Reuben Ebrahimoff




The Haftorah for Parshat Devarim - Shabbat Chazon

The Haftorah is read from the book of Yeshayahu (Isaiah), 1:1-27.  This Haftorah is read on Shabbat Chazon, the Shabbat before Tisha B’av, the Ninth of the month of Av, which is the anniversary of the destruction of both the 1st and 2nd Bait HaMikdash

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: This Haftorah is the third Shabbat of the Telasa Dephuranusa, Aramaic for “The Three weeks of Tribulation” before Tisha B’av. In it are the prophecies of the suffering that will take place to the Israelites because of their sins and the forthcoming destruction of the Bait Hamikdash, Holy Temple and the City of Jerusalem because of their sins.

The storyline of this week’s Haftorah: The prophet Yishayahu (Isaiah) prophesied about the tragic condition of the State of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. Yishayahu begins his book by inquiring how and why Bnei Yisroel do not recognize Hashem as their master. He incredulously poses this rhetorical question as he says that even an ox can recognize his master. Bnei Yisroel’s sins of rebellion have left them badly beaten. They have yet to understand that Hashem is punishing them for their sins. Hashem appeals to the Jewish people to repent. They should stop with all their sacrifices and worshipping of other gods. Hashem tells Bnei Yisroel that they should learn to do good, seek justice, and support the oppressed. They should demand justice for the orphans and plead the cause of the widow. Hashem says “Repent! If you are bad, become good.” Once Bnei Yisroel becomes good, they will be much redeemed. Hashem warns them that the city of Jerusalem’s deterioration will lead only to Bnei Yisrael’s destruction. For the land will need to return to her pure state and Hashem will have to purify Jerusalem with fire. 

The Seal of the King Ahaz King of Yehuda, Who was alive in the time of Isaiah the prophet.

From the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection

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 cut through his mouth as a midah kineged midah, measure for measure, for speaking lashon ha’ra about the nation of Israel.

Isaiah the Prophet's Tomb

Famous Phrases: Isaiah 58:13, “Im tashiv me’Shabbat raglechah asot chah-fatzechah beyom kadshi, V-karat la’Shabbat oneg likdosh Hashem mechubad. Vchiybadito ma-asot derachecha mimtzoh cheftzecha v-daber davar. Az titanag al Hashem vehirkavtechah al bamotai aretz v’ha’alticha nachalt Ya’akov aviycha ki pi Adoshem Yidaber. ” “If you restrain your foot, because it is the Sabbath; refrain from accomplishing your own needs on my holy day. If you proclaim the Sabbath ‘a delight’ and the holy day of Hashem honored and you honor it by not engaging in your own affairs from seeking your own needs or discussing the forbidden – hence you will delight in Hashem, and I will provide you the heritage of your forefather Jacob, for the mouth of Hashem has spoken.” The Talmud states (Shabbat 118b) that Rav Yehuda said in Rav’s name: He who delights in the Shabbat is granted his heart’s desires.

Haftorahman’s lesson of the week: Think about this: If somehow you were mistakenly locked up in jail, and someone came and bailed you out, how would you feel about that person?  Then if that person brought you to their mansion on an estate, and said “I am going to leave you here, alone, to live as you please, just follow these house rules”.  Then the host leaves and upon returning, discovers that not only did his guest not follow the house rules, but had also desecrated the house! The host was trying to impart kindness; however, the guest had brought evil, crude, vulgar people, who embodied the exact opposite of kindness, into his home.  The owner had no choice but to exclaim, “Hey! Wait a minute! I don’t understand this! I took you out of jail and I put you into a beautiful house.  All I asked of you is to treat this place well, but what do you do instead? You destroy it! You won’t even stop when I reprimand you and threaten to throw you off the premises. So you have left me with no other option but to take action and physically remove you from my property. You have run it down and I will have to tear my house down to the ground and rebuild it. This is the story of Tisha B’Av. How many times do we need to be reminded and reprimanded before we understand our role as a good Jew? So think hard: How many places do we have to get thrown out of before we get the message?

Isaiah the Prophet in Hebrew Scriptures was depicted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo.

Timeline: Yishayahu prophesied about 2600 years ago. We had the Land of Israel, with Jerusalem our capital city. The Holy Temple built by King David’s son, King Solomon was about to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon. We were still ruled by a King. The Kohanim (Priests) worshipped and served in the Holy Temple. Men and women had prophetic ability. The nation of Israel still had the potential to observe the 613 mitzvot (commandments).


Timeline: Ephraim Waxman Dor L’Dor Feldheim Publishing


Map: Isaiah prophesized in Jerusalem.

Additional Images:

Erich Lessing

Defending the Judahite town of Lachish, soldiers fling lighted torches and debris on attacking Assyrians, in this relief from the palace of the Assyrian king Sennacherib (704–681 B.C.E.) in Nineveh. The square mound on top of the tell in the aerial photo is the eighth-century B.C.E. palace at Lachish.

In besieging Lachish, the Assyrians constructed a huge fan-shaped ramp—225-feet-wide at its base—large enough to accommodate five four-wheeled battering rams. This ramp was built to the right of the rectangular structure (the ancient city gate) just below the left central edge of the mound. In excavating the ramp, archaeologists found more than 13,000 tons of stone and mortar

As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered (them) by means of well-stamped (earth-)ramps, and battering-rams brought (thus) near (to the walls) (combined with) the attack by foot soldiers, (using) mines, breeches as well as sapper work. I drove out (of the villages) 200,150 people, young and old, male and female, horses, mules, donkeys, camels, big and small cattle beyond counting, and considered (them) booty. Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage. I surrounded him with earthwork in order to molest those who were leaving his city’s gate. His towns which I had plundered, I took away from his country and gave them (over) to Mitiniti, king of Ashdod, Padi, king of Ekron, and Sillibel, king of Gaza. Thus I reduced his country, but I still increased the tribute and the presents (due) to me (as his) overlord which I imposed (later) upon him [...] Hezekiah himself, whom the terror-inspiring splendor of my lordship had overwhelmed and whose irregular and elite troops which he had brought into Jerusalem, his royal residence, in order to strengthen (it), had deserted him, did send me, later, to Nineveh, my lordly city, together with 30 talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, precious stones, antimony, large cuts of red stone, couches (inlaid) with ivory, nimedu chairs (inlaid) with ivory, elephant-hides, ebony-wood, box-wood (and) all kinds of valuable treasures, his (own) daughters, concubines, male and female musicians. In order to deliver the tribute and to do obeisance as a slave he sent his (personal) messenger.

Text of Sennacherib’s Prism, translated in James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), p. 288.

The inscription on the seal, written in the kind of Hebrew letters used before the Babylonian Exile, reads, according to Cross:

hdhyö·ûlm·zja·whyqzjl (lh\zqyhw õh\z mlk/yhdh)

[Belonging] to Hezekiah [son of] ’Ahaz, king of / Judah

"When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come, intent on making war against Jerusalem, he consulted with his officers and warriors about stopping the flow of the springs outside the city, and they supported him. A large force was assembled to stop up all the springs and the wadi that flowed through the land, for otherwise, they thought, the king of Assyria would come and find water in abundance" (2 Chronicles 32:2-4).

Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5769-2009