Reuben Ebrahimoff




The Haftorah for Parshat Metzorah

 The miraculous relief from the Famine in Shomron

The Haftorah is read from the book of Melachim Bet (Kings 2), 7:3-20

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: Both the Parsha and the Haftorah tell a story about Metzoraim, people with Tzara’at or Leprosy. Talking Lashon Hara, slander, even though it may be accurate “negative” information about other people, only serves to strengthen the chain of “gossip”.  Shemirat Halashon, Guarding the Tongue (from speaking evil) is a mitzvah that each and every one of us must be extremely careful not to violate. We are forbidden to speak and even worse, it’s forbidden to listen to someone else speaking negatively about others. Some of the consequences can even be the shortening of one’s life!

The ruins of King Ahab's "ivory house" palace on the hill of Samaria,Capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel during his reign.

In the time of the Torah and Neviim, when a person would speak Lashon Hara they would be punished (or maybe blessed?!) with Tzara’at or Leprosy. It was a white skin rash. It was a visual signal to STOP talking Lashon Hara. There were other reasons and ways that people would get Tzara’at. A person with Tzara’at had to be” quarantined”, and remove him/herself from the Israelite camp.

Introduction to the Haftorah: Four men, Gehazi (the servant of Elisha the Prophet) and his 3 sons were sitting outside of the city of Samaria.  Elisha has cursed them for being greedy & deceptive. Not only were these men forced to leave their homes but they were also forced to sit outside of the City of Samaria, (the Capital of the 10 Northern tribes), and watch  while the nation of Aram, an enemy of the Israelites surrounded their city and cut off everyone’s food supply. This is where the Haftorah begins.

The storyline of this week’s Haftorah: Four lepers were sitting at the city gate (people who had leprosy, received it as a punishment from Hashem for speaking negatively about someone else. A part of the punishment was that the lepers needed to leave the city until they were cured of the leprosy.) There was a famine in the land and the lepers knew that if they just sat outside the city they would starve. After much deliberation, they decided to go to the Aramean camp that was close by, so as to not starve. They find the camp deserted but still filled with food and riches. The Arameans had deserted the camp because Hashem had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of great chariots and armies coming, so they fled quickly, without most of their belongings. The lepers looted the camp and then reported what they had done to the Judean King, because the food left by the Arameans could cure the famine. The King heard the news, but suspected the Arameans of employing a military tactic of luring the people out of the city, to infiltrate it and claim it as their own. Two horsemen were sent to the camp to investigate the claim of free food, and found it to be true.  The starving people of the city went out and collected the abundant food, and in doing so trampled the captain of the guards who had but a day before questioned the abilities of Hashem. The day before, Elisha the prophet, the disciple of Eliyahu Hanavi, approached the King and told him that Hashem was planning on ending the famine. The captain scorned this tale and repudiated Hashem’s capability to accomplish this task.  Elisha the prophet dealt with this dubious captain by promising him the fulfillment of Hashem’s promise during which he would see the food but not be able to partake in it.

Gehazi’s Biography:

  • Was the Prophet Elisha’s Assistant.
  • One of the four people who had no share in the World to Come: Balaam, Doeg, Ahitophel and Gehazi, (Sanhedrin 90a). Gehazi was a hero of Torah, however he was 1) stingy 2) licentious 3) he did not acknowledge the resurrection of the dead. (Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 10:2) Why was Gehazi punished? He called his teacher by his name, which was disrespectful. Gehazi said “This is her son, whom Elisha resurrected”. Kings II 8:5. (Sanhedrin 100a).

Famous Phrases: Melachim II 7:2, “Hincha ro’eh b’ainecha umisham lo tochail” “Behold you will witness it with your own eyes, but you will not be able to partake of it”. The expression “Have your cake and eat it too” might have its origins in this verse.

Haftorahman’s Lesson of the week: Is speaking “Lashon Hara” worth it? It is written in Tehillim, King David’s Psalms that if one wants to live a long life, “Watch your tongue from speaking negatively about others”. Suggestion: Always pretend that the person you are about to speak about, is standing right in front of you. You will think first and speak differently, saving yourself a lot of time answering to the Satan in the court of Justice. Trust me on this one: zip your lips. Refrain from saying what you shouldn’t. Do not raise yourself up by putting someone else down. This way after 120 years, having spoken mercifully about others, you will then be dealt with mercifully in heaven. It’s Your Choice- Justice or Mercy.

Map: The Haftorah took place on the outer walls of the city of Samaria, which at the time was the capitol of the 10 Northern tribes.

Timeline: Gehazi lived about 2700 years ago, while King Solomon’s temple was still standing.


Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5768-2008