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The Haftarah for Parashat Bamidbar 5762
From the Book of Hosea Chapter 2:1-22, which is the first prophet in the Book of Trai Assar (The Twelve Prophets)
The Storyline of this week's Haftarah: The promise of The Nation of Israel's growth, unity, and redemption. The Haftarah begins with a promise that there will be so many Israelites that you won't be able to count them. Instead of being called Lo-ami, not my people we will be called Bnai-el-Chai or the children of the living G-d. A gathering of the exiles will occur and then the people from Judah and Israel will reunite and appoint one leader. Hosea then speaks of a disloyal "wife" that will return remorsefully. But it may be too late. The Haftarah ends with the promise that Hashem will take Israel for himself in love, righteousness and faith for all time.
The connection between this week's Parasha and the Haftara: Hosea predicts that the population of Israel will grow like the sands of the ocean. In the Parasha we hear about the many Jews that traveled in the desert to the Holy Land.
Haftorahman's Lesson of the week: Hashem told Hosea that Israel had sinned. Hosea replied "All the world is yours, if the Jews are unworthy, exchange them for another nation". Hashem responded by commanding Hosea to marry a harlot and have children with her, even though he knew she was unfaithful. Hosea and Gomer had these three children. Then after they had their kids, Hashem ordered Hosea to send his family away. Hashem then said: " Your wife is a harlot whose children may or may not even be yours, but the fruits of adultery. Yet you say that you cannot abandon them. The Nation of Israel are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. - How dare you say that I should exchange them for another nation? Only now could Hosea understand how badly he had spoken about Hashem's children. Hosea goes on to speak of Israel as if it was a disloyal wife to Hashem. However, Hosea claims that the Jewish people can turn things around and reclaim Hashem's love. Then the names of the children of Israel will change and become Ami, My People, and Ruhama, Object of Mercy. We in some ways can control our destiny by being faithful to Hashem.
Hosea's Biography: Hosea prophecised from 760-720 B.C.E. His father's name was Be'eri Hanavi (The Prophet). He was from the tribe of Reuven. He lived in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, where he prophecised until the Assyrains conquered and exiled the Jews. His name means Salvation. He told Hashem "If you don't like the way the Jews are behaving, choose another people". His wife's name was Gomer, from Diblaim. Before Hosea was married to her she was a harlot. They had 3 children, 1 daughter Lo-ruhama or Object-of-no-mercy, because Hashem had decided to no longer be merciful with the Jews who refused to repent. And two 2 sons: Lo-ami or Not-my-people, because the Jews had forfeited their claim to being the Hashem's "Chosen People", and Jezreel, The-G-d-of-powerful-mercy-will-plant or Hashem-will-gather-in-the-exiled-Jews-and-plant-them-in-their-homeland. Hashem instructed Hosea to send his family away. Hosea couldn't stand it.(more later). Four prophets prophecised at the same period: Hosea, Isaiah, Amos and Micah. The greatest of them was Hosea, who was the first of the four to prophecise. For 40 years Hashem warned the Jewish people through Hosea. His prophecies took place in the time of the first Bait Hamikdash. Hashem spoke to him once. Hosea died in Babylon. At the time when the journey to Palestine was beset with many perils, Hosea desired to be buried in the Holy land. H e requested before his death, that his coffin be loaded on a camel and for the camel to make his way as he would. Where-ever he stopped there Hosea was to be buried. So it was done without a single mishap. The camel arrived in Sefad at the Jewish cemetery of the town. The camel stood still and there Hosea was buried in the presence of a large crowd.
The Structure of the Book of Hosea:
Chapters 4-13 predict punishment.
Famous phrases from the Book of Hosea: Chapter 9:10 Ke'a'vanim Ba'mid'bar" or "Like Grapes in the Desert". It's like finding something important in a place where one has no hope of finding it. This is probably where the saying "It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack " comes from.
Timeline: Hosea lived about 2835 years ago in the Jewish year 3142.
Map: The Northern Kingdom of Israel
Written by: The Haftorahman - Reuven Gavriel ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5762-2002
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