|August 24, 2012 / 6 Elul, 5772
Isaiah 51:12 - 52:12
Sometimes the haftarah is linked to the Torah portion by theme. For example, Parshat Hayye Sarah narrates the concern for succession when Abraham is in his dotage and the haftarah narrates David’s identical concern. Sometimes the haftarah connects with the Torah portion by virtue of an expression. For instance, the haftarah for Parshat Noah consists of a part of Isaiah’s vision of a restored Zion that includes an oblique reference to the "waters of Noah" (Isaiah 54:9). This week’s haftarah, the fourth of the seven haftarot of consolation, is linked to the Torah portion by means of a grammatical construct.
Biblical Hebrew knows several ways of emphasis. Repetition of words is one of them. That Abraham’s descendants will be exceedingly numerous (Genesis 17:2) is emphasized by the repetition of the word "me’od" (very). Similarly, the enormous size of the army described by the prophet Ezekiel(37:10) is signified both with the word "great" (gadol) as well as with the repetition of the word "very." The same pattern enters Modern Hebrew with the idiom for "slowly" being the repetition of the word "l’at."
To emphasize the importance of justice as a principle that ought to infuse Israelite society, the word "justice" (tzedek) is repeated as the goal that ought to be vigorously pursued (Deuteronomy 16:20). While many interpreters have suggested other meanings for the repetition (pursue justice justly or pursue only justice being but two examples) the doubling for emphasis cannot be ignored or dismissed. In his Torah commentary, Rabbi Dr. J. H. Hertz (p. 820) takes the call to justice to be "the keynote of the human legislation of the Torah." This brings us to the haftarah.
It is no accident that the opening words of the haftarah are repeated: anokhi anokhi, "I, even I." The doubling serves two purposes. First, in the prophetic text it emphasizes that God and only God is the source and guarantor of our comfort. It is God alone who has the power and the interest to intervene in human history on behalf of His people. Second, it immediately calls to mind the central theme of the Torah portion as intimated by the doubling of the word "tzedek." It is this second purpose that serves to connect the Torah portion with the haftarah. By hearing the words "anokhi anokhi" the listener is immediately signaled to recall "tzedek tzedek." So as much as the haftarah brings a message of consolation, it simultaneously reinforces the vital call to justice.
This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Wayne Allen, Ph.D. Rabbi Allen has served as a congregational rabbi for 35 years, taking on postings in New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto. He is currently serving as the Provost of the Canadian Yeshiva and Rabbinical School. He is the author of Perspectives on Jewish Law and Contemporary Issues, Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Israel, e-mail: Books@schechter.ac.il.
Visit Rabbi Allen's website for more commentaries and information: rabbiwayneallen.ca
Rabbi Allen is an editorial board member, The Unraveller.
The Canadian Yeshiva and Rabbinical School, a partner in the Toronto School of Theology and the University of Toronto, offers exceptional courses for adults as part of its continuing education program. Operating under the principle of "serious teachers for serious students," the Canadian Yeshiva is committed to expanding its offerings on campus and across the Greater Toronto Area. Classes are co-educational and open to adults of all ages. Faculty members cross denominational boundaries: all dedicated to teaching Torah guided by the highest academic standards. For further information, please consult the website: www.cdnyeshiva.org/
Leadership - Innovation - Community
|Understanding the Haftarot:|
An Everyperson's Guide
In this stimulating and unusual book Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of FJMC, provides the reader with the context to understand how the haftarot were organized, why they might have been selected and suggests reasons for finding meaning and value.
You can purchase it a number of ways.
Intermarriage: Concepts & Strategies for Families and Synagogue Leaders
If family members and community leaders wish to become engaged in the process of Keruv they often need to ask, "Does Keruv have an ideology and theology? And if so what is it?" Then they need to learn how to respond to intermarriage from the perspective of both gender and religion. This publication reflects the most current thinking about intermarriage to date and attempts to provide family members and community leaders with the needed understanding to effectively work with intermarrieds or potential intermarrieds.
You can purchase it a number of ways:
|It's time for Build-A-Pair
The best way to teach about tefillin!
The "Build a Pair" Program is a comprehensive and fun learning program to introduce 5th, 6th or 7th graders to the joy and mitzvah of Tefillin in Jewish life.
Multiple components interplay to explore the religious significance, the construction of, and the practice of "laying" Tefillin.
A comprehensive education program with videos helps the religious school teach students the meaning of Tefillin in Jewish life and practice.
Students practice writing their Hebrew/Jewish names and the SHEMA (first line) to insert into pre-made wooden Tefillin boxes.
Students decorate the boxes in any creative way they wish, allowing for personal expression.
Students either compete or cooperate in writing a "wRAP" song to sing at a Big Event.
The Big Event can be the World Wide Wrap (WWW), sponsored by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (FJMC), held annually on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. The WWW program is designed to introduce and re-introduce Jewish men [and women] to the significance of "laying" Tefillin.
The "Build a Pair" student program attracts the parents to see their children in their model Tefillin sing the "wRap" songs, allowing two generations (or more!) to join in the mitzvah together, and to let the students' sing their "wRAP" song for an appreciative audience.
World Wide Wrap is Sunday, February 3, 2013
The Bar Mitzvah Wrap!
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Contact FJMC Sponsorship Chairman Tom Sudow
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