The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died. — 2 Kings 7:19–20
The Torah portion for this week is Metzora, which means “diseased,” from Leviticus 14:1–15:33, and the Haftorah is from 2 Kings 7:3–20.
It has been said that those who are busy saying that something is impossible are usually interrupted by those who are already achieving it. In this week’s Haftorah reading, we see this saying come to life in an amazing story of faith and miracles.
At the start of the reading, the city of Samaria was under siege by the Aramean army. There was a great famine in the land and it had taken its toll on the people. The king of Israel consulted the prophet Elisha, who predicted that within 24 hours the famine would be a distant memory. One of the king’s officers didn’t believe that was possible and said, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” To which Elisha replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” And, as we read, that is exactly what happened.
Later that day, four lepers who had been banished from Samaria decided to surrender to the Arameans. However, when they reached the Aramean camp they were shocked to find it completely deserted. Unbeknownst to them, God had made a miracle happen. He caused the Arameans to hear what they thought was a large army approaching them for attack. Believing that they were about to suffer a crushing defeat, the Arameans fled, taking nothing with them and leaving behind an abundance of food, supplies, and treasures.
The lepers brought news of their discovery to Samaria. At first the people were skeptical. Could it be possible? Could the mighty Aramean army have disappeared without a fight? Could there really be an abundance of food waiting for them? Could their entire reality be turned over in a matter of hours?
The king decided to send a few men to check the camp first to see if it was really a death trap. When the camp was declared safe, the people literally burst out of the city. They ran to the treasures that God had stored for them. As for that skeptical officer who had questioned the possibility of such a miracle – it happened he had been stationed at the city gate and was trampled to death by the people as they rushed out of the city. Elisha’s words had come true: the officer had seen the miracle, but he did not partake in it.
Friends, let’s remember that with our God, nothing is impossible. The word itself says, “I’m possible!” Faith brings about miracles, but we have to believe if we want to receive.
So, what is possible for you today? Believe it, and you may just see it!
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President