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The Haftarah for The First Day of Shavuot 5762
This weeks Haftorah primarily deals with the Prophet Ezekiel's Vision of the Ma'aseh Hamerkavah - The Vision of the Heavenly Chariot
This weeks Haftorah is read from The Book of Yehezkel 1:1-28, 3:12
The Connection between the Holiday of Shavuot and the Haftorah: The Haftorah is read on Shavuot because of its connection to the revelation experienced by the Jews at Matan Torah or the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. At that time the entire nation of Israel had a direct experience of the "Shechina" or Hashem's presence. Similarly Ezekiel's Vision was a direct experience of Hashem's presence.
Historical Background:King Nebuchadnezzar exiled the Jews to Bavel in a three-step process. During the second phase of exile from Eretz Yisrael, which took place 11 years before the destruction of the Bait Hamikdash during the reign of King Yehoyachin many Jews were exiled including the prophet Ezekiel. Many Jews felt distressed that Hashem had abandoned them. Ezekiel prayed on behalf of the exiled Jews for Hashem to have pity on them. Hashem responded by saying that "He" is with us. His vision of the Heavenly Chariot is one of the most mysterious prophecies in Tanach. Upon hearing this prophecy Bnai Yisrael became convinced that Hashem would be with them during their exile.
The Outline of our Haftorah: 1:1-3 The Time and Place of Ezekiel's Prophecy. Ezekiel's Vision took place approximately 11 years before the destruction of the 1st Bait Hamikdash. He prophesied while in exile in Bavel by the river K'var (possibly the Euphrates River). 1:4-14. The Vision of the Chayos or Angels. The Prophet describes the Angels faces wings and legs. 1:15-21 The Vision of the Ofanim - Angels. 1:22 The Rakiya or Sky Above the Chayos. Its brilliance and brightness 1:23-25 A detailed description of the Chayos' wings 1:26-28 The Exalted vision of the Heavenly Throne. 3:12 The Angels' Praise of Hashem.
The Biography of Ezekiel: Ezekiel name means "Hashem strengthens" or may Hashem strengthen. He was a Kohen. He was born in the village of Anatot surrounding Jerusalem. His wife died suddenly before his prophecies began. Ezekiel was a part of the 8000 exiles in 597 b.c.e. to go to Babylon. His prophecies continue for 30 years, several of the prophecies are date, month and year specific. He was the only person in the Tanach (Bible) to be called "Ben Adam" The son of man.
The Book of Ezekiel:
Some interesting parts of the Book of Ezekiel are: The Book of Ezekiel begins with the prophet's vision of the Ma'aseh Hamerkavah (The Throne of Hashem) lifting itself up from the Bais Hamikdash. 2nd there is the story of the Valley of the Dry bones and their resurrection. 3rd We have the description of the 3rd Temple to be built in the messianic period.Famous phrases: Ezekiel 3:12 "Vatesaeni ruach Vaeshma kol ra'ash Gadol". And a spirit lifted me and I heard a great sound. Found in The Book of Ezekiel and included in the "U-Vah Le’Tzion” Prayer on Shabbat.
Timeline: This Haftorah occurred about 2600 years ago.
Map: This Haftorah took place in Bavel (Babylonia). Ezekiel was one of the only prophets to experience prophecies outside of the Land of Israel.
Written by: The Haftorahman - Reuven Gavriel ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5762-2002
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