Reuben Ebrahimoff




The Haftorah for Parshat Vayigash

Ezekiel’s Prophetic Vision of a Re-United Kingdom

The Haftorah is read from the book of Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 37:15-28

Babylonian records mentioning King of Israel

A Cherub from King Zedekiah’s Cave – Who was the King of Judah in Ezekiel’s Time

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: After King Solomon's death, Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, was split into two kingdoms - the kingdom of Yehuda (& Binyamin) and the northern kingdom of Israel, which consisted of the ten, soon to be “lost tribes”. Since the first king of "Israel" was from the tribe of Ephraim, the prophet Yechezkel (Ezekiel) refers to the Northern Kingdom as the Kingdom of Ephraim – actually one of Ya’akov’s (Jacob’s) Grandsons. Ezekiel hints of the future division of the Jewish nation in this week's Haftorah reading. In Parshat Vayigash, the brothers Yehuda and Joseph confront each other. Ezekiel's prophecy tells us that in the future, perfect unity will bring all the divided Jewish Tribes back together. In the future there will be two Mashiachs (Messiahs - literally “anointed ones”). The first Mashiach will come from the tribe of Joseph (Whose sons were Ephraim & Menashe). The second Mashiach will come from the tribe of Yehuda. He will be a descendant of David Hamelech (King David).

Photo of a Babylonian Incantation Bowl
by: Ardon Barhama

During the Babylonian exile Israelite holy men would go from house to house asking if there was a bad thing that the person wanted to “go away” or if they wanted a “good thing” to happen. Paper, papyrus or animal skins were very expensive, so instead of baking pita they baked bowls made from dirt & water. That was much less expensive. These holy men would hold the bowl in one hand and write in the bowl from the center outwards a prayer for whatever was desired. “Abra-cadabra” or Ha’Brachah K’dibra – A blessing as it was spoken. Then the customer would pay the holy man a donation for his spiritual handiwork.

The storyline of this week's Haftorah: Yechezkel symbolically holds two pieces of wood together. One block of wood represented the Northern tribes and the second block of wood represented the Southern tribe of Judah (where the Holy Temple stood). That symbol meant that at the time of the redemption both Jewish kingdoms would be united. The Prophet Ezekiel predicts that Bnai Yisrael, The Nation of Israel, will live securely in Eretz Yisrael, The Land of Israel, forever, with the “return” of the shechina, Hashem's presence to their midst.

Michelangelo’s Ezekiel

Yecheskel Ben Buzi’s Biography:

  • The meaning of his name is "Hashem strengthens" or may Hashem strengthen.
  • Was a Kohen, born in the village of Anatot surrounding Jerusalem. His wife died suddenly before his prophecies began. Ezekiel was a part of the 8,000 exiles in 597 b.c.e. to go to Babylon.
  • His prophecies lasted for 30 years.  Several of the prophecies are date, month and year specific. He was the only person in the Tanach (Bible) to be called "Ben Adam" The son of man.

Famous phrases: Ezekiel 3:12 "Vatesaeni ruach vaeshma kol ra'ash gadol". "And a spirit lifted me and I heard a great sound". This passage is included in the Uvah L’tzion Goel prayer. The men of the great assembly included chose this passage from Ezekiel in our prayers of hope. Ezekiel said these words upon seeing a vision of Hashem’s throne leaving the Bait Hamikdash and going into exile. We are reminded that it doesn’t matter where Hashem is or where we are, for we’re always united when we pray.

Ezekiel's tomb in all it's glory.

Timeline: This Haftorah took place about 2400 years ago.


Timeline: Dor L’dor by: Ephraim Waxman; Feldheim Publishers 2007


Map: This Haftorah took place in Bavel (Babylonia). Ezekiel was one of the only prophets to experience prophecies outside of the Land of Israel.

Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5774-2013