Hebraic Studies - Haftarah Eikev

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Haftarah for Eikev

 

On this site I will mostly use a version based on the “Jewish Publication Society” Tanakh (JPS).

 

With Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham

 

Please Note: On this page I will show the four letter blessed *“Memorial Name” of the Almighty in Ivrit -  - Y-H-V-H, which we usually pronounce as “Adonai” or “HaShem”. At all times treat the most blessed Name with sanctity and when we even see the Name, we should say “blessed be His Sanctified Name.”

 

*This is My Name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.” Shemoth - Exodus 3:15.

 

 

The Torah Reading this Shabbat is; Davarim - Deuteronomy 7:12 to 11:25.

 

The Haftarah reading is; Yeshayahu - Isaiah 49:14 to 51:3.

Thoughts on Haftarah Eikev:

“But Zion said: ‘ hath forsaken me, and  hath forgotten me’”. Yeshayahu - Isaiah 49:14. (JPS).

This sad lament opens the second of seven haftarot of consolation, marking the seven weeks (and seven Shabbatot ) between Tisha-B’Av and Rosh Hashanah. Although the first verse offers little consolation, the rest of the haftarah responds to this sad statement with far more positive and hopeful promises of the future redemption.

Yeshayahu lived during the exile of the Israelites in Babylon, after the destruction of the First Hekal (Temple), thus his writings are somewhat reflective regarding this, and he fluctuates between hope and despair.

Much of Haftarat Eikev consists of vivid, expressive, and extensive metaphors expressing the relationship between Elohim and the Israelites.

“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?” Yeshayah asks in chapter 49 verse 15, really speaking to the very point that Elohim could never forget the Children of Israel.

Yeshayahu continues to use metaphors of children in describing how the nations of the world will bring the exiles back to the Land of Israel:

“Thus saith  Elohim: Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations, and set up Mine ensign to the peoples, and they shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders” Yeshayahu - Isaiah 49:22.

He then goes through many phases of marital metaphors, from a couple on the verge of divorce to a couple luxuriating in the nest of their nuptial bed, making Yeshayahu’s point very clear: The Jewish people and Elohim are like two people in a very intense relationship.

This sense of intensity is strengthened when, in the middle of the haftarah, Yeshayahu uncharacteristically switches to a first-person perspective, describing his own personal relationship with Elohim as he states;

Elohim hath given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I should know how to sustain with words him that is weary; He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as they that are taught” Yeshayahu - Isaiah 50:4.

Yeshayahu then describes how being a prophet has made him suffer because his listeners sadly do not always appreciate the message he has to deliver “I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Yeshayahu 50:6), but Yeshayahu is confident that Elohim is on his side, “Behold,  Elohim will help me” (Yeshayahu - Isaiah 50:9).

Switching back to his usual prophetic stance in the final verses of the haftarah, Yeshayahu returns to the image of Elohim and the Jewish people as two companions who’ve been through a rough history, have reconciled, and are now prepared to face the future together.

“For  hath comforted Zion; He hath comforted all her waste places (ruins)”. Yeshayahu - Isaiah 51:3.

Yeshayahu preaches, and concludes with a promise of an impending joy in Zion:

“…joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (the sound of music)” Yeshayahu - Isaiah 51:3.

Wishing you and your Mishpachah or Mesbucha (family) “Shabbat Shalom”, may the Peace of the Almighty fill you, your family and your home!

Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.

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Please Note: On this page I will show the four letter blessed *“Memorial Name” of the Almighty in Ivrit -  - Y-H-V-H, which we usually pronounce as “Adonai” or “HaShem”. At all times treat the most blessed Name with sanctity and when we even see the Name, we should say “blessed be His Sanctified Name.”

 

*This is My Name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.” Shemoth - Exodus 3:15.

 

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