Haftarah of Parshat Pinchas - 5760
"Three of Punishment, Seven of Consolation and
of the following material was found in "Chazon HaMikra," by Rav
Yissachar Yaakovson, Published by Sinai, Tel Aviv, 5719)
Avraham ben David of Luneil, the author of "Sefer HaManhig,"
Parshat Bereshit through the 17th
of Tammuz, the Haftarah is chosen to correspond to the Parshah topic
by topic; but from there on - the choice of Haftarah is determined
entirely by the time of year and the corresponding historical
events" (Hilchot Taanit, Din
Fast of the 17th
of Tammuz falls this week.
That Fast Day commemorates, among other tragic historical events,
The breaking of the First Set of Ten Commandments by Moshe when he
observed the Golden Calf (Shemot 32:19)
the 17th of Tammuz falls before Parshat Pinchas, as it does
this year, that Parshah begins the sequence of ten, really twelve (the two
of "Teshuvah," Repentance, are usually not counted) Haftarot:
Three of Punishment, Seven of Consolation, and Two of Repentance.
"Shulchan Aruch" identifies the Haftarot:
Yirmiyahu," "The Words of Yirmiyahu," this week's Haftarah,
from the beginning of Sefer Yirmiyahu through the Second Chapter, Verse 3,
according to the traditions of both the Sephardic
"Hear the Words of HaShem," beginning with Yirmiyahu, Chapter 2, Verse 4 "
comforted, Be comforted, My People
," (Yeshayahu 40:1)
Zion said, 'HaShem has left me, and the L-rd has forgotten me
' " (Yeshayahu
one, one who has endured storms
" (Yeshayahu 54:11)
even I, am the One Who comforts you
" (Yeshayahu 51:12)
out, you who were barren,
" (Yeshayahu 54:1)
" (Yeshayahu 60:1)
will surely delight in the L-rd,
" (Yeshayahu 61:10)
the L-rd when He is near,
" (Yeshayahu 55:6), read on "Tzom
Gedaliah," during Afternoon Prayer
reason for the ratio of three to seven of "punishment" to
"comfort" is that it takes a
long time to be comforted when one has sustained a major loss, as
we see in the Torah, in connection with Yaakov
Avinu, when his children sought to comfort him with the
happy news that Yosef
was still alive, that at first he refused to believe them (45:26).
It was only Serach bat Asher, with her sweet and gentle manner, who
could convince him that indeed, his long-lost son was still alive.
too, after such destruction, it would be impossible to accept consolation
delivered with such rapidity.
It would be like saying to one who has been begging in the streets,
'tomorrow you will be king!' which could not be believed, as it says in (Shemot
6:9), 'And they didn't (couldn't) listen to Moshe, from shortness of
breath and from hard labor.' " (Machzor Vitry)
Avudraham makes the leading verses of the Seven Haftarot of Consolation
into a conversation between the Holy One, Blessed be He, the People of
Israel and the Prophets, as cited by Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin, ZT"L.
the first Shabbat, the Holy One says through the Prophets, 'Be comforted,
Be comforted, My People.'
But the People refuse to accept the words of the Prophets.
So that we hear on the second Shabbat, 'And Zion answered, "HaShem
has left me, and the L-rd has forgotten me!" '
On the third Shabbat, the Prophets report to HaShem 'The
impoverished, the storm-tossed one has not been comforted' - 'She refuses
to accept comfort from us; she wants to hear it from You alone!' "
on the fourth Shabbat, the Holy One, Blessed be He, assures the People, 'It
is I, even I Who is comforting you.'
And on the fifth Shabbat, He continues to raise their spirits,
'Sing out, you who were barren, who had not yet given birth.'
And even on the sixth, 'Arise, give forth light, for your light has
and only then, on the seventh Shabbat does the People of Israel believe
that her time of suffering is over, 'I will rejoice in HaShem, my soul
will delight in my G-d
by allocating three Haftarot to "Mussar," reproof and warning of
dire punishment, and seven to consolation and promises of future
redemption, did the Rabbis take note of human nature, and of the principle
that "HaShem's reward is greater than His punishment." (RASHI on
Shemot 20:6, based on Tosefta to Masechet
Sotah, Chapter 4)
the historical and psychological sequence would normally be: Warning of
Punishment, then Repentance,
and only afterwards, Redemption, that order could not be maintained here,
because it was necessary to put the Haftarot whose content relates to
Repentance at the Time of Repentance, between Rosh HaShanah and Yom
Summary of the Haftarah
of all the prophets, was an eye-witness to the greatest amount of tragedy.
Weeping, he beheld the destruction of the First Temple and its
Priests, the City of Yerushalayim and much of its population, with the
rest of it sent into bitter exile in Babylon.
his very first message to his People, which appears at the end of the
Haftarah, as a bright ring around a storm-cloud, is a message of
the eternal love of HaShem, the first love of a groom for his bride, even
if she becomes unfaithful - because in the end, they will be reconciled
One to the other.
was a Kohen, who lived in the City of Anatot, in the Tribal portion of
His period of Prophecy spanned three Kings of Yehudah:
Yoshiyahu ben Amon, Yehoyakim ben Yoshiyahu until the end of the
eleventh year of the reign of Tzidkiyahu ben Yoshiyahu, the last King of
Yehudah, who presided over the burning and sacking of the City of
Yerushalayim and the Destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians.
Word of G-d came to Yirmiyahu saying: "While you were still in your
mother's womb, I knew you and I sanctified you, and appointed you as
Prophet to the Nations.
Alas, L-rd G-d, I know not how to speak, for I am young and
HaShem sent forth His Hand, and touched my mouth, and He said:
"Behold, I have put my word into your mouth.
Know that I have appointed you today over the Nations and over the
Kingdoms to uproot, to break down, to eliminate and to destroy - ultimately,
to build and to plant!"
Word of the L-rd came to me saying:
"What do you see, Yirmiyahu?"
I see an almond branch.
the Word of HaShem came to me a second time, saying: "What do you
I see a boiling pot, and its opening faces the north
I will pronounce my judgments upon them, for all of their evil; that they
abandoned me; and they burned incense to other gods, and they bowed to the
work of their hands!
And you must gird up your loins, and stand, and speak to them
everything that I command you; do not tremble before them, lest I cut you
down before them.
But I have made you into a fortified city, and an iron bar, and
copper walls against all the Land - against the Kings of Yehudah, their
officers, their Priests, and the People of the Land.
will fight against you, but will not be able to overcome you, for I am
with you, promises HaShem, to save you.
the Word of G-d came to me to say, "Go and say in the ears of
Yerushalayim, 'I remember the kindness of your youth, the love of your
engagement time; when you followed Me into the desert, a land that was not sown.'
Israel is holy unto the
It is His first produce; anyone who attempts to devour it, will
be utterly destroyed; evil will come upon him, promises HaShem."
Rabbi Pinchas Frankel
Rabbi Frankel is an Educational Coordinator at the OU