In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayelech, covering Isaiah 55:6-56:8. Gordon and Johnson rejoice in this portion that heralds good news for the wicked, the unrighteous, the outcasts of Israel, the eunuch and the foreigner. And if none of these describe you, feel free to check “other.”
The portion begins with a play on words with nothing less than God’s name and the promise that he “will be found” by whoever seeks him. This inclusive statement is supported by the word-of-the-week lavah/joined—the concept of non-Jews joining themselves to Yehovah—a persistent and straightforward biblical concept often muddied by the metaphysical idea of a “Jewish soul.” Gordon compares other scriptures about God’s great big umbrella, explains why the words “yad vashem” appear in this portion, and provides four rabbinical interpretations of the “everlasting name” that shall not be cut off. In closing, Johnson thanks Yehovah for welcoming the foreigner and choosing to place his name on his holy mountain in Jerusalem.
"For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." Isaiah 56:7