The haftarah1 for parshat Bereishit is from the book of Isaiah. The Sefaradic and Chabad custom is to conclude at the end of chapter 22, while the Ashkenazic custom is to continue to chapter 23. The Lubavitcher Rebbe had a unique personal custom that his father-in-law, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, instructed him to follow, but not as a rule for the community. In a regular year, he would conclude at the end of chapter 22 and in a Jewish leap year, he would continue on to chapter 23.2 (I don't know the reason for this. If anyone does, please share it in the comments section below.) I will be using both chapters as the basis of this essay.

There are several reasons we read this haftarah on shabbat parshat Bereishit.

First, because it starts with, “So says the Almighty G‑d, who created Heavens ... who laid out the earth...”3 which is similar to our parshah, which speaks of the creation of the heavens and the earth. However, if this were the only reason, we would stop after the first verse. There has to be more.

We must look deeper. The haftarah shares with us the reason for creation. The haftarah is all about Moshiach. It speaks about learning Torah, doing mitzvahs, “G‑d wants ... him to make Torah great and to strengthen it.”4 It also speaks about the Jewish people, how the world will realize that the Jewish way of life is the correct approach and G‑d's disappointment with us Jews for not doing our job well. Despite all that, He also reminds us that he is always with us, through all the hardships, saying, “You are My witnesses ... My servant I have chosen.”5

What is the connection between all these things: creation, Moshiach, Torah, mitzvahs and the Jewish people?

The reason why G‑d created this world is because He has a divine desire to dwell openly in this world. This is only possible through our efforts in learning Torah and doing mitzvot. This is what the Jewish mission is all about. We were not just chosen because of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Rather, we are part of G‑d's plan from the very beginning.

We were not just chosen because of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Rather, we are part of G‑d's plan from the very beginning.

G‑d created an unfinished world, and made us His partners in creation, to complete it of our own free will.

G‑d gave us special souls that are actually a part of Him. These souls are what enables us to bring out the potential hidden in creation.

He gave us Torah and mitzvot, with which to accomplish this mission. Every mitzvah is done with physical objects, in a specific time and place. When you do a mitzvah, you transform the physical into holiness. Even when doing everyday activities, like working, eating, exercising, etc., if you are doing them to support your life of Torah, they too become holy and transformative actions.

When our work is done, the purpose of creation will be realized, the world will be an open dwelling for G‑d and by definition, Moshiach will be here.

Now you can see that everything has a purpose and how it all fits together. The world, the Torah, and the Jewish people, are parts of a puzzle. Together, they complete G‑d's desire which is the coming of Moshiach.

This is why we read this on shabbat Bereishit, because as we start the Torah from the beginning, its purpose must be made clear.

May we soon see the prophecies in this haftarah come true. May we witness the culmination of our transformative work, G‑d's open revelation with the coming of Moshiach. May it happen soon.