Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Printed from chabad.org
All Departments
Jewish Holidays
TheRebbe.org
Jewish.TV - Video
Jewish Audio
News
Kabbalah Online
JewishWoman.org
Kids Zone
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Yeshayahu- Isaiah - Chapter 41

Yeshayahu- Isaiah - Chapter 41

E-mail
Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 41

1. Be silent to Me, you islands, and kingdoms shall renew [their] strength; they shall approach, then they shall speak, together to judgment let us draw near.   א. הַחֲרִישׁוּ אֵלַי אִיִּים וּלְאֻמִּים יַחֲלִיפוּ כֹחַ יִגְּשׁוּ אָז יְדַבֵּרוּ יַחְדָּו לַמִּשְׁפָּט נִקְרָבָה:
Be silent to Me: in order to hear My words.  
islands: Heathens ([mss. Kli Paz:] nations).  
shall renew [their] strength: They shall adorn themselves and strengthen themselves with all their might perhaps they will succeed in their judgment by force.  
they shall approach: here, and then, when they approach, they shall speak.  
to judgment let us draw near: to reprove them to their faces.  
2. Who aroused from the East, [the one] whom righteousness accompanied? He placed nations before him and over kings He gave him dominion; He made his sword like dust, his bow like wind-blown stubble.   ב. מִי הֵעִיר מִמִּזְרָח צֶדֶק יִקְרָאֵהוּ לְרַגְלוֹ יִתֵּן לְפָנָיו גּוֹיִם וּמְלָכִים יַרְדְּ יִתֵּן כֶּעָפָר חַרְבּוֹ כְּקַשׁ נִדָּף קַשְׁתּוֹ:
Who aroused from the East: one whom righteousness accompanied? Who aroused Abraham to bring him from Aram which is in the East and the righteousness that he would perform that was opposite his feet wherever he went.  
He placed nations before him: He, Who aroused him to leave his place to cause him to move, He placed before him four kings and their hosts.  
He gave him dominion: Heb. יַרְדְּ, like יַרָדֶּה.  
He made his sword like dust: [Jonathan paraphrases:] He cast slain ones before his sword like dust. He suffered his sword to take its toll of casualties as [numerous as] grains of dust, and his bow He suffered to take its toll of casualties who would fall like wind blown stubble.  
3. He pursued them and passed on safely, on a path upon which he had not come with his feet.   ג. יִרְדְּפֵם יַעֲבוֹר שָׁלוֹם אֹרַח בְּרַגְלָיו לֹא יָבוֹא:
He pursued them and passed on safely: He traversed all his fords safely; he did not stumble when he pursued them.  
a path upon which he had not come with his feet: A road upon which he had not come previously with his feet. [The future tense of] יָבוֹא means that he was not accustomed to come.  
4. Who worked and did, Who calls the generations from the beginning; I, the Lord, am first, and with the last ones I am He.   ד. מִי פָעַל וְעָשָׂה קֹרֵא הַדֹּרוֹת מֵרֹאשׁ אֲנִי יְהֹוָה רִאשׁוֹן וְאֶת אַחֲרֹנִים אֲנִי הוּא:
Who worked and did: for him all this? He Who called the generations from the beginning, to Adam, He did this also for Abraham.  
I, the Lord, am first: to perform wonders and to aid.  
and with the last ones I am He: Also with you, the last sons, I will be, and I will aid you.  
5. The islands shall see and fear; the ends of the earth shall quake; they have approached and come.   ה. רָאוּ אִיִּים וְיִירָאוּ קְצוֹת הָאָרֶץ יֶחֱרָדוּ קָרְבוּ וַיֶּאֱתָיוּן:
The islands shall see: [lit. saw.] The heathens shall see the mighty deeds that I will perform, and they shall fear.  
they have approached and come: One to another they will gather to war when they see the redemption.  
6. Each one shall aid his fellow, and to his brother he shall say, "Strengthen yourself."   ו. אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ יַעְזֹרוּ וּלְאָחִיו יֹאמַר חֲזָק:
Each one… his fellow etc.: He shall say, “Strengthen yourself” for war, perhaps their gods will protect them [lit. stand up for them].  
7. And the craftsman strengthened the smith, the one who smooths with the hammer [strengthened] the one who wields the sledge hammer; he says of the cement, "It is good," and he strengthened it with nails that it should not move.   ז. וַיְחַזֵּק חָרָשׁ אֶת צֹרֵף מַחֲלִיק פַּטִּישׁ אֶת הוֹלֶם פָּעַם אֹמֵר לַדֶּבֶק טוֹב הוּא וַיְחַזְּקֵהוּ בְמַסְמְרִים לֹא יִמּוֹט:
And the craftsman strengthened: [i.e.,] the one who molds the idol.  
the smith: who plates it with gold.  
the one who smoothes with the hammer: The final stage, when he taps lightly to flatten out the work.  
the one who wields the sledge hammer: He is the one who commences on it when it is a block, and beats it with all his might.  
he says of the cement, “It is good,”: Heb. דֶּבֶק. He alludes to those who seek suitable ground upon which to adhere iron plates. דֶּבֶק is soudure in French, weld.  
and he strengthened it: The idol.  
with nails that it should not move: All of them will strengthen each other.  
8. But you, Israel My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, who loved Me,   ח. וְאַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב אֲשֶׁר בְּחַרְתִּיךָ זֶרַע אַבְרָהָם אֹהֲבִי:
But you, Israel My servant: and I am obliged to help you. The end of this sentence is (infra 10): “Do not fear.” This appears to me to be the sequence of the section according to its simple meaning. But the Midrash Aggadah in Gen. Rabbah 44:7 expounds the entire section as alluding to Malchizedek and Abraham.  
[5] Islands saw: the war and feared. Shem [Malchizedek] feared Abraham, lest he say to him, You begot these wicked men in the world. And Abraham feared Shem, since he slew his sons, the people of Elam, who was descended from Shem.  
islands: Just as the islands of the sea are distinguished and recognized in the sea, so were Abraham and Shem distinguished in the world.  
[6] Each one aided his fellow: This one [Shem] aided this one [Abraham] with blessings, “Blessed be Abram” (Gen. 14:19), and this one [Abraham] aided this one [Shem] with gifts, “And he gave him tithe from everything” (ibid. verse 20).  
[7] And the craftsman strengthened: This is Shem, who was a blacksmith, to make nails and bars for the ark.  
the smith: This is Abraham, who purified (צוֹרֵף) the people, to bring them near to God [lit. to Heaven].  
the sledge hammer: This is Abraham, who smote (הָלַם) all these kings at one time.  
He says of the cement: Heb. דֶּבֶק. The nations said, It is good to cleave to this one’s God [rather than to Nimrod’s idols].  
And he strengthened him: Shem strengthened Abraham to cleave to the Holy One, blessed be He, and not to move.  
[8] And you, Israel My servant: Abraham, who was not descended from righteous menI did all this for him, and you, Israel My servant, who belong to Me by dint of two forefathers.  
the seed of Abraham, who loved Me: who did not recognize Me because of the admonition and the teaching of his fathers, but out of love.  
9. Whom I grasped from the ends of the earth, and from its nobles I called you, and I said to you, "You are My servant"; I chose you and I did not despise you.   ט. אֲשֶׁר הֶחֱזַקְתִּיךָ מִקְצוֹת הָאָרֶץ וּמֵאֲצִילֶיהָ קְרָאתִיךָ וָאֹמַר לְךָ עַבְדִּי אַתָּה בְּחַרְתִּיךָ וְלֹא מְאַסְתִּיךָ:
whom I grasped: Heb. הֶחֱזַקְתִּי. I took you for My share. Comp. (Ex. 4:4) “And he stretched out his hand and grasped (וַיְּחֲזֵק) it.”  
from the ends of the earth: from the other nations.  
and from its nobles: from the greatest of them.  
I called you: by name for My share, “My firstborn son, Israel” (ibid. v. 22).  
and I did not despise you: like Esau, as it is said (Malachi 1:3), “And Esau I hated.”  
10. Do not fear for I am with you; be not discouraged for I am your God: I encouraged you, I also helped you, I also supported you with My righteous hand.   י. אַל תִּירָא כִּי עִמְּךָ אָנִי אַל תִּשְׁתָּע כִּי אֲנִי אֱלֹהֶיךָ אִמַּצְתִּיךָ אַף עֲזַרְתִּיךָ אַף תְּמַכְתִּיךָ בִּימִין צִדְקִי:
be not discouraged: Heb. אַל תִּשְׁתָּע. Let your heart not melt like wax (שַׁעֲוָה). This is the rule: Every word whose first radical is ‘shin,’ when it is used in the reflexive present, past, or future, the ‘tav’ separates it and enters between the first two radicals. Comp. (infra 49:16) “And He was astounded (וַיַּשְׁתּוֹמֵם) ” ; (Micah 6:16) “For the statutes of Omri shall be observed (וְיִשְׁתַּמֵּר)” ; (I Sam. 1:14) “will you be drunk (תִּשְׁתַּכָּרִין) ?” ; (Job 30:16) “My soul is poured out (תִּשְׁתַּפֵּ).”  
11. Behold all those incensed against you shall be ashamed and confounded; those who quarreled with you shall be as nought and be lost.   יא. הֵן יֵבֹשׁוּ וְיִכָּלְמוּ כֹּל הַנֶּחֱרִים בָּךְ יִהְיוּ כְאַיִן וְיֹאבְדוּ אַנְשֵׁי רִיבֶךָ:
12. You may seek them but not find them, those who quarrel with you; those who war with you shall be as nought and as nothing.   יב. תְּבַקְשֵׁם וְלֹא תִמְצָאֵם אַנְשֵׁי מַצֻּתֶךָ יִהְיוּ כְאַיִן וּכְאֶפֶס אַנְשֵׁי מִלְחַמְתֶּךָ:
13. For I, the Lord your God, grasp your right hand; Who says to you, "Fear not, I help you."   יג. כִּי אֲנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מַחֲזִיק יְמִינֶךָ הָאֹמֵר לְךָ אַל תִּירָא אֲנִי עֲזַרְתִּיךָ:
14. Fear not, O worm of Jacob, the number of Israel; "I have helped you," says the Lord, and your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.   יד. אַל תִּירְאִי תּוֹלַעַת יַעֲקֹב מְתֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲנִי עֲזַרְתִּיךְ נְאֻם יְהֹוָה וְגֹאֲלֵךְ קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל:
O worm of Jacob: Heb. תּוֹלַעַת. The family of Jacob, which is weak like a worm, which has no strength except in its mouth. תּוֹלַעַת is vermener in O.F., [vermisseau in Modern French, a worm].  
the number of Israel: Heb. מְתֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, the number of Israel.  
15. Behold I have made you a new grooved threshing-sledge, with sharp points; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them fine, and you shall make hills like chaff.   טו. הִנֵּה שַׂמְתִּיךְ לְמוֹרָג חָרוּץ חָדָשׁ בַּעַל פִּיפִיּוֹת תָּדוּשׁ הָרִים וְתָדֹק וּגְבָעוֹת כַּמֹּץ תָּשִׂים:
a… grooved threshing sledge: It is a heavy wooden implement made with many grooves, similar to the ironsmiths’ tool known as ‘lime’ in French, a file, and they drag it over the straw of the ears of grain and it cuts them until they become fine straw.  
new: When it is new, before the points of its grooves are smoothed off, it cuts very much, but when it becomes old, the points of the grooves are smoothed off.  
with sharp points: Heb. פִּיפִיוֹת. Those are the points of the grooves.  
you shall thresh the mountains: kings and princes.  
16. You shall winnow them, and a wind shall carry them off, and a tempest shall scatter them, and you shall rejoice with the Lord, with the Holy One of Israel shall you praise yourself.   טז. תִּזְרֵם וְרוּחַ תִּשָּׂאֵם וּסְעָרָה תָּפִיץ אֹתָם וְאַתָּה תָּגִיל בַּיהֹוָה בִּקְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל תִּתְהַלָּל:
You shall winnow them: You shall scatter them, as with a pitchfork, to the wind.  
and a wind shall carry them off: by themselves to Gehinnom.  
17. The poor and the needy seek water, but there is none; their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them, I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.   יז. הָעֲנִיִּים וְהָאֶבְיוֹנִים מְבַקְשִׁים מַיִם וָאַיִן לְשׁוֹנָם בַּצָּמָא נָשָׁתָּה אֲנִי יְהֹוָה אֶעֱנֵם אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא אֶעֶזְבֵם:
seek water: The prophet prophesied concerning the end of days (Amos 8:11), “Not a famine for bread nor a thirst for water, but to hear the words of the Lord… They shall wander to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.” And when His wrath subsides, He shall prepare for them bread and water and cause His Shechinah and His spirit to rest in the mouth of their prophets.  
is parched: Heb. נָשָׁתָּה. An expression similar to (supra 19:5) “And water from the sea shall dry up (וְנִשְּׁתּוּ).” An expression similar to (Lam. 3:45) “The destruction (הַשֵּׁאת) and the breach.” And all of them are an expression of destruction and dryness. Therefore, a ‘dagesh’ appears in the ‘tav,’ since it comes instead of two, for there is no שֵׁאת without a ‘tav,’ and he should have said for the feminine וְנָשָׁתְתָה, since for the masculine singular he says נשתה and for the plural ונשתו.  
18. I will open rivers on the high places, and springs in the midst of valleys; I will make a desert into a pool of water and a wasteland into sources of water.   יח. אֶפְתַּח עַל שְׁפָיִים נְהָרוֹת וּבְתוֹךְ בְּקָעוֹת מַעְיָנוֹת אָשִׂים מִדְבָּר לַאֲגַם מַיִם וְאֶרֶץ צִיָּה לְמוֹצָאֵי מָיִם:
rivers: an understanding heart for Torah and prophecy.  
a desert: A place where there was no Torah wisdom.  
19. I will give in the desert cedars, acacia trees, myrtles, and pines; I will place in the wilderness boxtrees, firs, and cypresses together.   יט. אֶתֵּן בַּמִּדְבָּר אֶרֶז שִׁטָּה וַהֲדַס וְעֵץ שָׁמֶן אָשִׂים בָּעֲרָבָה בְּרוֹשׁ תִּדְהָר וּתְאַשּׁוּר יַחְדָּו:
I will give in the desert cedars, acacia trees: all kinds of civilization. Even in them will I give all kinds of wisdom, goodness, and peace.  
firs and cypresses: Names of trees that do not produce fruit, used for building.  
20. In order that they see and know, and pay attention and understand together that the hand of the Lord did this and the Holy One of Israel created it.   כ. לְמַעַן יִרְאוּ וְיֵדְעוּ וְיָשִׂימוּ וְיַשְׂכִּילוּ יַחְדָּו כִּי יַד יְהֹוָה עָשְׂתָה זֹּאת וּקְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּרָאָהּ:
21. "Present your plea," says the Lord; "present your strong points," says the King of Jacob.   כא. קָרְבוּ רִיבְכֶם יֹאמַר יְהֹוָה הַגִּישׁוּ עֲצֻמוֹתֵיכֶם יֹאמַר מֶלֶךְ יַעֲקֹב:
Present your plea: All the heathens ([mss. K’li Paz:] nations), come and contend and debate with My children.  
your strong points: Heb. עַצֻּמוֹתֵיכֶם, Your sturdy and strong arguments. This is an expression of a dispute in Mishnaic Hebrew: “Two who were engaged in a legal dispute (מִתְעַצְּמִין),” in Tractate Sanhedrin (31b).  
22. Let them present and tell us what will happen; the first things what were they? Tell, and we will take it to heart, and we will know their end, or the coming events let us hear.   כב. יַגִּישׁוּ וְיַגִּידוּ לָנוּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר תִּקְרֶינָה הָרִאשֹׁנוֹת | מָה הֵנָּה הַגִּידוּ וְנָשִׂימָה לִבֵּנוּ וְנֵדְעָה אַחֲרִיתָן אוֹ הַבָּאוֹת הַשְׁמִיעֻנוּ:
Let them present: Let those who deny the Torah ([mss., K’li Paz:] the nations) present their prophets and their soothsayers.  
and tell us what will happen: in the future.  
the first things: that were before the Creation of the world, and concerning what was created and what they are. (Other editions: The incidents that have already begun, what will be their end.)  
or the coming events: in the future, let us hear, and we will see if there is any substance to them, that their words will come true.  
23. Tell the signs coming later, and we will know, for you are gods; you will even benefit and harm; let us talk and let us see together.   כג. הַגִּידוּ הָאֹתִיּוֹת לְאָחוֹר וְנֵדְעָה כִּי אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם אַף תֵּיטִיבוּ וְתָרֵעוּ וְנִשְׁתָּעָה וְנִרְאֶה יַחְדָּו:
Tell the signs coming later: Heb. הָאוֹתִיוֹתלְאָחוֹר, the wonders coming at the end.  
let us talk: Heb. וְנִשְׁתָּעָה. Let us tell your words. (Gen. 24:66) “And he told (וַיְּסַפֵּר),” the Targum renders וְאִשְׁתָּעֵי.  
24. Behold you are of nought, and your deed is one of shouting; the abominable one will select you.   כד. הֵן אַתֶּם מֵאַיִן וּפָעָלְכֶם מֵאָפַע תּוֹעֵבָה יִבְחַר בָּכֶם:
Behold you are of naught: and how will your words be fulfilled.  
and your deed is one of shouting: Heb. מֵאָפַע. You shout and raise your voice only to mislead the people with lies.  
the abominable one: Heb. תּוֹעֵבָה [lit. an abomination.] The abominable ones select you, and not the Holy One, blessed be He, or His servants or His ministers.  
25. I have aroused from the north and he came; from the rising of the sun he shall call in My name. And he shall come [upon] princes like mortar and as the potter treads clay.   כה. הַעִירוֹתִי מִצָּפוֹן וַיַּאת מִמִּזְרַח שֶׁמֶשׁ יִקְרָא בִשְׁמִי וְיָבֹא סְגָנִים כְּמוֹ חֹמֶר וּכְמוֹ יוֹצֵר יִרְמָס טִיט:
I have aroused from the north and he came: I tell the future events. Behold I arouse Cyrus from the north to build the ruins of Jerusalem, and he came upon Babylon to destroy it.  
from the rising of the sun he shall call in My name: (Ezra 1:2) “All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord God of the heavens given me.” And it appears that Persia is northeast of Eretz Israel. Another explanation is: I aroused Nebuchadnezzar from the north to destroy My city, and he came, and I aroused Cyrus from the east, that he call in My name to build My city, for the kingdom of Persia is east of Eretz Israel, as it is stated (Dan. 8:4): “I saw the ram butting etc.” [This verse in Daniel proves it. “I saw the ram butting to the west and to the north and to the south.” We deduce that he came from the east.] Jonathan paraphrases: I brought speedily a king, strong as the north wind, and he will come as the sun comes out with its might from the east; I will strengthen him with My name.  
and he shall come [upon] princes: And he shall come upon the king of Babylon and upon his princes as he would come to trample upon mire, and as a potter tramples clay for earthenware vessels, so will he trample the princes.  
26. Who told from the beginning that we may know, and from before, that we may say, "He is just"? Not one told; not one let us hear; not one hears your statements.   כו. מִי הִגִּיד מֵרֹאשׁ וְנֵדָעָה וּמִלְּפָנִים וְנֹאמַר צַדִּיק אַף אֵין מַגִּיד אַף אֵין מַשְׁמִיעַ אַף אֵין שֹׁמֵעַ אִמְרֵיכֶם:
Who: of the prophets of Baal told, like me, a thing destined to come, and who told it from before, that when it comes we will say that he is just, that his prophecy is just?  
Not one told: But there is none among you who will foretell the future and that it will come true.  
not one hears your statements: Who will testify when the future comes, that so and so the prophet of the Baal prophesied this from before.  
27. The first one to Zion, behold, behold them, and for Jerusalem I will give a herald.   כז. רִאשׁוֹן לְצִיּוֹן הִנֵּה הִנָּם וְלִירוּשָׁלִַם מְבַשֵּׂר אֶתֵּן:
The first to Zion, behold, behold them: The first king who will give heart to Zion, behold he is the one I mentio ned, and even though the redemption will not be completed through him, he will be the one to initiate it. (Ezra 1: 3) “Whoever of you from all His people…”  
behold them: The elders of Israel will be ready, according to his statement, to go up from the exile and to begin.  
and for Jerusalem I will give a herald: in those days, [viz.] Haggai and Zechariah, who will encourage them to build it in the days of Darius III of Persia.  
28. And I look, and there is no man, and of these, and there is no counselor, and I ask them that they reply with a word.   כח. וְאֵרֶא וְאֵין אִישׁ וּמֵאֵלֶּה וְאֵין יוֹעֵץ וְאֶשְׁאָלֵם וְיָשִׁיבוּ דָבָר:
And I look and there is no man: [lit. and I will see, in the future tense.] I always look at the prophets of Baal, and there is no man who tells of a future event.  
and of these: of all these destined to come, and none of them is a counselor who stood in God’s counsel and will know them.  
and I ask them that they reply with a word: That they should reply with a word if I should ask them.  
29. Behold them all, their deeds are nought, of no substance; wind and nothingness are their molten images.   כט. הֵן כֻּלָּם אָוֶן אֶפֶס מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם רוּחַ וָתֹהוּ נִסְכֵּיהֶם:
Behold them all,… naught: You should know that, as for the prophets of those who deny the Torah ([mss.:] pagan prophets;) ([other mss.:] prophets of Baal), all their deeds are naught and of no substance.  
their molten images: Heb. נִסְכֵּיהֶם. Comp. (supra 40:19) “The graven image the craftsman melted (נָסַ).” Jonathan renders this section differently:  
[27] The first one to Zion etc.: The words of consolation that the prophets prophesied concerning Zion, from before, behold they have come. And according to the Targum, the entire section speaks of the King Messiah and of the last redemption, but I see that the prophecy that Isaiah prophesied concerning Cyrus is all in the same language as this section. Comp. (infra 45:13) “I aroused him with righteousness” ; (Infra 46: 11) “Calling from the east a bird of prey” ; (infra 45:11) “The signs ask Me;” (infra 46:10) “Who tells from the beginning the end.” All of this resembles the topic of this section.  
E-mail
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
FEATURED ON CHABAD.ORG