“Sing, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,”
says the LORD. — Isaiah 54:1
The Torah portion for this week is Ki Teitzei, which means “when you go out,” from Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19, and the Haftorah is from Isaiah 54:1–10.
As we near the High Holy Days, we continue reading “The Seven Comforts,” the Haftorah portions aimed at giving us hope and inspiration as we prepare for the holidays ahead. What could be more inspirational than this week’s reading which begins: “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child . . . because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”
In other words, no matter what your past has been like and no matter what the future looks like, with God, anything is possible. Today is a new day. A new beginning. It’s nearly a new year on the Jewish calendar. This can be our greatest year yet!
In this opening verse, the prophet Isaiah told the barren woman to sing. Notice that he didn’t say “childless woman.” No, he called her a barren woman, for whom having children was not even a possibility. However, that woman, who for all natural accounts should have remained childless her entire life, was promised more children than a fertile woman with a husband by her side. Isaiah, in effect, was telling us that even when there doesn’t seem to be a way, God can make a way.
This was true for Abraham and Sarah. The Jewish sages teach that Sarah physically had no womb. It was impossible for her have a child. In addition, by the time the three angels visited the couple to tell them that a baby was finally on the way, they were well into their 90s, far past the age for bearing children. Yet, God made a way, even when there seemed to be none, and just as the angels predicted, Isaac was born the following year.
This was also true for the children of Israel as they left Egypt and found themselves sandwiched between the entire Egyptian army and the watery depths of the Red Sea. There was no place for them to go, or so it seemed. But God parted the sea and made a way for them. God led his people through the sea and then the wilderness. He provided water when there was none and food from heaven when there was none. God gave Israel a bright future when all had seemed lost.
Friends, God made a way for Abraham, Sarah, and all of Israel. He can make a way for us, too. No matter how bleak things may seem, cling to God and have faith in the One Who can do anything. Whatever difficulty you might be facing today – be it financial, a difficult relationship, a bad medical report, or anything else – know in your heart that God can turn it all around in one instant. God will make a way!
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President