Weekly Haftorah

by Reuben Ebrahimoff -
The Haftorahman


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The Haftarah for Parashat Vayeira

From the Book of Kings 2, Chapter 4:1-37

Miracles can and do happen.

The story line: A poor widow complains to Elisha that she has no money to pay her debt to king Ahab. Her deceased husband was the prophet Obadiah minister to the King Ahab. He had spent all his money on oil for the lamps that lit the two caves that hid the last 100 prophets from the evil king Ahab and his, even more, evil wife Jezebel. Elisha asks the widow if she has anything of value, she replies, the only thing I have is this pitcher with only a drop of oil left in it. That was good enough for Elisha the Prophet. He requests that the widow bring as many empty pitchers as she can to him. Elisha causes the small amount of oil in her pitcher to fill many pitchers, a non stop flow of oil. By selling the oil she was able to repay her debt and still have money to live on. Elisha travels with his servant Gaichazi and along his travels he lodges in the home of a women in Shunem known for her hospitality. The Shunemite women and her husband showed Elisha great hospitality, and kindness, they gave him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp in a room of his own. She insured that he always had a place to sit and learn for when he came in to town. On Rosh Hashanah Elisha sends his servant to ask the women how he can repay her. She did not ask for anything. Elisha did not want to accept that, Gaichazi told him that she did not have any children of her own and her husband was old. Elisha called for her to come to him and he promised her "This time next year you will embrace a son." That time the following year she did have a son. A couple of years pass and the child is playing out in the field and is struck with a heat stroke. His mother comes running out into the field to hold her son as he dies in her arms. She takes her son to lie in Elisha's bed. The Shunamite woman travels to find Elisha to tell him of her tragedy. Elisha, with much compassion, sends Gaichazi to revive the child. Gaichazi's attempt at performing the miracle is unsuccessful. Elisha comes to Shunam to perform this great miracle himself, to revive the child. He puts his mouth on the child and says Hashem's name. The child sneezes seven times and awakens.

Elisha performed another great miracle.

The Connection of the Haftarah to the Parasha: just like Abraham and Sarah the Shunamite women and her husband were old and childless. In both cases Hashem miraculously granted them a child.

Haftorahman’s thought of the week. When a person tries to be a logical being they often become limited by the laws of logic, God is not limited by the laws of logic. When a person approaches a situation logically they get logical results based upon what's reasonable. What Abraham & Elisha understood is that they were connecting to God who could supersede logic, they realized the most important thing, not to rely just on the laws of logic. God's vocabulary doesn't contain the words, "can't" and "impossible." If Hashem wants a man who is one hundred years old to have child then it will be so. If Hashem wants a poor person to get rich, it can happen in a second. We all know the story but how many of us still say, "business is not good, I'll work harder ," instead of saying, "Hashem is the source of all blessings and I will pray to him for help." Next time choose faith over logic and see what happens.

Elite's Biography: Elisha lived about 2850 years ago. His name means "Hashem is salvation." Elisha was Eliyahu Hanavi's deceiple and successor. He traveled everywhere with him. Elisha came from a wealthy family he originally was a farmer and came from a town called Abelmehola in the Jordan Valley. Elisha was the head teacher of the school called Benai Hanneveim. Otherwise known as The Sons of the Prophets. There they learned the skills of prophecy. Elisha was anointed by Eliyahu as his successor and served as his assistant. Elisha's own lengthy ministry began when Eliyahu was taken to heaven by a fiery chariot and a whirlwind. Just before a fiery chariot appeared that would carry Eliyahu up to heaven, he asked Elisha what he would like from him, Elisha replied "Let me inherit a double share of your spirit." Eliyahu couldn't say for sure that G-d would grant the blessing so he gave Elisha a signal to know if he got the blessing. The signal was that his robe would drop down from the heavens and it did. Eliyahu performed eight miracles and one resurrection of the dead. His student Elisha performed sixteen miracles and two resurrections of the dead.

Realizing his own need of divine assistance, Elisha requested a double portion of Eliyahu's prophetic spirit.

Famous Phrases from The Book of Kings II 18:39. "Hashem who haElokim, Hashem who haElokim". The entire people saw and fell on their faces and said "Hashem - He is the G-d, Hashem - He is the G-d".

Timeline: This Haftorah occurs about 2720 years ago in the Jewish year 3040, before The first temple was destroyed.

Map: Shunem is a Northwestern City in Israel

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