Where Hope Takes Root (Re'eh - Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 / Isaiah 54:11-55:5)

"Unhappy. Storm-crossed. Uncomforted."

Are you talking to me?

Perhaps the prophet Isaiah was speaking to all of us, foreshadowing the awful summer of 2014:

Michael Brown gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri...

ISIS and the butchering of the Yazidis...

Ebola in West Africa...

Syria -- 120,000 innocent civilians dead...

Parents and children languishing in the blazing summer heat at the U.S. border...

Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 shot down over the Ukraine, all 298 people on board dead...

Vicious Hamas terror attacks and lethal Israeli counter-strikes...

"Your children will know abundant happiness."

Really? This is happy?

Isaiah cries out:

"All who are thirsty,

Come for water,

Even if you have no money;

Come, buy food and eat:

Buy food without money,

Wine and milk without cost."

Deuteronomy calls us to let our land lie fallow in the seventh year, to break from planting and harvesting, and to let go of debts - a sabbatical (shmita) year.

Is this the summer storm before a season of joy and bounty, happiness and equity?

In the pause, hope takes root, seeking waters of righteousness and renewal.

Tenderly, in a season of absenting from tending and tilling, may we find, once again, our capacity to be human.

Seventy Faces of Torah is a pluralistic Jewish scriptural commentary, produced by The Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College, in which thought leaders from around the world offer insights into the weekly Torah portion and contemporary social, political, and spiritual life.