"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16
We begin our new year of readings with the Torah portion, B'reisheet, meaning "in the beginning," from Genesis 1:1 6:8, and the Haftorah is from Isaiah 42:5 21.
Life is filled with all kinds of unexpected twists and turns; sometimes we haven't a clue as to where all of these paths are leading us. However, this week's Haftorah reading speaks to the importance of staying in faith, even while we don't know where God is taking us. We can look to this week's Torah portion in Genesis for verification. God is the Creator and Sustainer of our world - He surely knows what He is doing even if it sometimes is a complete mystery to us.
I was recently talking to a friend about his son who is doing great work for the land of Israel and the Jewish people. The thing is, his journey has led him from one job to another, from one project to the next. In fact, the organization that he is currently working for is likely to fold. This man is married with a family to support so I could only imagine that all these changes and no real job security could be frightening.
However, when I asked my friend how his son deals with all this uncertainty, his reply surprised me. He said that his son feels that he is serving God in everything he does. At every corner he turns, he trusts that it is God's next step for him. and while he doesn't know where it's all leading to, he has faith that it's all part of a plan. He has faith that God will provide for him, so he doesn't worry. And so far, God has come through every time.
What an amazing attitude!
In our Haftorah reading this week, we read: "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth." God is saying that He will take us we who can't see where we are going or understand His plan through places and experiences we aren't used to. We may be asked to do things we never thought we could do or pass tests we never expected to face. Yet, the latter part of the verse assures us that when we follow God, ultimately the darkness will be turned to light and the rough patches will become smooth. God rewards our faith.
Let's keep this message in mind when we are called to do something unexpected or when we are faced with a challenge we didn't anticipate in our lives. We can navigate the winding road of life with peace when we have the confidence that God is doing the driving. Moreover, God relishes our faithful obedience and rewards us accordingly.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President