Va’Etchanan always falls the week after Tisha b’Av, the blackest day in the Jewish calendar, when e fast to commemorate the loss of both Temples, as well as numerous other troubles and disasters in our history.l, our rabbis, in their infinite wisdom chose for the accompanying haftarah Isaiah, chapter 40, verses1-26, describing the wonderful future awaiting Jerusalem and its inhabitants, presently scattered among the nations
The word “Nachamu” (be comforted) is of course the first word of the haftarah, and indeed gives the name to the first of the three weeks of comfort after “The three weeks”, the saddest period in our calendar.I have noticed a remarkable link between the name of the sedra “Va’etchannan” and the name of the haftarah, Nachamu”.
Va’etchanan, as Rabbi Hirsch explains, is a reflexive form meaning “I made myself deserving of grace, chein ” He refers to the gemara “Berachot” 60b, where Va’etchannan is used to refer to someone who is about to start his davening and “gather himself together internally so as to put his mind in thye right mood”. in the same way, we read the Pesukey de zimra in the mornings to put ourselves in the right mood prior to davening
On close examination of the names of the sedra and the haftarah we can see a fascinating link between them.The root of VA’ETCHANAN is the two lett ers CHET, NUN which reads ‘CHEIN’ ( grace, )The root of NACHAMU is the same two letters NUN, CHET in reverse which reads NACH (comfort, peace ). If we write the two letters in a continuous repetitive unbroken chain — chet, nun, chet, nun, chet, nun. we find that the two letters cling to each other like an umbilical cord attaching us to Hashem to reveal a beautiful message: “Show Hashem CHEIN (Va’etchnan) and He will show you NACH, NACHAT (Nachamu)l