Shabbat Nachamu... The Sabbath of Consolation

July 19, 2013

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Shabbat message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, July 19, 2013.

Shabbat Nachamu... The Sabbath of Consolation

Last week was Tisha B’Av which commemorates the destruction of Jerusalem first by the Babylonians, and then the Romans. Seven weeks later is Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. The rabbis considered this span of time cosmic. Seven days is the number of days of creation in the very first chapter of Genesis, the beginning of the entire Torah. Seven is the number of days of the week. Seven is the year from one Sabbatical Year to the next. Seven is the number of weeks between Passover and Shavuot, the “Feast of Weeks.” Seven weeks is the period of time between Tisha B’Av and Rosh HaShanah! Since the Jewish New Year is a time of self-evaluation and soul searching; of forgiveness and atonement, the rabbis understood that this seven week period is a period of transition from tragedy to enlightenment and hope. This Sabbath, therefore, is Shabbat Nachamu, the Sabbath of Consolation. In fact all seven of the Sabbaths between Tisha B’Av are considered “Sabbaths of Consolation.”  On all seven, the Haftarah, the readings from the prophets that follow the reading of the Torah, are from the Book of Isaiah. All seven offer words of comfort to an exiled Jewish community. This Shabbat, we read from Isaiah, chapter 40:

Comfort ye, Oh comfort ye my people,

Says your God.

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem

That her warfare is accomplished,

And her iniquity is expiated.


G.F. Handel’s famous setting of the words of Isaiah.


Shabbat Shalom

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