Reuben Ebrahimoff




The Haftorah for Parshat Acharei Mot

The Haftorah is read from the book of Yechezkel (Ezekiel): Ashkenazim 22:1-19; Sephardim 22:1-16

Ezekiel’s “Vision” of the Merkavah – Hashem’s Throne

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: The Parsha outlines the laws of forbidden relations, and in the Haftorah Hashem finds fault with Bnei Israel for these and other sins.

The storyline of this week’s Haftorah: Hashem speaks to Ezekiel in a prophecy, asking him if he is willing to reprimand the Jewish people for committing the following sins. Adultery, idolatry & bloodshed. Ezekiel goes on to list the 24 sins the Jewish people will have to stop committing in order to avoid being exiled.

  1. Bloodshed. They killed people who got in their way.
  2. Idol worshipping. In addition to Hashem, they also worship agricultural & fertility goddesses.
  3. The Kings of Israel are corrupt and they use their power to take advantage of the common man.
  4. Children act in a dishonorable way to their fathers.
  5. Children act in a dishonorable way to their mothers.
  6. Converts were treated poorly.
  7. People took advantage of orphans.
  8. People took advantage of widows.
  9. Any religious articles were treated poorly.
  10. People didn’t observe Shabbat.
  11. People spoke Lashon Harah; they said bad things about their friends and family.
  12. They continued to worship idols.
  13. People behaved in a defiant way towards Hashem.
  14. Fathers and sons would commit sins together.
  15. Husbands slept with their wives when they shouldn’t have.
  16.  Men and women committed adultery.
  17. Men would humiliate their sisters.
  18. Murder for hire was commonplace.
  19. Poor people had to pay their loans back at very high interest rates.
  20. Poor people had to borrow money to buy food.
  21. Rich people took advantage of the poor.
  22. Employers didn’t pay their workers on time.
  23. The Jews were guilty of forgetting Hashem.
  24. Finally, Hashem said to Ezekiel that the straw that broke the camel’s back was the unforgivable sin of committing theft.  Why? Because business is based on mutual honesty and when that trust is broken, the unraveling of society begins. There was nothing left to do for Hashem except to throw the Jews out of their homeland. While in exile they realized just how good they had it. After 70 years, Hashem brought the Jews back to Israel.

The Prophet Ezekiel by: Michelangelo

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 Tishah Be’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 8000 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)

The Tomb of Ezekiel in Iraq

Famous Phrases: Ezekiel 7:19, “kaspam uzehuvum lo yuchal l’hatzilam” “Their silver and gold will not save them.”

Haftorahman’s lesson of the week: We have an equal opportunity at all times for our power of choice. Hashem was gracious enough to give Bnei Yisroel -through Yechezkel- a second chance, by affording them the opportunity to take account of their behavior, to review the checklist of sins, and to repent. It is a timeless message to us, to periodically take stock of our actions, and keep trying to improve ourselves. Our pasts need not define us; don’t give up even if you feel you blew it already. We shouldn’t stop trying to master ourselves to strengthen our commitment to Torah.  




Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5766-2006