by Rabbi Carol Calise

Today’s Haftarah connection to the Torah reading is that it is a story about four men who have leprosy.  The army of Aram has gathered against the people of Israel and it does not look good.  There is no food in the city.  They consider all their options and realize death is going to be the result of most of them unless they can somehow throw themselves on the mercy of the army of Aram.

But I would like us to look at the prophecy given by Elishah in the two verses that precede the passage we read today.  “1 Elisha answered, “Listen to the word of ADONAI. Here is what ADONAI says: ‘Tomorrow, by this time, six quarts of fine flour will sell for only a shekel, and half a bushel of barley for a shekel [in the market] at the gate to Shomron.” 2 The servant on whose arm the king was leaning answered the man of God: “Why, this couldn’t happen even if ADONAI made windows in heaven!” Elisha answered, “All right, you yourself will see it with your own eyes; but you won’t eat any of it!”

The king’s servant could not believe the Word of Adonai.  Why?  Because the situation seemed impossible.  He said even if Adonai opened up heaven, it would be no help to us.  Wow!  How many times have we given into similar thoughts.  This situation is beyond hope.  It’s too late for a miracle was basically what this man was saying.  If G-d was going to move, He should have done it already.  Elisha’s response was, “Oh it will happen and you will indeed see it with your own eyes, but you will never benefit from the miracle – from the open heaven of Adonai.”

And of course as we read from the Haftarah for today, the lepers went to the camp of Aram and found it deserted.  Verses 6-7 tell us what Adonai did, “For ADONAI had caused the army of Aram to hear the sound of chariots and horses; it sounded like a huge army; and they said to each other, “The king of Isra’el must have hired the kings of the Hitti and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us.” 7 So they jumped up and fled in the twilight, leaving their tents, horses, donkeys and the whole camp just as it was, and ran for their lives.”    The lepers bring back the report and let’s look at the end of the story – “Then the people went out and ransacked the camp of Aram – with the result that six quarts of fine flour was sold for only a shekel and half a bushel of barley for a shekel, in keeping with what ADONAI had said. 17 The king put the servant on whose arm he had leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him down in the gateway, so that he died, as the man of God had said he would, who spoke when the king came to him.”

G-d forbid that we would give into doubt and unbelief.  Let us never think it is too late for Adonai.  Never give into despair and hopelessness.  We need to be like Avraham.  Romans 4:20 says, “He did not by lack of trust decide against God’s promises.”  The king’s servant decided against G-d’s promises because He refused to trust and accept the word of Adonai.  Don’t decide against the promise of Adonai for your personal life, for your family, for our congregation, and for our Jewish people.  Your children will return to the faith.  Your marriage can be restored.  The sick will be healed.

Let’s be careful that we do not set ourselves against the promises of Adonai by our lack of faith like the officer in the army. Adonai will fulfill His word and we don’t want to be those who see it, but are left on the outside not participating and benefiting from what He is doing.  Don’t despise the word of Adonai because your situation is so desperate.  Adonai is ready to step in and open up heaven over your life, our families, our friends, our community, and our Jewish people.

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