Weekly Haftorah

by Reuben Ebrahimoff -
The Haftorahman


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Parshas Bereishis

Every week this column will explain the following: The story of the Haftara. When did it happen & where did it happen? Who wrote it and what were they like? What famous things did they say? What can we learn from this Haftarah? We invite you to give us your feedback to hear what you think.

This weeks Haftara for Parashat Bereshit:

Introduction: The Haftaras are portions from the books of the Prophets. They are read after the Torah on Shabbat, festivals and fast days. It is like reading the ancient secret diaries of the men & women whose vision was devoted to enabling all people to feel deeply connected with the source of all goodness, Hashem. Please join me in this adventure.

How did the Haftaras get started? During the time of King Antiochus Epiphanes from Greece he prohibited the Jews in Israel from reading from the Torah because he realized that the source of the Jewish peoples inspiration came from the learning of the Torah.

Jews substituted it from the Books of the prophets that had a similar theme.

This week's Haftara for Parashat Bereshit is read from the book of Isaiah Chapter 42 verse 5 until Chapter 43 until verse 10.

The story line of this weeks Haftara. The Haftara begins with the prophet Isaiah reminding us that the world to come is imminent Hashem will free the Jewish people from being in exile. Then Hashem will show the entire world that he is the true master. Then the Jews will be lead out of exile. It speaks of Hashem punishing Bnai Yisrael’s oppressors. Followed by a reproof to the Jews in exile. Isaiah continues to explain of Hashem’s intervention. We continue with the reprimand and assurance that Hashem is with us even in exile. Israel will then be degraded in exile and then redeemed by Hashem. Hashem will help us to survive the exile. Hashem promises that Bnai Yisrael will be gathered in from all parts of the world. Then the in gathering of the righteous Jews will start. The Haftara concludes with the proof that the Divine prophecies concerning the future will come true.

Haftorahman's lesson of the week: Hashem’s goodness is constant. It's man's choice, if he wants to bring himself closer to Hashem and to enjoy his goodness. The world to come promises to be a totally new society of brotherly love, peace and G-dliness. (In this Haftara, Hashem has put in writing that he has a gift that he wants to “hand” to us, Olam Habah, (the world to come) is that gift, he just wants us to get close enough to him to receive this gift of a perfect world. For the next year we will go on a journey to discover how the prophets brought themselves closer to Hashem.

Isaiah’s Biography:

  • Name means “Salvation of Hashem”
  • Wrote his own book, 66 chapters long
  • Father was a prophet named Amoz
  • Was from a royal family and had access to the Bait Hamikdash. ( The Holy Temple)
  • He was born in the year 765 b.c.e. (8th century) about 2760 years ago.
  • 25 years old when he had his first prophetic vision.
  • After Moses he was considered to be the greatest of all prophets.
  • 4 prophets lived in Isaiah’s time –Hosea, Amos, Michah and Isaiah.
  • Born circumcised
  • He survived 4 kings – Uzziah, Yotham ,Ahaz, Hezkiah
  • He lived 120 years
  • Isaiah said he saw a “vision” of Hashem’s throne.
  • He had one wife and two sons. His sons names were Maher Shlal Baz & Shear Yashuv.
  • He was killed by Menasheh the King of Judah.
  • He predicted Israel’s demise

Famous Pesukim from Isaiah - said on weekdays in the Amidah. Hasheeva shoftainu kevarishona v’yoatzenu kevatchelah . Hashem will restore the Judges as at the first and your counselors as at the beginning.

Timeline: This Haftara occurs about 2700 years ago before the 1st temple was destroyed.

Map: Isaiah prophesied in Jerusalem.

Connection to the Parshah: The similar core concept between the Parshah and Haftara is that at the beginning of the Parshah of Bereshit it speaks of Hashem creating the heaven and earth. The Haftara also begins with “So says Hashem, the Creator of heaven and earth.” While the weekly Torah portion focuses on the creation of the universe, the weekly Haftara portion focuses on the creation of the world to come.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel