"The young lions will roar against it and will give voice; they will lay waste to its land ... Even the people of Nof and Tachpanches will break your skull!"(Jeremiah 2:15)
This haftorah continues the theme of last week's reading--the prophet delivers ominous tidings of the impending destruction. Here he states that even the people of Nof and Tachpanches will take part in the carnage. Why is this significant?
Malbim notes that Nof and Tachpanches were cities of Egypt, the nation with which Israel had long maintained an alliance. The Egyptians were pledged to come to Israel's assistance any time that the Jews would be threatened by the armies of a foreign empire.
Yet at the time of the destruction, Egypt itself actively assisted Israel's enemies. And in the ensuing passage the prophet himself comments on this phenomenon. He continues, "Is it not that you have forsaken Hashem your Lord, when he attempted to lead you on the true path, that has brought this upon you?"
The Jews forged alliances with their neighbors and felt secure. They forgot about Hashem. But in due time they were shown the real nature of Egypt's "friendship."
We've learned this lesson only too often in our history. The true strength of the Jewish nation is found within our own heritage and our own teachings. We do ourselves no good when we try to cash these in and replace them with substitutes.
Copyright (c) 1997 by Rabbi Levi Langer
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