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Shemot Haftorah in a Nutshell

Shemot Haftorah in a Nutshell

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Isaiah 27:6–28:13; 29:22–23.

This week’s haftorah parallels the week’s Torah reading on many levels. One of the parallels is the message of redemption conveyed by Isaiah—“and you shall be gathered one by one, O children of Israel”—that is reminiscent of the message of redemption that G‑d spoke to Moses at the burning bush, a message that Moses then communicated to Pharaoh.

The haftorah vacillates between Isaiah’s prophecies concerning the future redemption, and his admonitions concerning the Jews’ drunken and G‑dless behavior. Isaiah starts on a positive note: “In the coming days, Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom, filling the face of the earth . . .” He mentions G‑d’s mercy for His nation, and the measure-for-measure punishment He meted out upon the Egyptians who persecuted them. And regarding the future redemption: “You shall be gathered one by one, O children of Israel. And it will come to pass on that day that a great shofar will be sounded, and those lost in the land of Assyria and those exiled in the land of Egypt will come, and they will prostrate themselves before the L‑rd on the holy mount in Jerusalem."

The prophet then proceeds to berate the drunkenness of the Ten Tribes, warning them of the punishment that awaits them. “With the feet they shall be trampled, the crown of the pride of the drunkards of Ephraim . . .”

The haftorah ends on a positive note: “Now Jacob will no longer be ashamed, and now his face will not pale. For when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, who shall sanctify My name . . . and the G‑d of Israel they will revere."

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 December 21, 2013

Specifics A good lesson for those new to the faith like me is that if the specifics don't line up within the text of the Tanakh, abstain from making assumptions that are related to your own life that integrate anything from the Tanakh into your personal experience, creating delusional thoughts that can make a person's (your's or another's) life more difficult to live, and take most information in the Tanakh as literally as possible. I'm sure that some Rabbi's will disagree with this statement, but it keeps me humble. I have a great capacity to create entertainment through storytelling, but when it comes to the Tanakh, I don't treat it like literature. To me, the Tanakh is a legal document of G-d. I am not fully comfortable with analyzing it, yet, in ways that are not literal (since I'm not a Rabbi, nor am I a critic of G-d). I may get angry every once in a while; however, creativity can save my sanity and I must be careful not to get religious in my creativity, and I know truth won't change. Reply

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