Reuben Ebrahimoff







The Haftorah for the First Day of Shavuot

The Haftorah is read from the book of Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 1:1-28 and 3:12

The Connection of the Haftorah to the Holiday of Shavuot: The Haftorah is read on Shavuot because of its connection to the revelation experienced by the Jews at Matan Torah or the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. At that time the entire nation of Israel had a direct experience of the "Shechina" or Hashem's presence. Similarly Ezekiel's vision was a direct experience of Hashem's presence.

The storyline of this week’s Haftorah: Ezekiel's vision took place approximately 11 years before the destruction of the 1st Beit HaMikdash. He prophesied while in exile in Bavel by the river K'var (possibly the Euphrates River). Ezekiel’s vision of the Heavenly Chariot, an entourage of angels, is described at length: the Chayos’, Angels’, faces, wings and legs; the Vision of the Ofanim – Angels; the rakiya, sky, above the Chayos- its brilliance and brightness. There is the exalted vision of the Heavenly Throne, and finally, the angels' Praise of Hashem.

Historical Background: King Nebuchadnezzar exiled the Jews to Bavel in a threestep process. During the second phase of exile from Eretz Yisrael, which took place 11 years before the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash during the reign of King Yehoyachin, a large number of Jews were exiled including the prophet Ezekiel. Many Jews felt distressed that Hashem had abandoned them. Ezekiel prayed on behalf of the exiled Jews for Hashem to have pity on them. Hashem responded by saying that "He" is with us. His vision of the Heavenly Chariot is one of the most mysterious prophecies in Tanach. Upon hearing this prophecy Bnei Yisrael became convinced that Hashem would be with them during their exile.

Yechezkel ben Buzi’s Biography:

  • The meaning of his name is “Hashem will strengthen.”

  • Was a Kohen, born in the village of Anatot surrounding Jerusalem. His wife died suddenly before his prophecies began.

  • He prophesied just before the destruction of Jerusalem on Tisha B’Av (The 9th of Av). He was exiled in 597 B.C.E. Some of his visions were while he was in exile. He was a major prophet that recorded the warnings to the Jewish captives of Babylon. He was among 8,000 exiles taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon soldiers.

  • He died in Bavel.

  • He saw the divine vision of the Ma’aseh Hamerkavah (Hashem’s Throne).

  • He was the only person in the Tanach (Bible) to be called "Ben Adam”, Son of Man.

  • Yechezkel wrote his own 48 chapter book; his prophetic ministry lasted 20 years.

  • Was one of three prophets granted the key to resurrection of the dead. (The others were Eliyahu and Elisha)

Famous phrases: Ezekiel 3:12 "Vatesaeni ruach va’eshma kol raash gadol". And a spirit lifted me and I heard a great sound. Found in The Book of Ezekiel and included in the "Uvah l’tzion” Prayer on Shabbat.

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

Timeline: This Haftorah occurred about 2600 years ago.


Further Readings:

Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5769-2009