Reuben Ebrahimoff




The Haftorah for Parshat Bereshit

The Haftorah is read from the book of Yeshayahu(Isaiah), 42:5 – 43:10.

Isaiah the Prophet by Michelangelo

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: Parashat Bereishit speaks of Hashem creating the heaven and earth. The Haftorah also begins with “So says Hashem, the Creator of heaven and earth”. While the weekly Torah portion focuses on the creation of the universe, the weekly Haftorah portion focuses on the creation of the New World to come after the coming of the Mashiach (Messiah).

The storyline of this week’s Haftorah: Yeshayahu has a prophecy that G-d will show all mankind the truth in the future. The Mashiach will be a light unto the nations. Hashem has prepared Mashiach to free the Jewish people from exile and to show the entire world that Hashem is the true master. After the redemption, all humanity will sing Hashem’s praises. Hashem will punish Bnei Yisrael’s oppressors, for Bnei Yisroel endures much degradation in exile. Hashem promises that Bnei Yisroel will be gathered in from all parts of the world and be saved. The Haftorah concludes with reassurance that the Divine word is an absolute truth and will occur.


Isaiah the Prophet's Tomb


Yishayahu’s Biography:

  • The meaning of his name is “Salvation of G-d”. 
  • Born circumcised in the year 765 B.C.E. (8th century) about 2760 years ago to his father Amoz, also a prophet. They belonged to a royal family who had access to the Beit HaMikdash.
  • Received his first vision at age 25, and was considered the greatest of all prophets after Moses. He claimed to have seen the throne of G-d. He predicted Israel’s demise. Yeshayahu wrote his own lengthy (66 chapter) book.
  • Lived through the reigns of four different kings; Uzziah, Yotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah. Three other prophets were Yeshayahu’s contemporaries: Hosea, Amos, and Micah.
  • Lived 120 years, having two children with his only wife.
  • Was killed by Menashe, the King of Judah. Yeshayahu was hiding from Menashe, the King of Judah, in a tree, but as Menashe was passing by the tree, he spotted Yeshayahu’s tzitzit hanging out of the tree. Menashe then cut clean through the tree, killing Yeshayahu. Yeshayahu was killed cut through his mouth as a midah kineged midah, measure for measure, for speaking lashon hara about the nation of Israel.

The Seal of King Hezekiah who ruled during Yeshayahu’s time
From: The Yoav Sassoon Collection

Famous Phrases: Isaiah 1:26, “Hasheeva shoftainu kevarishona v’yoatzenu kevatchelah.” Hashem will restore the Judges as in earliest times and our counselors as in the beginning.” Said on weekdays in the Amidah.

Haftorahman's lesson of the week: It all started in the Garden of Eden and we were all born with perfect souls. However, we were put into a physical body that has physical desires which at times chooses to sin thereby distancing ourselves from Hashem.

There is a story about a Jewish woman who was chozer beteshuva (returning in observance). One Friday night, some friends from work invited her to go to a happy hour, something she often did before she became observant. She knew that happy hour coincided with Shabbat ‘s candle lighting. However, she could not help reminiscing about the past; she sometimes looked back on it with fondness for she did not have the same restrictions that she now did. So, she accepted the invitation, yet throughout the happy hour, she felt uncomfortable for she was not able to observe Shabbat while spending time with those friends.

When returning home, she realized that given the choice again, she would have chosen to stay home and keep Shabbat. She was finally able to differentiate between the person she used to be, someone empty of happiness, to the person she now was, thriving on Judaism and appreciating life. Her happy hour was when she lit the Shabbat candles, sang Shalom Aleichem (welcome), drank Kiddush, and said the blessings on the challah. Even though she knew that she had made the wrong choice, she was now determined to make the right ones. When you feel like you are making the wrong decision and that you are sinning, recognize the slip backwards in spirituality and use it as a springboard to do more mitzvot. A person is not a lost cause, even if they have hit spiritual bottom. We still have the power of spiritual choice and we can rise again. Never give up and always keep trying. 

Map: Yeshayahu’sprophecies took place in Jerusalem.

Timeline: The prophet Yeshayahu lived approximately 2700 years ago just before the destruction of the 1st temple.


From: Ephraim Waxman , Dor L’dor , Feldheim


Written by: Reuven Gavriel ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5773-2012