Isaiah 27:6 – 28:13; 29:22 – 29:23 (Haftarah, Ashkenazi)
Jeremiah 1:1-2:3 (Haftarah, Sephardic)
This Shabbat, we have the situation where there are two traditions for the Prophetic portions to be used as the “Haftarah” – the Ashkenazi tradition and the Sephardic, and they do not overlap at all! In fact, the Haftarot are provided by two different Prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah. This week we will follow the Sephardic, as it links with our observations thusfar.
Interestingly, This Sephardic reading is read by the Ashkenazim as the first of the three haftarot of ‘catastrophe’ that precede Tisha b’Av (the 9th day of the month Av – closer to Succot) – that awesome date in history when at different times, both the Temples were destroyed in Jerusalem on the same day of the year. Many other catastrophes befell the Jews on this date, as recent as Tisha B’Av in 2005, when 10,000 Jews were forcibly disenfranchised from their homes, farms and businesses in Gush Katif, Gaza, Israel. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who engineered this unspeakable horror on his own people, after seven years is still lying living dead in his bed after a stroke shortly after.
This Haftorah was chosen for Shemot, because similarly to Moses, the prophet YirmeYahu is called upon by Hashem to proclaim a message to Israel. They both hedged against the Divine Request to address and assist Israel regarding their Redemption. They both were inspired and encouraged by HaShem with the Promise that He would stand by them.
YirmeYahu has two prophecies: the first regarding the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in the 7th century BCE and the second, regarding the final destruction in Gog Magog – the ultimate catastrophe to befall Israel when “all the nations of the world will draw up to Jerusalem” for the Great Battle. So destructive will this War be, that HaShem will personally and visibly intervene to prevent the annihilation of Israel! (Zech. 14).
Hashem reassures YirmeYahu that regardless of his feelings of unworthiness to bring the Message of Redemption, He would always be there to support him.
Regarding the second destruction, HaShem confirms: Jer. 1:14, “From the North disaster will be poured out on all who live in the Land. 15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the Northern kingdoms, declares HaShem.”
In our previous Parashah, Va’yechi, the last section of Genesis, we read the amazing conclusions by an Israeli Rabbi and his co-author, regarding this same final catastrophe to befall HaShem’s People, from the Gematriah of 501. One of the factors that added up to 501, was the Biblical phrase “by the works of your hands.” We have exactly the same phrase in our Haftarah this week. We must therefore conclude that it is talking about the same catastrophe awaiting Israel:
Jer. 1:16 ” I will pronounce My Judgments on My People because of their wickedness in forsaking Me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made.”
If our assumption in this weeks commentary is correct that 10-Israel (the ‘Yoseph’ core within it) may become the medium used by HaShem to establish Redemption for Israel, then the Calling of YirmeYahu here, could well be a metaphor for the same concept.
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If this is true, then re-awakening and to-Torah-returning 10-Israel is facing the Divine Call to take courage, rise up and claim the release of the exiles of the Ten Tribes of Israel held spiritually captive in pagan ideologies amongst the nations. And to confront Judah in a spirit of Peace, humility and subjection, claiming or declaring their Right of Return to the Land and to its Nation for the Final Redemption.
In the process, like a Moses they can become the Redeemer of Israel (all 12 Tribes), and like a ‘Yoseph’, they can be the Peace Maker and Revealer of restored Identity amongst the 12 Brothers.
Like unto Moses and YermiYahu – A Great Calling indeed!
Like Moses and YermiYahu – it will require their humility (NOT their spiritual arrogance) to be successful and acceptable to Judah and Israel.
And, it will require the self confidence and leadership of a Yoseph.
Can there be any finer Guidelines for 10-Israel to qualify themselves for – and for Judah and his brothers to open their hearts to Yoseph for?
May Peace reign in Zion – soon!