With the Festive Season of 5779 now just an inspirational memory behind us, it is time to draw new resolutions as we start the New Year with the renewed Torah reading Cycle – starting anew, right from Creation!
Bereisheet – Creation Genesis 1:1 – 6:8
Haftarah – Haftarah for Ashkenazim: Isaiah 42:5 – 43:10
Haftarah for Sephardim: Isaiah 42:5 – 42:21
The Haftarah Bereisheet claims the Creator to have called a Servant Messenger to bring the nations out of their imprisonment, out of their blindness into restored Covenant relationship with Him.
Jewish and Rabbinic commentators throughout the ages have conjectured on who exactly is referred to by the Prophet as ‘The Messenger’ and the bringer of Light and understanding.
The context of Haftarah Bereisheet indicates a Covenant relationship (Brit) with the Creator. The Divine declaration of this Haftarah claims the ‘Messenger of HaShem’ to be representing (thus being part of) that Brit. And logically, the Call should therefore be to a de-covenanted People to become part of or be restored to that Covenant. The question now arises whether this ‘Messenger’ refers to a de-covenanted Judah (who has never yet been de-covenanted by the God of Israel) or to the House of Israel (which has indeed been de-covenanted when the Kingdom of Israel split in two in the Time of Solomon’s rule). Or, does it refer to ‘someone’ else, like the Prophet Isaiah who is addressed in this Haftarah, or the ‘Messiah’ (as Christians would claim)?
The general consensus today amongst both Jewish and non-Jewish Biblical commentators is that history and civilization is approaching the concluding ‘Messianic Times’ foretold by Holy Writ:
- According to general Christian interpretation this refers to the “Return of their Messiah to rule over the nations” and
- According to Jewish interpretation it refers to “The Coming of the Messiah ben David”, the Final Redemption and Rule over the Nations.
As the audience of this Blog and Web Site (www.kolhator.com) are from both sides, it would be apt to aim for ‘final individual preparation’ whichever scenario it would be – and there are increasing signs that the two could perhaps co-incide – solely to the Glory and Honour of the Creator God of Israel as this Haftarah emphasizes.
From the various selected commentaries on Bereisheet that we provide herewith, there is a clear Guideline: To become serious about Covenant relationship with the Creator God. To understand what the Divine Purpose is for mankind, His Creation – with regard to our audience:
- For Judah to realize their Divine Calling and appointment as “A Light unto the World for Torah awareness and guidance” and the obligation to assist the “Captive Jewish Child” and “Captive brothers from the House of 10-Israel ‘ in Egyptian bondage’ with their Return Home to reconcile and establish the re-united 12-Tribed Kingdom of HaShem. What a sublime Calling this places on Judah to be the Light bearers to assist in the Restoration of the re-united 12-Tribed Kingdom of the God of Israel!
- For 10-Israel in Captivity (Ephraim) to realize that they have to restore their Covenant relationship with the Creator, i.e. Torah observance for guidance of which they have to subject to the Mechoqeck Judicial authority of Judah (Rabbinic Judaism). What a sublime Calling this places on ‘The Bride who was rejected but promised a Return to her faithful and loving Groom,’ to join Judah to serve as a Light unto the Nations – even in their process of Return while still in Captivity!
- For BOTH Houses, to practice the common humane guidelines as established in the commentaries on Parashat Bereisheet herewith. How blessed and privileged to be sharing in such a Calling and intimate Divine relationship!
With such spirit, Reconciliation and resultant Final Redemption will be at hand and the Way will be open for “HaShem to restore His Shechinah (Presence and Glory) amongst the nation of re-united 12-Israel”. (The Shechinah that departed from Israel when His nation was split in two in the Time of King Solomon and exiled into oblivion (for 10-Israel) and persecution (for Judah)).
|מ כִּי בְהַר-קָדְשִׁי בְּהַר מְרוֹם יִשְׂרָאֵל, נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה–שָׁם יַעַבְדֻנִי כָּל-בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל כֻּלֹּה, בָּאָרֶץ: שָׁם אֶרְצֵם–וְשָׁם אֶדְרוֹשׁ אֶת-תְּרוּמֹתֵיכֶם וְאֶת-רֵאשִׁית מַשְׂאוֹתֵיכֶם, בְּכָל-קָדְשֵׁיכֶם.||40 For in My holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith HaShem, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them, serve Me in the land; there will I accept them, and there will I require your heave-offerings, and the first of your gifts, with all your holy things.|
|מא בְּרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ, אֶרְצֶה אֶתְכֶם, בְּהוֹצִיאִי אֶתְכֶם מִן-הָעַמִּים, וְקִבַּצְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מִן-הָאֲרָצוֹת אֲשֶׁר נְפֹצֹתֶם בָּם; וְנִקְדַּשְׁתִּי בָכֶם, לְעֵינֵי הַגּוֹיִם.||41 With your sweet savour will I accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you in the sight of the nations.|
|מב וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי-אֲנִי יְהוָה, בַּהֲבִיאִי אֶתְכֶם אֶל-אַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל–אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתִי אֶת-יָדִי, לָתֵת אוֹתָהּ, לַאֲבוֹתֵיכֶם.||42 And ye shall know that I am HaShem, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country which I lifted up My hand to give unto your fathers.|