it is the Middas Hadin that retires which up until now was acting as a concealment from Hashem. However, at 65 one can take comfort in knowing that the din was only an alternate route to fulfill the craving of the neshamah in acquiring an intimate relationship with Hashem.
Rav Shmuel Brazil