This week’s haftarah1 is the first of seven consoling the Jewish people. After “The Three Weeks” of darkness and destruction, G‑d consoles us through his prophet Isaiah. Each week, the consoling gets more and more powerful.2

This Shabbat is called Shabbat Nachamu because the haftarah starts with G‑d’s words to Isaiah: Nachamu nachamu ami (“Console, console my nation”).3

Since this is the first haftarah of consoling, shouldn’t it begin with one nachamu—a basic level of consoling—and add as we go in the coming weeks? What’s behind the double expression of consoling?

A double expression such as nachamu nachamu means more than two. Rather, it is an expression of abundance in both quantity and quality. Not only is this consoling of greater intensity, but it is ongoing. And since this is the first of the seven haftarahs of consoling, it is this one that sets the standard for all subsequent expressions of consoling in the weeks yet to come.

In a few weeks, we will read in the haftarah another double expression: “I, [it is] I Who consoles you.”4 As of now, G‑d is asking his prophets to console us, but there, He will take it to a new level. This double “I” is G‑d saying that the consolation is coming from the deepest level of His essence. Even deeper than the giving of the Ten Commandments, which begins with only one “I”: “I am the L‑rd your G‑d . . .”5 This is because when Moshiach comes and we will experience G‑d’s consoling, the revelation will be even greater at Mount Sinai; it will be G‑d’s deepest essence.

With the devastation that befell our people during “The Three Weeks,” one would think that it makes sense to take it slow, first consoling but a little. After all, how can we handle so much? But being Jewish, we know that we are always close to G‑d, even in times of exile and darkness, He is one with us. G‑d is saying nachamu nachamu—you can handle the double nachamu with all its intensity.

This is especially relevant now when we are so close to the coming of Moshiach, and the darkness is doubled. We must realize that only our physical existence is in exile. Our spiritual essence is always free and one with G‑d. Soon we will see the fruit of our labor—a double comfort—as the physical will also be free to experience G‑d’s essence. As our haftarah says,6 “And G‑d’s glory will be revealed, and all flesh together will see, that the mouth of G‑d spoke.”7

My wife, Dina, once asked: “When every month you were losing more and more abilities to ALS, you just said, ‘Let’s figure out how to deal with it.’ How come it didn’t seem to faze you?”

I told her that I am just crazy.

But the truth is that I am certain that G‑d is doing this to me for a good reason, and I feel like He has chosen me for a specific task. I don’t necessarily like being unable to do anything and I surely don’t wish this on anyone, but if G‑d put me in this situation, I will use it to accomplish His mission. Soon this mission will end, and the bad will be unnecessary.

The same thing is true for all of us in this exile. G‑d chose us to accomplish His deepest desire. He put us here, in this dark exile, to do something we can only do here. Very soon, because of our efforts, the goal will be achieved, and we will reap the rewards. This exile will end, and we will truly be consoled forever, like the haftarah says, nachamu nachamu. May it happen soon.