One of the most beautiful ways to describe the expectation of G-d from us, his believers, is the fable. In The Scriptures, we can find some fables with a clear message: the one who should be the ruler is not doing what G-d expects from him. Two great examples can be found in the fable of the bramble in Judges 9- there Abimelech he is the bramble that is a bad leader for his tribe- and in 2 Samuel 12 – there King David is the rich, who took the only sheep of the poor one.
The fable Today discusses G-d's expectations from his people, not from the leader as one. For me these are the expectations from all the people of planet Earth.
When you want to deliver a message to people, you must have them listen to you not like a passive audience that sees a movie, but as an active and participant one.
They need to feel like they are in a concert! In Isaiah 5 we can find the people as the judges in a trial where they must be active. Let us go to the court and start the trial.
The prosecutor starts with these words in Isaiah 5:1-
"אָשִׁירָה נָּא לִידִידִי, שִׁירַת דּוֹדִי לְכַרְמוֹ:
כֶּרֶם הָיָה לִידִידִי, בְּקֶרֶן בֶּן-שָׁמֶן"
"Let me sing of my well-beloved, a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard in a very fruitful hill"
The jurors think about a beautiful vineyard, located in a hill, the vinedresser works there, planting his grapes. This vinedresser is beloved, everyone likes him, the repetitions in this verse create a positive feelings to the one who is so beloved. Each one of the jurors can identify with him; the empathy is now with all of them.
The next verse describes all the actions that the vine dresser did and ends with an enormous surprise as we read in Isaiah 5:2-
"וַיְעַזְּקֵהוּ וַיְסַקְּלֵהוּ, וַיִּטָּעֵהוּ שֹׂרֵק,
וַיִּבֶן מִגְדָּל בְּתוֹכוֹ, וְגַם-יֶקֶב חָצֵב בּוֹ;
וַיְקַו לַעֲשׂוֹת עֲנָבִים, וַיַּעַשׂ בְּאֻשִׁים"
"And he dug it, and cleared it of stones, and planted it with the choicest vine,
and built a tower in the midst of it, and also hewed out a vat therein;
and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes"
The vinedresser did, seemingly, all what he needed to do. Firstly, he created the best conditions for the vineyard, in order for it to be fruitful. He chose the best location, the best species. No stones were there. Secondly, he built a tower in the vineyard, there he can put someone to guard him. The vine dresser didn't have to go so far if he wanted to create a vine, because the winery was also there.
At this point, all the expectations were good; from the best vineyard, located in the best place, with the best species of grape, we can all imagine that the results will be excellent, meaning: the best wine that we can enjoy drinking. However, my friends, the result was the opposite: the best grapes became the wildest.
If I was a juror in this trial, I would feel disappointment, how can it be? I would probably ask myself, and for sure all the jurors did the same. The prosecutor calls all the people to be the judges. In verse 4 he repeats the message by saying:
"מַה-לַּעֲשׂוֹת עוֹד לְכַרְמִי, וְלֹא עָשִׂיתִי בּוֹ:
מַדּוּעַ קִוֵּיתִי לַעֲשׂוֹת עֲנָבִים, וַיַּעַשׂ בְּאֻשִׁים."
"What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?"
The next step in the trial is the verdict. If the vineyard is not bearing the grapes that he should give, he shouldn't exist.
Anymore, as we read in Isaiah 5:5-6-
"וְעַתָּה אוֹדִיעָה-נָּא אֶתְכֶם, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-אֲנִי עֹשֶׂה לְכַרְמִי:
הָסֵר מְשׂוּכָּתוֹ וְהָיָה לְבָעֵר, פָּרֹץ גְּדֵרוֹ וְהָיָה לְמִרְמָס.
וַאֲשִׁיתֵהוּ בָתָה, לֹא יִזָּמֵר וְלֹא יֵעָדֵר,
וְעָלָה שָׁמִיר, וָשָׁיִת; וְעַל הֶעָבִים אֲצַוֶּה, מֵהַמְטִיר עָלָיו מָטָר."
"And now come, I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; I will break down the fence thereof, and it shall be trodden down. And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned nor hoed, but there shall come up briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it"
The vine dresser decided to ruin the vineyard. He will remove the fence around it and the animals and the people will destroy it. Then this vineyard will be like a desert, desolate, only thorns will be there. No rain will be in that place. The verdict seemed to be strange for the jurors, how the vine dresser can command the rain to be stopped? On the other hand if the grapes are not good enough, maybe the vineyard shouldn't exist?
After causing the people to listen to the song, to be the juries now they are becoming the accused!
Verse 7 reveals for us in beautiful pun the reality as written:
"כִּי כֶרֶם יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל,
וְאִישׁ יְהוּדָה, נְטַע שַׁעֲשׁוּעָיו;
וַיְקַו לְמִשְׁפָּט וְהִנֵּה מִשְׂפָּח,
לִצְדָקָה וְהִנֵּה צְעָקָה"
"For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel;
And the men of Judah the plant of His delight;
And He looked for justice, but beholds violence;
For righteousness, but behold a cry"
We don't have to go to a trial in order to understand a simple truth: G-d expects his believers all the time to do only one thing: be righteous and do justice. We don't have to be the best grapes, but the taste from our grapes should be the taste of Justice!