Reuben Ebrahimoff




The Haftorah for Parshat Lech Lecha

Encouragement of the Jewish People in (the Babylonian) Exile

The Haftorah is read from the book of Yishayahu (Isaiah), 40:27-41:16

If you’re wondering what Abraham looked like …see the man on the right with his hands over his heart praying….

Extract from the Standard of Ur… Lyre Player and Singer, Ur 4750 BC. (?) 
Scene showing The Bull Lyre being played.

Box Made from Lapis Lazuli inlayed with mother of pearl

(Discovered in Ur 1929). British Museum London

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: In this weeks Torah Parsha (Portion) of Lech-Lecha, Hashem says to Abr(ah)am “Go For Yourself” to the land I will show you - Israel. The Connection to Haftorah is twofold, the Haftarah in Passuk 41:8 reefers to Israel as the “Seed of Abraham”. The second connection is that both Abraham & the Jews in the Babylonian Exile are reassured that they will go to their homeland the land of Israel.

A Cuneiform tablet from the time of Abraham from the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection
Photographed by: Ardon Bar Hama

The storyline of this week’s Haftorah: The prophet Yishayahu (Isaiah) comforts the nation of Israel by reassuring them that they will survive the sufferings that will be experienced while in exile. They are comforted by the thought that Hashem is a wise planner. Hashem will conduct a trial of all the nations and Hashem will act as the judge. Yishayahu explains to Bnei Yisra’el the lesson learned from Avraham’s (Abraham) life, that all the nations knew of Hashem for Avraham publicized His name.  The Haftorah concludes with Yishayahu’s promise that B’nai Yisroel will ultimately overcome and outlive their enemies.

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 Bait 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. Yishayahu wrote his own lengthy (66 chapter) book.
  • Lived through the reigns of four different kings; Uzziah, Yotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah. Three other prophets were Yishayahu’s contemporaries: Hosea, Amos, and Micah.
  • Lived 120 years, having two children with his only wife.
  • Was killed by Menashe, the King of Judah. Yishayahu was hiding from Menashe, the King of Judah, in a tree, but as Menashe was passing by the tree, he spotted Yishayahu’s tzitzit hanging out of the tree. Menashe then cut clean through the tree, killing Yishayahu. Yishayahu was killed through his mouth as a midah kineged midah, measure for measure, for speaking lashon ha’ra about the nation of Israel.

Isaiah’s Tomb

Famous Phrases: Isaiah 6:3, (And the angels said) “Kadosh kadosh kadosh Hashem Tzivakos, milo chol ha’aretz k’vodo” Holy, Holy, Holy is Hashem, Master of legion; the whole world is filled with his glory.” The Holy Temple would shake up and down when the angels said this sentence. This is one of the reasons why we go up on our tiptoes at Kedusha, to imitate the shaking of the Bait Hamikdash.

Haftorahman’s lesson of the week: From time to time many of us may experience feeling “spiritually” disappointed. Usually this occurs when our expectations from Hashem have not been met.  It may be normal for a person to distance himself or herself from Hashem. But wait, if Hashem is the source of all blessing, then why is it that when we feel abandoned, we abandon Hashem? We should reach towards Hashem for what we want, and that is to feel connected to Hashem. If Hashem does not provide exactly what we are looking for, then it is not because He isn’t listening, rather He heard and said, “No.”  We must remember that Hashem is in charge and He gives with compassion and kindness and if we want Him to give to us, we should give to others. 

The seal of Hezekiah, King of Judah

Phoenician or Egyptian? The seal of Hezekiah, king of Judah from c. 727 to 698 B.C.E., left its mark in this bulla—a small lump of wet clay used to secure a document. It reads, according to Meir Lubetski, author of the accompanying article, “Judah, Belonging to Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, King!” Hezekiah and Ahaz are the only kings of Judah whose seal impressions have been recovered. At center a two-winged beetle, or scarab, pushes a tiny ball of dung. Why did Hezekiah pick a scarab to represent himself? Two years ago in BAR, Frank Moore Cross argued that the Egyptian-style imagery came to Judah by way of Phoenicia. Lubetski believes instead that the imagery came directly from Egypt and that Hezekiah used this beetle in an effort to align himself with the pharaoh.

 Timeline: Yishayahu lived about 2600 years ago.


Taken from Dor L’dor, By Ephraim Waxman, Feldheim Publishers.


 Map: Yishayahu lived in Jerusalem.

Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5770-2009