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Shoftim Haftorah in a Nutshell

Shoftim Haftorah in a Nutshell

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Isaiah 51:12-52:12

This week's haftorah is the fourth of a series of seven "Haftarot of Consolation." These seven haftarot commence on the Shabbat following Tisha b'Av and continue until Rosh Hashanah.

The haftorahs of the past two weeks open with Israel's complaint that they have been abandoned by G‑d. Israel is not content with consolations offered by the prophets -- instead they demand that G‑d alone comfort them. In response, this week's haftorah begins with G‑d's response: "I, indeed I, will comfort you."

After briefly reprimanding Israel for forgetting their Creator for fear of human and finite oppressors, the prophet describes the suffering and tribulations which Israel has endured. However, the time has arrived for the suffering to end. The time has come for Israel's oppressors to drink the "cup of suffering" which they had hitherto forced Israel to drink: "Awaken, awaken, put on your strength, O Zion; put on the garments of your beauty, Jerusalem the Holy City, for no longer shall the uncircumcised or the unclean continue to enter you. Shake yourselves from the dust, arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; free yourself of the bands of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion."

Isaiah extols the beauty of the messenger who will announce the good tidings of Redemption. "Burst out in song, sing together, O ruins of Jerusalem, for the L-rd has consoled His people; He has redeemed Jerusalem."

The haftorah ends by highlighting the difference between the Egyptian Exodus, when the Israelites hurried out of their exile and bondage, and the future Redemption: "For not with haste shall you go forth and not in a flurry of flight shall you go, for the L-rd goes before you, and your rear guard is the G‑d of Israel."

This is a synopsis of the Haftorah that is read in Chabad synagogues. Other communities could possibly read more, less, or a different section of the Prophets altogether. Additionally, specific calendrical conditions can cause another Haftorah to be read instead of this one.
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Anonymous August 19, 2014

These summaries are great! Thank you so much for posting them! Reply

virginia farmington hills, mi August 14, 2010

mitch We are all asked "to do justice, to love mercy and walk humbly with our God"" Reply

Menachem Mendel Yaacov Anchorage, AK July 15, 2010

Yes, Virginia But Portia's words were a rebuke of Shylock the Jew.

From another Mitch. Mitchel Schapira (Menachem Mendel Yaacov) Reply

virginia m. mitchell Farmington Hills, MI August 22, 2009

comfort Last night I forgot "the Creator for fear of human and finite oppressors." I cried out to God cursing my enemies. Then a gentle rain began to fall. I remembered Portia's words "The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the earth below." Reply

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