Chapter 15

1The word of Hashem came to me:

אוַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃

2O mortal, how is the wood of the grapevine better than the wood of any branch to be found among the trees of the forest?

בבֶּן־אָדָם מַה־יִּהְיֶה עֵץ־הַגֶּפֶן מִכָּל־עֵץ הַזְּמוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר הָיָה בַּעֲצֵי הַיָּעַר׃

3Can wood be taken from it for use in any work? Can one take a peg from it to hang any vessel on?

גהֲיֻקַּח מִמֶּנּוּ עֵץ לַעֲשׂוֹת לִמְלָאכָה אִם־יִקְחוּ מִמֶּנּוּ יָתֵד לִתְלוֹת עָלָיו כָּל־כֶּלִי׃

4Now suppose it was thrown into the fire as fuel and the fire consumed its two ends and its middle was charred—is it good for any use?

דהִנֵּה לָאֵשׁ נִתַּן לְאָכְלָה אֵת שְׁנֵי קְצוֹתָיו אָכְלָה הָאֵשׁ וְתוֹכוֹ נָחָר הֲיִצְלַח לִמְלָאכָה׃

5Even when it was whole it could not be used for anything; how much less when fire has consumed it and it is charred! Can it still be used for anything?

ההִנֵּה בִּהְיוֹתוֹ תָמִים לֹא יֵעָשֶׂה לִמְלָאכָה אַף כִּי־אֵשׁ אֲכָלַתְהוּ וַיֵּחָר וְנַעֲשָׂה עוֹד לִמְלָאכָה׃

6Assuredly, thus said Hashem: Like the wood of the grapevine among the trees of the forest, which I have designated to be fuel for fire, so will I treat the inhabitants of Yerushalayim.

la-KHAYN KOH a-MAR a-do-NAI e-lo-HEEM ka-a-SHER aytz ha-GE-fen b'-AYTZ ha-YA-ar a-sher n'-ta-TEEV la-AYSH l'-okh-LAH KAYN na-TA-tee et yo-sh'-VAY y'-ru-sha-LA-im

ולָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה כַּאֲשֶׁר עֵץ־הַגֶּפֶן בְּעֵץ הַיַּעַר אֲשֶׁר־נְתַתִּיו לָאֵשׁ לְאָכְלָה כֵּן נָתַתִּי אֶת־יֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

 15:6 Like the wood of the grapevine among the trees of the forest

Grapes are one of the seven special agricultural products of Eretz Yisrael, and they can teach us a vital life lesson. Contemporary author Rabbi Natan Slifkin explains that grapes must be totally crushed, either underfoot or in a press, to produce valuable wine. He states, “The same is true of the righteous. The difficult question of how bad things can happen to good people is partially resolved through realizing that it is precisely through trials of suffering that latent potential is brought to fruition.” In this prophecy, Yechezkel promises that the inhabitants of Yerushalayim will be destroyed just as a vine that no longer produces grapes is burned for fuel. The message of the grape, however, is that the suffering and hardships are not intended merely as punishments. Rather, Hashem hopes that the pain and anguish will eventually bring out the best in them, and inspire their return to Him.

A vineyard near Beit Shemesh

A vineyard near Latrun.

7I will set My face against them; they escaped from fire, but fire shall consume them. When I set my face against them, you shall know that I am Hashem.

זוְנָתַתִּי אֶת־פָּנַי בָּהֶם מֵהָאֵשׁ יָצָאוּ וְהָאֵשׁ תֹּאכְלֵם וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי־אֲנִי יְהֹוָה בְּשׂוּמִי אֶת־פָּנַי בָּהֶם׃

8I will make the land a desolation, because they committed trespass—declares Hashem.

חוְנָתַתִּי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ שְׁמָמָה יַעַן מָעֲלוּ מַעַל נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃