This week’s haftorah1 begins, “And Zion said, “G‑d had forsaken me . . . ’ ”2

It follows last week’s haftorah, “Nachamu Nachamu,” the doubled consoling. It seems strange that after a doubled consolation, Zion should be feeling forsaken.

Since our great sages set up the haftorahs this way, we must conclude that there is something significant here. Why is it that after a doubled consoling, we are left feeling alone?

Let me explain.

Sometimes, you can feel alone even when you are with the one you love, especially when they are acting distant.

After the doubled consoling of last week, we as a people begin to realize our self-worth. We are G‑d’s beloved, and we are one with Him. If so, the question arises: Why is G‑d sending His prophets to console us? Why does He not console us Himself? This is taken as a rejection, and we feel alone.3

Why is the consoling of prophets not enough?

In Ethics of the Fathers, we read: “Know before Whom you will have to give a judgment and a reckoning.”4 Normally, you first give a reckoning, which is then followed by a judgment. So why is the order here reversed: first the judgment and then the reckoning?

To understand, let’s take a look at another saying from Ethics: “and payment is exacted from the person, with his knowledge and without his knowledge.”5

The Baal Shem Tov explains6 that because our neshamah (“soul”) is actually a part of G‑d, the Heavenly Court has no power over us. In order to pass judgment on a Jewish person, during his lifetime they put before him a scenario of someone committing the same transgression that he committed. When he sees this, he passes judgment, thereby passing judgment on himself. Thus, payment is exacted with his knowledge (because he is the one who is passing judgment) and without his knowledge (because he doesn’t realize that he was judging himself).

This now sheds light on the first statement from Ethics. When he comes before the Heavenly Court, he has already passed judgment so the judgment comes first. All that is left is the reckoning to show that his case is the same as the scenario that he himself judged.

This demonstrates that only a Jew can pass judgment on himself. Neither the angels nor the Heavenly Court have power over him. So be careful to “Judge others favorably,” as you may be judging yourself.

This is also true in the physical world. No one has power over us; it is we who give power to others over us. As the verse in our haftorah says: “Those who destroy you and those who lay waste to you will come out of you.”7

This is what a Jew is all about. We have the power to change the world, but the world has no power over us. The only power anyone has over us is what we give them. Because our neshamahs are a part of G‑d, we are one with Hashem. In the words of the Baal Shem Tov: “When you are grasping on to a part, you are actually grasping the whole thing.”8 Each and every one of us is a part of G‑d.9

Knowing how special we are, we realize that we deserve more. Although we were in a dark situation and a doubled consoling through prophets has pulled us out, as we begin to experience our intrinsic bond with G‑d, consoling through prophets just won’t cut it. We want the real thing—G‑d Himself and nothing less. When we don’t feel that, we feel alone.

Ultimately, we will get what we are asking for, as we see in the last verse of the haftorah: “For G‑d will console Zion . . . ”10

May we soon experience G‑d’s consoling, with the coming of Moshiach, may he come soon.