Reuben Ebrahimoff

Shemot

 

 

The Haftorah for Parshat Yitro

Isaiah’s vision of the Almighty on His Throne of Glory and the Prophet’s Mission to King Achaz

The Haftorah is read from the book of Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 6:1-13, 7:1-6, 9:5-6

The Seal of the King Hezekiah – King of Judah who lived at the same time as the Prophet Isaiah. From the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection, London England

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: In this week’s Parsha, the Jewish nation experienced the revelation of Hashem's Shechina (G-d’s presence) at Mount Sinai during the giving of the Ten Commandments. In the Haftorah, the prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah) also has a prophetic vision of the Shechina.

The storyline of this week's Haftorah: Yeshayahu’s call to prophesy starts with the Ma'aseh Merkavah, the Vision of the Heavenly Chariot, also seen by Yechezkel (Ezekiel). One of the meanings of this vision was that due to the Israelites sins, Yeshayahu was seeing a vision of Hashem’s “Chariot” lifting “Hashem” away from “residing” in King Solomon’s Holy Temple or the Beit HaMikdash. Yeshayahu’s prophecies include a vision of Hashem and his heavenly throne surrounded by Seraphim*, a type of angel. The angels recite the famous pasuk "Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh, Hashem zevakot meloh chol ha'aretz kevodo," "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts, His Glory fills the World!" The doorposts of the Beit HaMikdash shook from the sound of the Seraphim angels’ voices and the Temple was filled with “Holy Smoke”. Yeshayahu then says, "I'm not worthy to see these things, because I am a man of unclean lips who lives amongst a people of unclean lips." What Yeshayahu was saying was "I'm not worthy to do this job because I've spoken lashon hara (slander) and the nation of Israel speaks lashon hara."

One interpretation of a Cherub carved in Ivory

Yeshayahu was shown the Vision of Hashem's throne: One of them was because it was like the "tip of the iceberg" spiritually; it was to open his mind so that it would be exposed to experience the infinite holiness of Hashem. If he could experience it, he could begin to share it with other people. He would be able to share how great and awesome Hashem was. Another reason Hashem wanted Yeshayahu to see the throne being lifted up and out from the Beit HaMikdash was as a foreshadowing symbol of the process of the Jewish people going into exile that was about to happen.

An angel touches Yeshayahu's lips with a hot coal and "removes" the sin of lashon hara. Then Yeshayahu hears Hashem's voice asking, "Whom shall I send to tell the people and Yeshayahu says, 'Send me!" Hashem does so and Yeshayahu is instructed to give a message to King Ahaz of Judah. He was told that enemies will try to rise up against them however they will be unsuccessful. The Haftorah concludes with our being told of the birth of a righteous King, Chizkiyahu who had the potential to be the Mashiach and would be capable of uniting the people of Israel to do teshuvah and bring on the Messianic period.

* The Seraphim (fiery, burning ones) are angelic beings associated with the prophet Isaiah's vision of God in the Temple when God called him to his prophetic ministry (Isaiah 6:1-7). Isaiah 6:2-4 records, “Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” Seraphs are angels who worship God continually.

Isaiah’s Tomb

Yeshayahu’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 Beit 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. Yeshayahu wrote his own lengthy (66 chapter) book.
  • Lived through the reigns of four different kings; Uzziah, Yotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah. Three other prophets were Yeshayahu’s contemporaries: Hosea, Amos, and Micah.
  • Lived 120 years, having two children with his only wife.
  • Was killed by Menashe, the King of Judah. Yeshayahu was hiding from Menashe, the King of Judah, in a tree, but as Menashe was passing by the tree, he spotted Yeshayahu’s tzitzit hanging out of the tree. Menashe then cut clean through the tree, killing Yeshayahu. Yeshayahu was killed cut through his mouth as a midah kineged midah, measure for measure, for speaking lashon hara about the nation of Israel.

Famous phrases: Isaiah 6:1, “Hamelech hayoshaiv al kisai ram v’nisa” “O King enthroned upon a high and lofty throne!” This is part of the Shabbat morning service called Shacharit Shabbat,following Nishmat. During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur this verse is recited by the cantor with great reverence and awe.

Haftorahman's Lesson of the week: Whoops! Yeshayahu should never have said anything bad about Hashem's people. Even if the accusation is true, Hashem is very protective of his "children" and everyone should be careful before they even think of saying anything bad about other people. How many times have we heard misinformation about others that turned out not to be true. Think before you speak. Ask yourself “is this lashon harah?” Make pretend that the person you are speaking about is standing right in front of you. Would you be saying the same things? Remember “B+” = “Be Positive”, when thinking and speaking about others and you will feel better about yourself and the world around you.

A LMLK or (La’Melech or to the King) jar handle stamped with the seal of the King Hezekiah from the time of Isaiah

Timeline: This story occurred about 2600 years ago.

 

Timeline: Dor L’dor by: Ephraim Waxman Feldheim Publishing

 

This tablet, erected some time between 100BC-100AD, commemorated the reburial of the bones of King Uzziah, who reined 783-742BC in the time of Isaiah.

Map: Isaiah prophesied in Jerusalem.

Map: Holman Bible Atlas

Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5774-2014

E-mail: Haftorahman@Haftorahman.com

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