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Haftara VaYikra

Isaiah 43.21-44.23

The people whom I fashioned for Myself, that they might declare My praise.

Yet you have not called upon Me, O Jacob; neither have you wearied yourself of Me, O Israel. You did not bring me the small cattle for burnt offerings, not did you honor Me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with a meal offering, nor wearied you with frankincense. You did not buy Me sweet cane with money, nor satisfy Me with the fat of your sacrifices; but you have burdened Me with your sins, and wearied Me with your iniquities.

It is I who blot out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance, let us plead together; state your case that you may be vindicated. Your first father sinned, your mediators transgressed against Me. Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and given Jacob to destruction, and Israel to reviling.

But now listen, Jacob My servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen; Thus says God who made you, and formed you from the womb, and who will help you: Do not fear, Jacob my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour My spirit upon your seed, and My blessing upon your offspring. They will spring up in the midst of the grass, as willows by the flowing streams. One will say: “I am God’s” and another will call himself by the name of Jacob, another will inscribe on his hand, “I am God’s” and give himself the name Israel.

Thus says God, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last: besides Me there is no God. Who else can proclaim – Let him declare it , and set it forth before me – for I appointed the ancient people. And let them declare the things that are coming,  and that shall come to pass. Do not fear, do not be afraid; have I not told of old and declared it? You are my witness, Is there a God besides Me? There is no Rock; I know not any.

All who make carved images are vanity, and the things they delight in are worthless. Their own witnesses neither see, nor know; that they may be put to shame. Who fashioned a god, or cast an idol that is useless? Behold all his fellows and the craftsmen skilled above me shall be put to shame. Let them assemble, let them stand up. They shall fear, they shall be put to shame.

The smith makes an axe, and works it in the coals, and fashions it with hammers, and forges it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry and his strength fails,; he drinks no water, and is faint. The carpenter sketches a line and marks it out with pencil. He shapes it with planes, marks it out with the compass, and shapes it into the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man to dwell in the house. He cuts down cedars, takes the ilex and the oak, and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a bay tree, and the rain nourishes it. Then a man uses it for fuel, he takes of it, and warms himself; with this he eats flesh. He roasts meat and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Aah, I am warm, I have seen the fire.” The rest of it he makes into a god, his carved idol. He falls down to it and worships. He prays to it, saying, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”

They know not, nor do they understand; for their eyes are shut so they cannot see, and their hearts so they cannot understand. No one considers in his heart; neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say: “I have burned half of it in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals, I roasted flesh and ate it. Shall I make the residue an abomination? Shall I fall down to a log of a tree?” He strives after ashes, a deceived heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver his soul, or say: “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant. I formed you, you are My own servant. Israel, you should not forget Me, I have blotted out your transgressions like a thick cloud, your sins are like mists. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.

Sing, O heavens, for God has done it. Shout, O depths of the earth. Break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it. For God has redeemed Jacob and glorifies Himself in Israel.