Reuben Ebrahimoff




The Haftorah for Parshat Bamidbar

The Jewish Nation Has Sinned and Is like a Disloyal Wife to Hashem

The Haftorah is read from the book of Hosea 2:1-22, which is the first prophet in the book of Trai Assar (The Twelve Prophets)

Portion of the book of Hosea from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: In the Haftorah, the prophet Hosea predicts that the population of Israel will grow like the sands of the ocean. In the Parsha, torah reading, we hear about the many Jews that traveled in the Sinai Desert to the Holy Land.  So the connection is that both Haftorah’s and Parsha’s usage of the word sand, and its being uncountable. Since the time of Abraham, the Jewish people have been promised that they will multiply like the sands of the earth.

The storyline of this week's Haftorah: The Prophet Hosea predicts that in the future Messianic period, the Jewish people will enjoy Hashem’s blessing of growth, unity, and redemption. The Haftorah begins with a promise that there will be so many Israelites that you won’t be able to count them. Instead of being called Lo-Ami, “Not My People”, we will be called “Bnai-el-Chai”, the children of the living G-d. A gathering of the exiles will occur. Both the people from the ten lost tribes of Israel (Northern tribes) and the 2 southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin will reunite and appoint one leader, the Mashiach or Messiah. Hosea then speaks of a disloyal “wife” that will return remorsefully. The “wife” is an allegory for the disloyal nation of Israel. The Haftorah ends with the promise that Hashem will take Israel for himself in love, righteousness and faith for all time. (See famous phrases). 

The Tomb of the Prophet Hosea Ben Be’eri – Sefat, Israel

Hosea’s Biography:

  • The meaning of his name is “salvation”.
  • His father’s name was Be’eri Hanavi (The Prophet), from the tribe of Reuven. He lived in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, where his prophecies took place.
  • His prophetic period lasted 90 years.
  • He was a prophet during four Judean Kings reins: Uzi~yahoo, Yotam , Achaz, Ye’chizki~yahoo.
  • Hosea’s prophecies took place from 760-720 B.C.E., about 2700 years ago, while King Solomon’s Temple was still standing in Jerusalem and before the 1st exile, of the 10 northern tribes by Sancherev, King of Assyria. He told Hashem “If you don’t like the way the Jews are behaving, choose another people”. Hashem didn’t like that and told him to marry Gomer, a woman who he loved and was unfaithful to him. Gomer was from Diblaim. Before Hosea was married to her, he was a harlot. They had 3 children, 1 daughter Lo-Ruhama, Object-of-no-mercy, because Hashem had decided to no longer be merciful with the Jews who refused to repent. And two sons: Lo-ami, Not-my-people, because the Jews had forfeited their claim to being the Hashem's "Chosen People", and Jezre’el, The-G-d-of-powerful-mercy-will-plant or Hashem-will-gather-in-the-exiled-Jews-and-plant-them-in-their-homeland.  Hashem instructed Hosea to send his family away. Hosea couldn’t stand it.
  • Hosea’s contemporaries were the prophets Isaiah, Amos and Micah. Hosea was the greatest of them, the first of the four to experience prophecies. For 40 years Hashem warned the Jewish people through Hosea. His prophecies took place in the time of the first Bait Hamikdash. Hashem spoke to him once.
  • Hosea died in Babylon.   Hosea desired to be buried in the Holy Land at that time when the journey to Palestine was beset with much peril.  Thus, He requested before his death, that his coffin be loaded on a camel and for the camel to make his way as he would. Where ever he stopped, there Hosea was to be buried. So it was done without a single mishap. The camel arrived in Sefat at the Jewish cemetery of the town. The camel stood still and there Hosea was buried in the presence of a large crowd.

Mountain landscape with river valley and the prophet Hosea
CONINXLOO, Gillis van
Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp

Famous Phrases: Hosea 2:21-22:  “V’ayrashtich lee leolam, v’ayrashtich lee b’tzedek u’vemishpat u’vechessed u’v’rachamim. V’ayrashtich lee b’emunah, v’yada’atah et Hashem.” “And I will betroth you to me forever, and I will betroth you to me with righteousness and with justice, benevolence and mercy. And I will betroth you with me with faith, and you will know Hashem.”

The Prophet Hosea & King Hezekiah were alive at the same time

Haftorahman’s lesson of the week: Hashem told Hosea that Israel had sinned. Hosea replied,” All the world is yours.  If the Jews are unworthy, exchange them for another nation”. Hashem responded by commanding Hosea to marry a harlot and have children with her, even though he knew she was unfaithful.  Hosea and Gomer had three children. Then after they had their kids, Hashem ordered Hosea to send his family away. Hashem then said: “Your wife is a harlot whose children may or may not even be yours, but the fruits of adultery. Yet you say that you cannot abandon them. The Nation of Israel is the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. – How dare you say that I should exchange them for another nation? Only now could Hosea understand how badly he had spoken about Hashem’s children. Hosea goes on to speak of Israel as if it was a disloyal wife to Hashem. However, Hosea claims that the Jewish people can turn things around and reclaim Hashem's love. Then the names of the children of Israel will change and become Ami, My People, and Ruhama, Object of Mercy. We in some ways can control our destiny by being faithful to Hashem.

King Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem

Map: The Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Timeline: Hosea lived about 2600 years ago in the Jewish year 3130.


Timeline: Ephraim Waxman, Dor L’Dor, Feldheim


Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5770-2010