The first chapter of Sefer Yeshayahu begins with a description of the devastation caused to Yehuda during the Assyrian invasion of 701 BCE. Only through Hashem’s kindness and mercy, and not through their own merit and strength, do the Jewish people merit to remain in the land. The people remark that they were nearly wiped out, as were Sodom and Gomorrah in times of old. By way of allusion, in verse 10 the prophet begins to convey the message that the reason for this was because they had adopted the ways of Sodom and Gomorrah, oppressing the poor while feigning piety. In order to remain in the Land of Israel, they must learn to behave towards everyone with genuine piety.

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