Geulah Sprouting - Yeshayahu 45-49
Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels
The Eagle - Perek 46
In this section, Yeshayahu describes this strange image which is clearly laden with metaphoric meaning.
מו,יא קֹרֵא מִמִּזְרָח עַיִט, מֵאֶרֶץ מֶרְחָק אִישׁ עצתו (עֲצָתִי); אַף-דִּבַּרְתִּי, אַף-אֲבִיאֶנָּה--יָצַרְתִּי, אַף-אֶעֱשֶׂנָּה.
Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My counsel from a far country; yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass, I have purposed, I will also do it.
What is this bird of prey? Who is this bird of prey?
The Radak and the Metzudos reflect this back to the beginning of the perek referring to Cyrus the Great, who will be the tool of Hashem to allow the Jews back to make the second Mikdash and live in the land of Israel once again.
Rashi suggests that it refers back to Avraham Avinu who was summoned by Hashem to lead His plan in this world through Avraham's own children. Avraham had to walk through the four split animals during the Bris Bein Habesarim (in parshas Lech Lecha) as a sign that the Jewish journey through history would be difficult and painful but necessary. Avraham is the symbol for his children to do the same.
The Abarbanel takes this one step further. He notes that there actually was an 'ayit' - a bird of prey at the Bris Bein Habesarim.
וַיֵּ֥רֶד הָעַ֖יִט עַל־הַפְּגָרִ֑ים וַיַּשֵּׁ֥ב אֹתָ֖ם אַבְרָֽם׃
And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.
The Abarbanel argues that ultimately the eagle of Mashiach will descend upon the carcasses of the nations which oppressed us. That is the message to us. Despite all the suffering and injustice, the eagle comes.
Difficulty of Jewish Leadership - Perek 49
Anyone who has tried to get involved in leadership, and certainly Jewish leadership, soon realizes that is is not a simple thing. People have different interests, aspirations and ideas; and very few are willing to compromise. This is not something new at all. Yeshayahu describes his own exasperation when dealing with his people. In fact he almost gives up until he realizes he is serving G-d not the people. Here is how he frames it:
מט,ד וַאֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי לְרִיק יָגַעְתִּי, לְתֹהוּ וְהֶבֶל כֹּחִי כִלֵּיתִי; אָכֵן מִשְׁפָּטִי אֶת-ה׳, וּפְעֻלָּתִי אֶת-אֱלֹהָי
I thought, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for empty breath.” But my case rested with the LORD, My recompense was in the hands of my God.
Ironically it sounds a little but like what Golda Meir once said to President Nixon. Yehuda Avner records in his book, "The Prime Ministers", the following quote:
You are the president of 150 million Americans; I am the prime minister of six million prime ministers
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