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Parshat Zachor Haftorah in a Nutshell

Parshat Zachor Haftorah in a Nutshell

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I Samuel 15:2-34.

This week's special haftorah discusses G‑d's command to destroy the people of Amalek. This to avenge Amalek's unprovoked attack on the Israelites that is described in the Zachor Torah reading.

Samuel conveys to King Saul G‑d's command to wage battle against the Amalekites, and to leave no survivors—neither human nor beast. Saul mobilizes the Israelite military and attacks Amalek. They kill the entire population with the exception of the king, Agag, and they also spare the best of the cattle and sheep.

G‑d reveals Himself to Samuel. "I regret that I have made Saul king," G‑d says. "For he has turned back from following Me, and he has not fulfilled My words."

The next morning Samuel travels to Saul and confronts him. Saul defends himself, saying that the cattle was spared to be used as sacrificial offerings for G‑d. Samuel responds: "Does G‑d have as great a delight in burnt offerings and peace-offerings, as in obeying the voice of G‑d? Behold, to obey is better than a peace-offering; to hearken, than the fat of rams. . . . Since you rejected the word of G‑d, He has rejected you from being a king."

Saul admits his wrongdoing and and invites the prophet to join him on his return home. Samuel refuses his offer. "The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you, today; and has given it to your fellow who is better than you." Samuel then kills the Amalekite king.

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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