Toldot - 5761
of Parshat Toldot, according to both the Sefardic
and the Ashkenazic
communities is taken this week from the Book of "Malachi, "Perek"/Chapter
1, "Passuk"/Verse 1 - "Perek"/Chapter 2, "Passuk"/Verse
Chaggai, Zechariah and Malachi (approx. 526 B.C.E.
- 490 B.C.E.)
One of the
major themes of the Prophecy of Chaggai and Zechariah was the
encouragement of the People of Yehudah to rebuild the Temple that had
been destroyed by the
Babylonians in 586 B.C.E., despite the efforts of the "Shomronim"
(the "not-so-good" Samaritans) to interfere with the
reconstruction of the Temple in Yerushalayim.
prophesied somewhat later, when the Temple had already been built and was
functioning, but the Jewish People were not treating it with the proper
reverence, as we will see below.
actually did all prophecy together at one time; namely, the second year of
the Persian King, Daryavesh who, according to the Midrash,
was the son of Queen Esther.
Summary of the Haftarah
begins by portraying a debate between G-d and the People of Israel. The
debate begins with G-d speaking first,
loved you, says HaShem,
takes to task in particular, the "Kohanim," the Priests, who were
supposed to be the guardians of the spiritual life of the People, for their
negligence in the above regard. For
they have permitted the People to act in this contemptuous manner,
encouraging the belief that the altar of G-d, the Table of Holiness in the
Temple, was in fact disgusting. They
have stripped the meaning and significance from the sacrifices, and it would
be better, says HaShem, to close the doors of the Temple, rather than
continue the Divine Service which had come to be seen in the eyes of the
People as meaningless.
have failed to live up to the legacy of the great Priests, the heroes of the
Tribe of Levi: Aharon,
the Peacemaker par excellence, and Elazar, his son, who followed in his
ways. And Pinchas, who was
zealous for the Name of the L-rd, and
didn't permit the sinners Zimri and Cuzbi, the Prince of Israel and the
Princess of Midian, to live together in public, in desecration of HaShem's
ends with a word portrait of the ideal "Kohen:"
the lips of the Priest should guard knowledge,
the last of the Prophets, was a member of the "Anshei
K'nesset HaGedolah," "Men of the Great Assembly," a group
of 120 members that met for about 200 years at the beginning of the Second
Temple period, and provided critical leadership for the Jewish People at
that time. They were the ones who defined the contents of the Hebrew
Bible, as well as organized the public prayers, and enacted important
and his colleagues realized that the Spirit of Prophecy was about to
withdraw from the Jewish People
for a long period, they ordained that the twelve "Minor Prophets"
("minor" only in the
sense of quantity, not quality, for their meaning and value were truly
"l'dorot," for all generations),
be combined into one "Book," known as "Trei
Asar," the Twelve, and be
included in the "Sacred Canon;" that is, the Hebrew Bible.
In his final
prophecy, Malachi challenges the People to return to G-d before they are
caught up in the cataclysmic battles that will precede the arrival of the Mashiach
I will send you
shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children,
says that the Divine Presence has not totally abandoned the Jewish People in
its long Exile. Rather, the gift of Prophecy was left in the province of
(holy) fools and madmen!
Rabbi Pinchas Frankel
Rabbi Frankel is an Educational Coordinator at the OU