Reuben Ebrahimoff




The Haftorah for Parshat Shemini

Sephardim read from the book of Shmuel Bet (Samuel 2) 6: 1-19. Ashkenazim read 6:1-7:17

King David Brings the Aron Hakodesh (The Ark of the Covenant) to Yerushalaim. (Jerusalem).

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: Parshat Shemini deals with the dedication of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. Similarly, the Haftorah describes the ceremony of the bringing of the Aron, Ark to Yerushalaim, which was to come before the dedication of the Bait Hamikdash or Holy Temple.

The storyline of this week's Haftorah: The Haftorah begins with King David gathering 30,000 men from the Nation of Israel to bring the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments in it to Jerusalem. They started their journey from Ba’alei Yehudah also know as Keriyath Ye’arim, which is located about 10 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem. From there they continued towards Jerusalem to the house of Avinadav that was located in Give’ah. Uzzah and Achyo, the son’s of Avinadav, escorted the Aron, Ark of the Covenant that was placed on the wagon. David wanted to create a lively atmosphere for this special event, so he and all his men played musical instruments while they sang and danced their way to Jerusalem. When they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the Aron began slipping off the wagon and Uzzah stretched out his hand to try to stop it from falling. Hashem perceived this as showing a lack of faith in the Ark’s ability to hold itself up without the help of man. Hashem was quick to anger, striking down Uzzah, who died instantly. King David was upset with Hashem's anger toward Uzzah; he named that place Perez Uzzah, the Breach of Uzzah, because that's where Hashem burst out against Uzzah. King David changed his plans to bring the Aron to the City of David, deciding to deposit the Aron in the house of Oved Edom's the Gittite. The Aron remained there for three months during which Hashem blessed Oved Edom and his entire family.

King David Dancing with the Ark into Jerusalem

When King David heard that the energy around the Ark had changed from bad to good, he decided to try to bring the Ark to Jerusalem for a second time. David danced and clapped his hands with all his might and his men made many celebratory sacrifices, blowing their shofars loudly. When King David arrived to the City of Jerusalem also known as the City of David, his wife Michal (Israel's Queen and King Saul's Daughter) looked out of her window and disapproved of the sight that met her eyes: She noticed her husband-the king of Israel- dancing like a crazy person! (But David’s actions weren’t wrong-he was honoring Hashem with great joy.) King David brought the Aron of Hashem to Jerusalem, setting it in the tent he had prepared for it, where it would rest until it would be moved to the Bait Hamikdash. Then David offered sacrifices to Hashem. The Haftorah concludes with King David distributing many different kinds of foods to the people in attendance and blessing them before they went home.

King David's Biography:

  • The meaning of his name is "beloved." His named is mentioned nearly 1000 times in the Tanach – Books of the Prophets.
  • Was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite. David's father's name was Ishay; his mother's name was Tzelplonit. David was a "Gingie," (a redhead). As a youth, David was a shepherd, tending to flocks of sheep.
  • A warrior, David killed lions with his bare hands and is famous for killing Goliath with a single slingshot.
  • Was a musician who played music to calm Shaul (former King of Israel, and David's father in law). David was the faithful friend of Jonathan, King Saul’s son.
  • Cleared the way to build the first Bait Hamikdash (Holy Temple).
  • His son was King Shlomo (Solomon) known as the wisest man that ever lived and ruled.
  • Composed Sefer Tehillim – The book of Psalms (Songs), the most popular words used worldwide to pray.
  • The "fourth" meal of (after) Shabbat is called the meal of David. David was told by G-d that he was going to pass away on Shabbat. With the knowledge that the angel of death can’t attack while you are learning torah, David would learn Torah all Shabbat long, from beginning to end. Once Shabbat would end, he would have a meal celebrating his extension of life for another week. This meal is called Melaveh Malkah. King David died when he was 70 years old.
  • The Mashiach (Messiah) will be a descendant of King David.

Famous phrases: Psalms 145:16, “Poteach et yadecha u'masbeah lechol chai ratzon”. "You open your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing." It is our custom to hold our palms upward symbolically to the heavens as if Hashem is “dropping” blessings into our palms, and recite this prayer with great concentration. This verse is found in Tehillim, written by King David, also in the Ashrai prayer.

A Sketch of King David Bringing the Ark to Jerusalem

Haftorahman's Lesson of the week: When Uzzah reached over to prevent the ark from falling off the wagon and onto Nacon's threshing floor, Hashem (G-d) killed him on the spot. It seems that Hashem dealt with him very strictly, as Hashem did in the case of Moses being punished and forbidden to enter the Land of Israel because he hit the rock instead of tapping it. Hashem has different expectations from each and every one of us. We cannot look around and say that we all have the same “job” on this planet. Hashem looks at each person as an individual. Hashem looks at where you came from, where you are at but most importantly Hashem looks at where you can go. He looks at your potential vs. your actual spiritual development. Hashem had a very high level of expectation from Moses. So from our perspective a simple thing like hitting a rock is no reason to keep one of the greatest spiritual giants that ever lived out of the land of Israel. How about ourselves? We may not be on the level of Moses or Uzzah but Hashem has spiritual expectations of us. Remember that a disappointment can only occur when an expectation is not met. Do you want to let Hashem down? No! So live up to you're potential and be spiritually ambitious.

Timeline: Our Haftorah took place in the Jewish year of 2892, or 869 BCE about 2869 years ago. Just before the Building of the First Temple.


Map: The Haftorah begins in the city Kiryat Yeraim and concludes in Jerusalem.

Ir David or the City of Jerusalem from the time of King David

Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5769-2009