Haftarah Helper – Simchat Torah

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Joshua 1:1-18

The Haftarah picks up immediately after Moses’s death in today’s Torah reading. Joshua takes the reins of leadership with multiple tasks before him, including crossing the Jordan River and conquering the land of Canaan.  He must also ensure that the two and a half tribes whom Moshe permitted to settle the East Bank of the Jordan keep their promise to first conquer the land, as recounted in Numbers, chapter 32. In these endeavors, God gives Joshua His support, as do the people, and commands him to be “strong and resolute.”

Haftarah Breakdown

Verses 1-6: God promises Joshua that his leadership will be as strong as Moses’s, especially in the conquest of the Land.

Joshua 1:5 יהושע א:ה
No man shall stand up before you all the days of your life: as I was with Moses, so shall I be with you. I will not fail you, and I will not abandon you. לֹֽא־יִתְיַצֵּ֥ב אִישׁ֙ לְפָנֶ֔יךָ כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֣י חַיֶּ֑יךָ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֨ר הָיִ֤יתִי עִם־מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶהְיֶ֣ה עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹ֥א אַרְפְּךָ֖ וְלֹ֥א אֶעֶזְבֶֽךָּ׃

Verses 7-9: To succeed in his missions, Joshua must continuously study the Torah and observe it completely.

Joshua 1:8 יהושע א:ח
This book of the Torah shall not leave your mouth; you shall meditate therein day and night in order for you to carefully do all that is written in it.  For [only] then will you succeed in all your ways and [only] then will you prosper. לֹֽא־יָמ֡וּשׁ סֵפֶר֩ הַתּוֹרָ֨ה הַזֶּ֜ה מִפִּ֗יךָ וְהָגִ֤יתָ בּוֹ֙ יוֹמָ֣ם וָלַ֔יְלָה לְמַ֙עַן֙ תִּשְׁמֹ֣ר לַעֲשׂ֔וֹת כְּכָל־הַכָּת֖וּב בּ֑וֹ כִּי־אָ֛ז תַּצְלִ֥יחַ אֶת־דְּרָכֶ֖ךָ וְאָ֥ז תַּשְׂכִּֽיל׃

Verses 10-11: Joshua commands the people to prepare to cross the Jordan.

Joshua 1:11 יהושע א:י״א
Go through the midst of the camp and command the nation saying: “Prepare provision for yourselves, for in another three days you will cross this Jordan to enter and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you to inherit.” עִבְר֣וּ ׀ בְּקֶ֣רֶב הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֗ה וְצַוּ֤וּ אֶת־הָעָם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר הָכִ֥ינוּ לָכֶ֖ם צֵידָ֑ה כִּ֞י בְּע֣וֹד ׀ שְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת יָמִ֗ים אַתֶּם֙ עֹֽבְרִים֙ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֣ן הַזֶּ֔ה לָבוֹא֙ לָרֶ֣שֶׁת אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁר֙ ה’ אֱלֹֽקיכֶ֔ם נֹתֵ֥ן לָכֶ֖ם לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ׃

Verses 12-15: Joshua reminds the two and a half tribes to keep their promise to Moses.

Joshua 1:13 יהושע א:י״ג
Remember the word that Moses, servant of the Lord, commanded you, saying: “The Lord your God is giving you rest, and has given you this land.” זָכוֹר֙ אֶת־הַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֨ר צִוָּ֥ה אֶתְכֶ֛ם מֹשֶׁ֥ה עֶֽבֶד־ה’ לֵאמֹ֑ר ה’ אֱלֹקיכֶם֙ מֵנִ֣יחַ לָכֶ֔ם וְנָתַ֥ן לָכֶ֖ם אֶת־הָאָ֥רֶץ הַזֹּֽאת׃

Verses 16-18: The tribes commit to fulfilling their promise, and to fully serve Joshua.

Joshua 1:16 יהושע א:ט״ז
They answered Joshua, saying: “All that you have commanded us, we shall do; and wherever you shall send us, we shall go.” וַֽיַּעֲנ֔וּ אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ לֵאמֹ֑ר כֹּ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוִּיתָ֙נוּ֙ נַֽעֲשֶׂ֔ה וְאֶֽל־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר תִּשְׁלָחֵ֖נוּ נֵלֵֽךְ׃

 Parashah Connections

Among all Haftarot of the year, this Haftarah features the most explicit connection to its Torah reading.  The conclusion of the Torah reading…

Deuteronomy 34:5 דברים ל״ד:ה
Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there, in the land of Moab, by the mouth of the Lord. וַיָּ֨מָת שָׁ֜ם מֹשֶׁ֧ה עֶֽבֶד־ה’ בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מוֹאָ֖ב עַל־פִּ֥י ה’

… leads directly into the Haftarah opening verse:

Joshua 1:1 יהושע א:א
It happened after the death of Moses, servant of the Lord, that the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying… וַיְהִ֗י אַחֲרֵ֛י מ֥וֹת מֹשֶׁ֖ה עֶ֣בֶד ה’ וַיֹּ֤אמֶר ה֙’ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֔וּן מְשָׁרֵ֥ת מֹשֶׁ֖ה לֵאמֹֽר…

 Other Connections

The requirement of daily Torah study is derived from the Haftarah across halachic literature, including here:

Kitzur Shulchan Arukh 27:2 קיצור שלחן ערוך כ״ז:ב
Every Jew must study the Torah, no matter whether he is poor or rich, whether he is healthy or suffering pain, whether he is young or very old. Even a beggar who goes from door to door must set aside a certain time for Torah study during the day and night, as [Joshua 1:8] is written:”You shall meditate therein day and night.” כָּל אִישׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל חַיָּב לִלְמֹד תּוֹרָה, בֵּין עָנִי בֵּין עָשִׁיר, בֵּין שָׁלֵם בְּגוּפוֹ בֵּין בַּעַל יִסּוּרִין, בֵּין בָּחוּר בֵּין זָקֵן גָּדוֹל. אֲפִלּוּ עָנִי הַמַּחְזִיר עַל הַפְּתָחִים, חַיָּב לִקְבֹּעַ לוֹ זְמַן לְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְהָגִיתָ בּוֹ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה.

God’s grant of absolute power to Joshua is accorded to every Jewish king over his subjects.

Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars 3:8 משנה תורה, הלכות מלכים ומלחמות ג:ח
A king may execute anyone who rebels against him. Even if the king decreed that someone must go to a particular place but he did not go there; or, that he may not leave his house, but he left – [such a rebel] is liable to the death penalty. If [the king] wishes, he must be executed, as [Joshua 1:18] states, “Any man who rebels against [commands issued by] your mouth […shall be put to death.]” כָּל הַמּוֹרֵד בְּמֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ לַמֶּלֶךְ רְשׁוּת לְהָרְגוֹ. אֲפִלּוּ גָּזַר עַל אֶחָד מִשְּׁאָר הָעָם שֶׁיֵּלֵךְ לְמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי וְלֹא הָלַךְ אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יָצָא מִבֵּיתוֹ וְיָצָא חַיָּב מִיתָה. וְאִם רָצָה לְהָרְגוֹ יֵהָרֵג. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע א יח) “כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יַמְרֶה אֶת פִּיךָ”.

With emendations, biblical translations are by Rabbi A. J. Rosenberg and other translations are from Sefaria.org.

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