Reuben Ebrahimoff







The Haftorah for the 1st Shabbat of Chanukah

The Prophet Zechariah’s Vision of the Menorah

The Haftorah is read from the book of Zechariah 2:14-17, 3:1-10, 4:1-7

The Vision of Zechariah by: by Ambroise Crozat

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: The Haftorah is a special one that is read on the 1st Shabbat during the Chanukah. The Haftorah speaks of the vision of the Menorah and an Angel’s prophetic interpretation of that vision. The vision of the Menorah is why we read this Haftorah on Chanukah.

A ring showing 4 variations of the shape of the Menorah.

The Story line of this week’s Haftorah: The Haftorah begins as Bnei Yisroel ~ The Israelites are returning from the 70 year Babylonian / Persian exile. They are returning from the land of Persia to build the second Bais HaMikdash or Holy Temple, their holiest of sites. Bnei Yisroel leaves Persia with a sense of euphoria and they come upon the location of their Holy Temple and all they see is rubble and ruin. Zechariah dispels the gloom from his disheartened brethren by shouting, “Rani V’simchi Bat Zion” – Sing and be glad daughter of (Mount) Zion, Jerusalem, we are returning home.” Zechariah is telling Bnei Yisroel to rejoice, that the Holy Temple will be rebuilt and restored to its former glory. They should celebrate because they will once again stand in the presence of Hashem and this is an opportunity that many did not receive. He goes on to say that the Nations of the world will join the ingathering and celebrations.

The second part of the Haftorah discusses how Satan was accusing Yehoshua, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) of not rearing his children in the proper Torah manner (two of his sons intermarried). The angel of Hashem comes to Yehoshua’s defense and refutes the allegations. The angel then goes on to encourage Yehoshua to remain steadfast in his service to Hashem. The Angel speaks of a stone with Sheva Aynayim or 7 eyes. There are many Kabalistic explanations of this stone. One of them is that a “building stone” has 6 sides, or six physical dimensions and the 7th is the Non Physical, spiritual dimension. This stone will be used to rebuild the 2nd Bait HaMikdash (Holy Temple). The Haftorah continues to explain about Zechariah’s prophecy concerning the Menorah. The Prophet Zechariah sees an olive tree draped over a Menorah and begs to learn its interpretation from the angel. He is answered that only through Hashem’s spirit would the people be saved, not through army might.

The Prophet Zechariah’s Biography: His name means “Hashem remembered”. Zechariah ben Ido was a Kohen. His prophecies took place around 520 B.C.E., approximately 2500 years ago. He is the 11th of the 12 prophets in the Book of Trei Assar, and Zechariah wrote his own book, which is 14 chapters long. He lived in the time of the return from Babylon and Persia. He was a member of the men of the Anshai Kneset Hagedolah (great assembly). He lived in Jerusalem and was buried in the Kidron Valley. Zechariah hid the temple treasures, so that the holy vessels would not be used by nonbelievers. His piers were Zerubavel, the governor of Jerusalem, Yehoshua the Kohen Gadol, Mordechai, Nechemia, Ezra, Chaggai, and Yonah. Shortly after Zechariah’s time, prophecy departed from Israel.

The State of Israel uses on its national emblem the symbol of a Menorah & two olive braches on either side. Its source is this weeks Haftorah.

Haftorahman’s Lesson of the week: LO BECHAYIL, V’LO BEKIACH, KI IM BERUCHI. Zechariah’s vision explains to us that it is not with our individual power that our successes come from, but with the spirit of Hashem. During this week of the miracle of Chanukah, let us remember that the degree, which we connect, ourselves to Hashem via the Torah, our own personal lights will shine brighter to the rest of the world.

Photo: Ardon Barhama

Famous Phrases from the Book of Zechariah: V’haya Hashem La’Melech al kol ha’aretz bayom hahu yeheyeh hashem echod ushemo echad. ‘And Hashem will be the ruler over the world.’ This can be found in the Siddur, in Aleynu Leshabeach, right at the concluding sentence of the prayer.

Map: Zechariah’s prophecy takes place in Jerusalem. Holman Bible Atlas

Timeline: The Haftorah took place about 2500 years ago.


D’or L’Dor Ephraim Waxman Feldheim Publishers


Further Readings:

Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5769-2009