July 7, 2023
The Three Weeks & Tisha B'Av
The Sabbaths surrounding the Ninth of Av carry a clear message relating to the holiday. The prophetic readings for the three weeks preceding the holiday–the first two from Jeremiah and the third from Isaiah– are full of admonitions in preparation for this mournful time. Following Tisha B’Av, there are seven prophetic readings of consolation–all from Isaiah–providing comfort after this somber occasion and preparing the individual emotionally and spiritually for the upcoming High holidays. The Sabbaths that immediately precede and follow Tisha B’Av each have a special name reflecting the message of the respective haftarah (prophetic reading).
The Sabbath immediately preceding the ninth of Av is known as the Sabbath of Vision (Hazon) for the prophetic reading Isaiah 1:1-27. After recounting heinous transgressions, it offers the hope of reconciliation, which will come when the people “cease to do evil, learn to do good.” The Sabbath of Vision and Shabbat Nahamu, which provides words of consolation a week later, embrace Tisha B’Av from opposite sides, cushioning the blow of the day of destruction, allowing B’nei Yisrael to know there is the promise of salvation, redemption, and eternal hope.
Please listen to this heartful rendition of Nachamu, Comfort My People, based on the biblical verse of Isaiah 40:1. The text reads: Comfort, oh comfort, my people, says the Lord, your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and call out to her.
Here the passage is chanted on the album Dancing with My Soul, by my dear friend, and world-renowned artist, Neshama Carlebach. I assure you the rendition will move your soul, as well.