The blessing before the Haftorah is sung in the minor key--a reflective, serious tone. Yet the blessings chanted after the Haftorah are sung in the major key--bright and joyful.
Furthermore, four blessings are recited after the reading of the Haftorah. However, only one blessing is said beforehand. During the Torah reading, too, only one blessing is recited both before and after each section.
Why are the blessings after the Haftorah sung in a bright and cheerful tone? And why do we conclude with three extra blessings?
The answer, I believe, stems from the prophecies recorded in the Haftoros. The Torah, by contrast, doesn't generally deal with prophecy. Aside from the predictions in Parshas Bechukosai and Parshas Ki Savo of our punishment and exile from the Land resulting from our lack of loyalty to the Torah, there is very little prediction of the future in the Torah.
The Haftoros, however, are entirely different. Most are taken from the great books of the Prophets and relate to the future redemption of our people, our return to the Land, and our overt perception of the Divine in that time. They engage our emunah, our trust in Hashem. The Haftoros paint all sorts of pictures for the future of mankind in general and the Jewish people in particular.
In order to express our confidence in these Divine promises, we sing the blessings in a confident and joyful tune. The blessings themselves speak of these promises. The first two blessinngs after the Haftorah praises G-d as trustworthy.
We believe in these prophecies, and through their reading and the blessings that follow we amplify that belief. We are confident that all of G-d's promises will be fulfilled.Our confidence in Divine predictions is what connects us to Avraham Avinu, who never saw the fulfillment of Hashem's promise to him that his descendents would inherit the Land of Canaan.
Avraham was given other promises by Hashem that he did see--you will be famous, you will be wealthy, you will have children. But the one that was the essence of his relationship with Hashem--the promise of the Land--was never realized in his lifetime. In fact, Hashem told him this; he would not live to see it happen.This is one of the great images of Avraham--the one who trusted in the promises of Hashem, knowing that he would never see their fulfillment.
We, who have lived to see the fulfillment of many promises, have much more reason to sing the blessings of the Haftorah in a joyful manner, confident that many more promises will yet be fulfilled.
Rabbi Reuven Tradburks
Rabbi Tradburks is the rabbi of Kehillat Shaarei Torah in Willowdale, Ontario.
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