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The Haftorah for Parashat Toldot
The prophet Malachi reproves the Jewish nation for disrespect to the Beth Hamikdash. (The Holy Temple) taken from the
Book of Malachi, Chapter 1:1 - 2:7
The Story line: 1:1-5 This week's Haftara begins with the Prophet Malachi bringing to our attention that Hashem loves Yakov (Jacob) and hates Aisav (his brother) and his descendants. 1:6-10 The Kohanim (priests) despise the Temple service, and are told off for their unacceptable behavior. Being Jewish should be perceived as an opportunity and not a burden. 1:11,12 The Kohanim honor Hashem even less than the Gentile Nations. 1:13,14 Hashem's criticisms of Bnei Yisrael for bringing the unacceptable animals to the Beth Hamikdash. 2:1-3 The punishment for disrespecting Hashem's honor. 2:4-7 The proper role of the Kohen. Aharon's qualities and the image of the ideal Kohen.
The Connection between the Parashat and the Haftara is: in the Haftara we read a sentence that says "A son honors his father, but where is my honor?" Hashem expected the nation of Edom (a descendant of Aisav, Jacob's brother and Isaac's son) to be dishonorable. The Prophet Malachi is saying that Hashem never expected it from the Jewish people. In this week's Torah reading we see how Aisav would try to pose as a descent person to his father Isaac, while actually being an evil person. Hashem can see right through that.
The Hataraman's lesson of the week. This is a classic case of mistaken self-identity". We must remember who we are. Sometimes people try to make us forget who we are and they are pressuring us to behave in a way that we normally wouldn't. We have to remember not to "take things for granted". Hashem is the one who grants us out blessings and we must remember that although we have a privileged relationship with him, we cannot just take things from him. We have to earn them. When Hashem asks us to do something, do we do it our way? Or do we do it the way he asked us?
Malachi's Biography: Malachi lived during the early years of the 2nd Bait Hamikdash. Socrates and Plato also lived at that time. King Achachverosh and queen Esther's son, Dariush was the reigning king. He lived in the century after the first Jews returned from the Babylonian exile when 50,000 Jews returned to Jerusalem. They immediately started rebuilding the foundation for the 2nd Beth Hamikdash. The Prophets, Zecharia and Chaggai also encouraged the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. The Temple was completed in 520 B.C.E. (About 2500 years ago.) Malachi's book contains 4 chapters. It is the final Book of the "Trey Assar" (The twelve Prophets) The meaning of the name Malachi is " My messenger". He was born and prophesized in Jerusalem during the 5th century B.C.E. At the time, the Temple service was not observed properly. The Kohanim (priests) were remiss of their duties. They offered animals that were blemished, lame and sick. People were indifferent to or skeptical of religion. Men freely divorced their wives and then intermarried. Overall, people's morals were lax. Adultery, perjury and oppression of widows were all too common. Like Mordechai, Malachi was one of the 120 Men of the Great Assembly, who authored almost every blessing we make including the Amidah or Shemonah Esray.
Famous Phrases from the Book of Malachi, from chapter 3:4. Said right before Kaddish. "V'arvah la Hashem minchat yedudah v'yerushalaim keyemai olam uschshanim Kadmaniyot" Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to Hashem as in the days of old and previous years.
Timeline: approximately 3390 on the Jewish calendar, about 2370 years ago.
Map: Malachi the prophet lived in Jerusalem.
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As told by: Reuven Gavriel ben Nissim Ebrahimoff
Written by: The Haftorahman - Reuven Gavriel ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5762-2002
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