August 3, 2011
(The "Vision" of Isaiah). Read on the Shabbat before Tisha Be'av (the Ninth of the month of Av) which is the anniversary of the destruction of both the 1st and 2nd Temples.
The Haftarah is read from Yeshayahu (Isaiah) Chapter 1:1-27
The Storyline of this week's Haftarah: Introduction: Isaiah was the son of Amoz, and prophecised about the sad state of the State of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. His prophetic period lasted through the reigns of four kings. King Uzziah also known as Azzaria, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezkiah. Isaiah begins his book by questioning why the Jews don't recognize G-d as their master, when even an ox recognizes his master. Israel's sin of rebelling has left them badly beaten. Don't they understand that G-d is punishing them for their sins. G-d appeals to the Jewish people to do repentance. They should stop with all their "un-kosher" sacrifices and worthless worshipping. G-d tells us that we should learn to do good, seek justice, and support the oppressed. We should demand justice for the orphans and plead the cause of the widow. G-d says "Do Repentance", If you are bad become good. If you become good you will be much happier. G-d warns that the city! of Jerusalem has deteriorated to the point that G-d will have to purify it by burning it, similar to when gold is purified, you heat it up and then refine it. Afterwards Mount Zion will be redeemed through justice and those who repent there will benefit from their righteousness.
The connection between this week's Parasha and the Haftara: This Haftarah is the third Shabbat of the Telasa D'phuranusa, Aramaic for "The Three weeks of Tribulation" before Tisha Be'av. In it are the prophecies of the suffering that will take place to the Israelites because of their sins and the forthcoming destruction of the Bait Hamikdash, Holy Temple and the City of Jerusalem because of their sins.
Lesson of the week: Think about this, if somehow a group of you were mistakenly locked up in jail for a long time you couldn't get out and someone came and bailed you all out, how would you feel about that person? Then if that person brought you all to his mansion on an estate, and said "I am going to leave you here, alone, to live as you please, just follow these house rules". Then our host finds out that not only have we not listened to his directions, we have done some really bad damage to his property. He looks closer only to find that while we were there we spoke nastily to each other, we hurt other people's reputations and finances not to mention their feelings. The owner of the house says "Hey! Wait a minute! I don't understand something, I took you out of jail and I put you into a beautiful house, all I asked of you is to treat this place as you would your own. But what do you do? You destroyed it. You won't even stop when I reprimand you and even threaten to throw you off the premises. So you have left me with no other option but to take action and physically remove you from my place. You have run it down and I will have to tear my house down to the ground and rebuild it. This is the story of Tisha Be'av. How many times do we need to be reminded and reprimanded before we understand what our role as good Jews is supposed to be. How many places do we have to get thrown out of before we get the message?
Timeline: Isaiah prophecised about 2600 years ago. We had the Land of Israel. Our capital city was Jerusalem. The Holy Temple built by King David's son, King Solomon was about to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon. We were still ruled by a King . The Kohanim (Priests ) worshiped and served in the Holy Temple. Men and women had prophetic ability. The nation of Israel still had the potential to observe the 613 mitzvot (commandments).
Location: Isaiah prophecised in Jerusalem
The Haftorahman - Reuven Gavriel ben Nissim Ebrahimoff