Reuben Ebrahimoff




The Haftorah for Parshat Vayeishev

The Israelites are urged to listen to the Prophets

The Haftorah is read from the book of Amos 2:6-3:8. Amos is the third in the order of the Trai Assar, The Twelve Prophets, and first chronologically.

A roaring, muscular lion adorns a tenth- or eighth-century B.C.E. seal that reads "(belonging) to Shema, servant of Jeroboam (II the King of Israel.)" Who lived at the same time as this weeks Prophet Amos.

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: In this week's Haftorah's opening verses the prophet Amos accuses certain Jews of having sold the Tzaddik (a righteous person) for money and the poor man for shoes. The Parasha acknowledges that Yaakov’s sons sold Joseph, the Tzaddik, into slavery and used the money to buy themselves shoes.

The storyline of this week's Haftorah: The Haftorah opens with words regarding the Sins of the Ten Tribes. They had four sins that Hashem was unhappy with. The first three were Idolatry, Immorality, and Bloodshed. The last is that the Israelite Judges could be bribed. The first three, Hashem was willing to forgive his nation for but the fourth Hashem wasn't willing to forgive. An honest man must be entitled to a fair trial and if human beings are going to "Play G-d" with other people’s lives, they better be honest. The Haftorah continues with the fact that Jews must be holy, if not they will be punished and tragedies will befall the Jews. "Use it or lose it." Hashem has given us the power to choose. We can either use Judaism as a way of life or not. The question is “Do we take advantage of this opportunity? Or do we act like Judaism is a burden?” Now the prophet Amos teaches us a lesson. We first learn about the Emorite nation's past. Even though they were the strongest of Israel’s seven enemy nations, Hashem easily destroyed them because of their abominable ways. We should always remember that Hashem is watching over us and he is ready to reward or punish us. The Haftorah discusses why Hashem – G-d - deals with the Jews strictly. It's because Hashem really does love us and He cares enough about us, to punish us for our sins. This enables us to reflect, do teshuva – repentance - and in turn improve ourselves as much as possible. The Jews are urged to take the words of the prophet seriously because those words are…Hashem's future plans, and they will materialize one day. These words are not some ideas the prophets came up with. These are the words that were communicated by Hashem to the prophet. Amos goes on to tell us that the prophets have secret knowledge. Hashem does not do anything without first revealing his secret plans to his servants.

Biography of the Prophet Amos:

  • The meaning of his name is either “burden" or "bearer of burden".
  • Was born in the mountain top city of Tekoah in Land of Judah where he prophesied from 765 to 750 B.C. Amos stuttered. He might have been the earliest of the "Trei Assar". Like all prophets, he was wealthy.
  • Was a herdsman and also owned sycamore trees.
  • He lived in the time of Uzziah, King of Judah and the prophets Hosea, Isaiah and Michah.

Tiglath-Pileser III—stela from the walls of his palace (British Museum, London) he was the Assyrian King who exiled some of the Jews from the Northern kingdom of Israel

Famous Phrases: Amos 8:11, “Hinei yamim ba’im ne’um Hashem, v’hishlachti ra’av ba’aretz. Lo ra’av lalechem v’lo tzamah lamayim, ki im l’shmoah et divrei Hashem”. “Behold days are approaching, says Hashem, when I will cast a famine over the land. It will not be a hunger for bread, nor a thirst for water, but only for heeding the words of Hashem.”

Haftorahman’s lesson of the week: It is “human nature” to minimize our sins. A little Lashon Hara (slander),”it's not so bad”. "I didn't observe the laws of Shabbat as much as I could have, no big deal". "I didn't make a blessing on the food that wasn't so kosher anyway, nothing will happen to me". Right? Wrong! Just because Hashem doesn't "pull us over" and write us a spiritual speeding ticket every time we zoom by his radar detector, it doesn't mean that Hashem hasn't recorded our violations. Before you chose to do a mitzvah (Good deed) or averah (Sin), ask yourself” is it worth it”? Ignoring your sins doesn't make them go away.

The Inscription is on the tomb of King Uzziah. It reads: "Here were brought the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah, and not to be moved".

The Arnon River flows through a deep canyon that looks very much like the Grand Canyon in the United States, probably formed when S'dom and Amorah or Emorites were destroyed. It makes a wonderful natural border, since it is hard for enemies to climb up the cliffs.

Timeline: The Haftorah took place about 2600 years ago. Just before the 10 Northern tribes were exiled from their homeland by the Assyrians, which eventually preceded the destruction of the Holy Temple about 2500 years ago


By: Ephraim Waxman Dor L’Dor Feldheim Publishing


Map: The Haftorah takes place in Northern Israel.

Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5773-2012