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Matot Haftorah in a Nutshell

Matot Haftorah in a Nutshell

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Jeremiah 1:1-2:3.

This week's haftorah is the first of a series of three "haftorot of affliction." These three haftarot are read during the Three Weeks of mourning for Jerusalem, between the fasts of 17 Tammuz and 9 Av.

Jeremiah recounts how G‑d appointed him as prophet -- despite his initial reluctance to accept the task -- and tells of the encouragement G‑d gave him to fulfill his crucial mission.

He then describes two prophetic visions he was shown. The first featured an almond tree branch. G‑d explained to Jeremiah that just like an almond tree is very quick to blossom, so too G‑d will carry out his plan -- to punish the Jews for their sins -- in due haste.

The second vision was that of a boiling pot whose foam was directed northward. G‑d explained that this was an allusion to the afflictions the Jewish people would suffer at the hands of the people from the north of the Holy Land, namely Babylon. G‑d will cause the kingdoms of the north to lay siege on Jerusalem and Judea and He will pass judgment on the Jewish people due to their abandonment of G‑d's ways and their idol worship.

G‑d then encouraged Jeremiah to deliver the prophecy and not to fear the Jewish populace who would certainly not take kindly to such harsh words.

The haftorah ends with a reassuring prophecy to the people: "Go and call out in the ears of Jerusalem, saying: so said G‑d: 'I remember to you the loving-kindness of your youth, the love of your nuptials, your following Me in the desert, in a land not sown. Israel is holy to G‑d, the first of His grain; all who eat him shall be guilty, evil shall befall them, says G‑d.'"

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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