Posts Tagged ‘Haftarah’

30
Mar

Arguing with God-Haftarah Shabbat HaGadol

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week

“Your words have been harsh against Me, says God. Yet you say, what have we spoken against You? You have said, it is useless to serve God; what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance and that we have walked as mourners before the Lord of Hosts? So now we call the proud sinners with praise, for those who do wickedness are raised up; they have even tested God and been spared (Malachi 3:13–15).”

“What’s the use in serving God? No matter what we do, we still get abused; we don’t have anything, and we are prosperous!” These are their words even though they had just been relieved from seventy years of captivity and slavery!

King David describes his response to such arguments and complaints in Psalm 73:

This is what the wicked are like

always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure

and have washed my hands in innocence.

All day long I have been afflicted,

and every morning brings new punishments.


If I had spoken out like that,

I would have betrayed Your children.

When I tried to understand all this,

it troubled me deeply

till I entered the sanctuary of God;

then I understood their final destiny.

Surely You place them on slippery ground;

You cast them down to ruin.

How suddenly are they destroyed,

completely swept away by terrors!

They are like a dream when one awakes;

so You, My Master,

You will despise them as fantasies.

When my heart was grieved

and my spirit embittered,

I was senseless and ignorant;

I was a brute beast before You.

Yet I am always with You;

You hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

and with glory You will receive me.

Whom have I in heaven but You?

And earth has nothing I desire besides You.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but the Lord is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.

Those who are far from You will perish;

You destroy all who are unfaithful to You.

But as for me, it is good to be near God.

I have made My Master, the Lord God my refuge;

I will tell of all Your deeds.

Isaiah too, responded to such complaints:

“But now listen, Jacob, my servant,

Israel, whom I have chosen.

This is what God says—

He who made you, Who formed you in the womb,

and who will help you:

Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,

Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.

For I will pour water on the thirsty land,

and streams on the dry ground;

I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,

and my blessing on your descendants.

They will spring up like grass in a meadow,

like poplar trees by flowing streams.

Some will say, ‘I belong to God’;

others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;

still others will write on their hand, ‘God’s,’

and will take the name Israel (Isaiah 44:1-5).”

Malachi continues his message by reminding us that each word we speak is recorded:

“Then those who feared God talked with each other, and God listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared God and honored His name.

‘On the day when I act,’ says God, Master of Legions,, ‘they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.  And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve the Lord and those who do not’ (Malachi 3:16-18).”

Malachi well understands our fears and frustrations. He urges us to accept God’s promise of assurance and protection. He wants us to remember that each word of complaint we speak leaves a permanent Mark on our soul. He urges us to fear God, not His wrath, but rather to be in awe of Him, and hold on to His promise of protection just as did the Children of Israel when they risked their lives and took the animal worshiped as a god by the Egyptians and tied them up in front of their homes, provoking their former masters, and saying, “We fear God, not you.”

When the people returned from Babylon to Jerusalem they were still frightened of the military powers who threatened their existence in their new home. They did not fear God as much as they feared men. They cried out against God, rather than to Him, in rejection and anger, rather than connection. They were unchanged despite experiencing redemption. Their complaints were no different from those in King David’s time, and those to whom Isaiah spoke. Their words were the same even after experiencing Redemption. This is our challenge on Pesach- “Peh Sach,” a mouth that converses; has our vocabulary and speech changed because of our positive experiences? (Please see our special series on TheFoundationStone.org: Nisan-Perfecting Our Speech, and Nisan-Fighting The Fire of Anger)

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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30
Mar

The Silversmith-Haftarah Shabbat HaGadol

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week

The verse in Malachi immediately preceding the beginning of this week’s Haftarah reads, “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to God and offering in righteousness and (Malachi 3:2–3).”

A man wanted to learn more about the process of refining silver to better understand these verses. He went to a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. As he watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.

He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest to burn away all the impurities. The man reflected on God holding us in such a hotspot. He thought again about the verse, that God sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.

He asked the silversmith if it were true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. if this silver were left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The man was silent for a moment, then asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”

He smiled and answered, “Oh, that’s easy; when I see my image in it.”

When we speak of God as the Refiner, although we may remember that the refiner holds the silver in the hottest spot, He keeps His eyes on that which is precious every moment to prevent it from being damaged, and He holds it carefully He can see until His own image in it; in us.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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13
Mar

Impurity in the Relationship

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week

This week’s Haftarah begins, “Again the word of God came to me: ‘Son of man, the house of Israel are living in their own land, they defile it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was as the impurity of a menstruous woman in my sight’ (Ezekiel 36:16-17).” The Radak explains: The impurity of a menstruous woman is temporary; it lasts until her period ends and she goes to the Mikvah, hinting that the impurity of the House of Israel is temporary, and can be purified. The metaphor hints that God will eventually restore His relationship with the House of Israel just as a husband returns to his wife when she is purified.

This is one of those times when I read a verse and can recite the morning blessing, “Who did not make me a woman,” with extra intention! What a horrible message to send to women! Is a woman to feel that her period with its separation is similar to Israel in exile because of their sins?

A woman doesn’t have a choice whether to menstruate. The impurity happens to her. Is God implying to Ezekiel that the House of Israel is the victim of its impurity? The metaphor hints that the conduct of the House of Israel happened to them as a period happens to a woman!

The tense also implies that this impurity is endemic to whenever the House of Israel dwells in their own land; Ezekiel is addressing the exiles who are living in Babylon, outside of Israel, and yet he says, “The House of Israel are living in their own land, they defile it,” in the present tense.

I suggest that the “impurity” is not that of the actual period, and that the “menstruating woman” is not a woman who is having her period, but a woman who is still in the stage of life when she has a regular period:

Imagine a couple who are having the most intense physical and emotional intimacy of their lives for two weeks. They are experiencing the deepest connection to each other and feel unified as never before. They both know that, as wonderful as these two weeks are, the woman will soon have her period, and the physical intimacy will be temporarily suspended. They want the emotional intimacy to continue, but they wonder whether it will last despite their physical separation. The “period” with its distance is present in their minds even as they are so connected. The question, “Will it last?” is a constant, even when all is well. There is a hint of “impurity,” or separation, even in their deep connection.

Is our relationship with God any different? Do we not wonder “Will it last?” even in our moments of deepest connection with God? Is there not a constant hint of separation even when we are attached to God?

Even when the “the house of Israel are living in their own land,” we know that we can lose our land, and question the consistency of our relationship with God. The question introduces a hint of separation into our, “conduct and their actions.” That is the impurity God is describing to Ezekiel.

[Consider the Golden Calf, for which the Red Heifer is brought as an atonement, and how the Children of Israel needed physical intimacy with God.]

[Consider the metaphor of why an impure person may not enter the Tabernacle grounds: someone who lives with the question, “How long will it last?” may not enter the place of deepest physical intimacy with God.]

There is a challenge in this metaphor of rebuke: “You are in exile. You are separated from God’s House and land. If you experience the distance as damaging the relationship; that without physical intimacy you cannot have emotional connection, you are not ready to return to the land! You may return, but you will still relate to Me with that seed of “impurity” and separation, wondering how long all this will last.”

“However, if you connect with Me despite the physical separation, you will learn to experience physical intimacy with Me, living in My land, coming to My house, without doubt, insecurity, a seed of impurity.”

This is the only way that Ezekiel can introduce his revolutionary approach in this, the Haftarah of Parah…

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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16
Feb

Halfway There

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Prayer

As we read the Historical Background of this week’s Haftarah and the story in the Haftarah we cannot fail to notice how often people rise to extraordinary positions and accomplishments, successfully battle evil, only to have them fall and fail just like the wicked people they destroyed.

We read the story of Yehu (Yehu’s Failure) and how he was charged by Elisha through Jonah to correct a terrible tragedy in Israel. Yehu rises to the challenge and fulfills his mission, only to eventually fail. How does such a great person, who accomplishes so much, fail to maintain that greatness and those accomplishments?

We will read the story of Yoash, a boy so special, having been raised by Yehoiada inside the inner sanctum of the Temple of God, rising to the position of king and restoring God’s House, eventually betraying his adopted father and teacher by turning away from God and assassinating Zechariah, Yehoiada’s son, inside the Temple grounds. How does such a great person, who soared so high, fall so low?

In this week’s portion, Mishpatim, we read of the Children of Israel rising beyond what they experienced during Revelation in the previous portion, and declaring before God, “We will do and we will relate.” We read the story of awesome human beings who ascended so high on Sinai that they are able to see Heaven with clarity. Yet, the people who achieved this great level, just forty days later sin with the Golden Calf. The men who ascended so high to see Heaven, moments after this awesome spiritual achievement, provoke God by eating and drinking in His Presence. How is it that people who soar so high fall so low?

Perhaps this is the lesson of the Half Shekel: no matter how much we achieve, no matter how high we soar, we are only half way there. We cannot rely on what we have achieved. We cannot feel safe in our achievements. We are only part of the way there.

This may also explain why we repeat the process of 3 steps back and 3 steps forward that we took at the beginning of our Shmoneh Esrei at the end: We are reminding ourselves how quickly we can lose all we have achieved in our prayer. We do not stand in security. We stand only half way there.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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15
Feb

Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text VII-A Limited Vision

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week

“The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or any other articles of gold or silver for the Temple of God; it was paid to the workers, who used it to repair the temple. They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty (II Kings 12:13-15).”

It is interesting to note that the king who was protectively hidden in the Temple chose to focus his efforts on repairing the building and not the vessels. He was not focused on the service of God, which may be a hint to the disaster that would soon follow – See “Reading the Text V-The Seeds of Destruction.” When we consider Yoash’s lack of faithfulness to Yehoiada after his death, we can posit that Yoash believed that he need only be grateful to God and His Temple, and not to Yehoiada.

There is another hint to Yoash’s limited vision: “They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty.” When we study the Mishnah’s description of the laws of Shekalim, we find an extraordinary insistence on avoiding any possibility of appearing guilty or dishonest:

THE KOHEN WHO MADE THE APPROPRIATION (of the Shekel) DID NOT ENTER THE CHAMBER WEARING EITHER A BORDERED (hemmed) CLOAK OR SHOES OR SANDALS OR TEFILLIN OR AN AMULET, LEST IF HE BECAME POOR PEOPLE MIGHT SAY THAT HE BECAME POOR BECAUSE OF AN INIQUITY COMMITTED IN THE CHAMBER (stealing by hiding coins inside one of these items), OR IF HE BECAME RICH PEOPLE MIGHT SAY THAT HE BECAME RICH FROM THE APPROPRIATION IN THE CHAMBER. FOR IT IS A MAN’S DUTY TO BE FREE OF BLAME BEFORE MEN AS BEFORE GOD, AS IT IS SAID: “AND BE GUILTLESS TOWARDS GOD AND TOWARDS ISRAEL (Numbers 32:22),” AND AGAIN IT SAYS: “SO SHALL YOU FIND FAVOR AND GOOD UNDERSTANDING IN THE SIGHT OF GOD AND MAN (Proverbs 3:4).” (Shekalim, Chapter 3:2)

We would think that Yoash, fully aware of the distrust of the people in power (See, “Reading the Text III”), would be more sensitive to earning the masses’ trust, but he was not. We once again find the Seeds of Destruction in Yoash’s behavior even when all seemed well.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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14
Feb

Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text VI

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week

“Yoash said to the kohanim, ‘Collect all the money that is brought as sacred offerings to the temple of God—the money collected in the census, the money received from personal vows and the money brought voluntarily to the temple. Let every kohen receive the money from one of the treasurers, then use it to repair whatever damage is found in the temple’ (II Kings 12:4-5).”

In our text, the treasurers would receive money that was brought to the Temple, and then handed the money over to a kohen who was instructed to use the money to repair any damage found in the Temple. It didn’t matter whether the money had been brought as part of the census, whether it had been brought to pay a personal vow or donation, the King wanted all monies received to be used to repair the damage, probably the damage caused by Athaliah, the wicked queen who had massacred so much of the royal family.

It is important to note that in a different version of our story, Yehoiada had already taken steps to preserve the sanctity of the Temple and its service:

“Then Yehoiada placed the oversight of the temple of God in the hands of the Levitical kohanim, to whom David had made assignments in the temple, to present the burnt offerings of God as written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and singing, as David had ordered. He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of God’s temple so that no one who was in any way unclean might enter (II Chronicles 24:18-19).”

In this version of our story, Yoash is following the path begun by his teacher Yehoiada.

However, there are more significant differences in this story in the Book of Chronicles in which Yoash does not want the authorities to wait for funds that are brought to the Temple, but instructs them to go out and raise the funds:

“Some time later Yoash decided to restore the temple of God. He called together the kohanim and Levites and said to them, ‘Go to the towns of Judah and collect the money due annually from all Israel, to repair the temple of your God. Do it now.’ But the Levites did not act at once (II Chronicles 25:4-5).”

In our text, the King wants the people to understand that repairing the Temple is as important as participating in the census, paying their vows and making donations. Yoash wants the people to appreciate that the upkeep of the Temple is as much a part of their service of God as their participation in the offerings. Our’s is a story of the king who wants to reconnect his people with the Temple in Jerusalem.

In the Chronicles version of our story, Yoash is addressing the outstanding issue of all the “High Places” where the people continue to bring the offerings without coming to Jerusalem. He sends out the leaders to the people to travel the land and collect funds for the Temple as a way to motivate the people to visit Jerusalem rather than worship God in these unauthorized places.

In both stories, the Kohanim and the Levites do not act at once. Some suggest that they wanted the damage to remain so that people would remember the sins of Athaliah and all the tragedies that led to this point of history. Is it not strange though, that rather than debate the King they simply ignore his orders? It seems that despite Yehoiada’s sophisticated strategies (See: Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text IV-Step by Step), something did not work.

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Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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14
Feb

Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text V-The Seeds of Destruction

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week

“In the seventh year of Yehu, Yoashbecame king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba. Yoash did what was right in the eyes of God all the years Yehoiada the kohen instructed him. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there (II Kings 12:1-3).”

In these few verses we find the seeds of one of the greatest tragedies that would be part of the process that led to the destruction of the Temple and part of the actual destruction; the murder of Zechariah, whose blood would bubble and boil on the Temple floor until its destruction. The verse makes it clear that Yoash only continued to do what was right in the eyes of God as long as his teacher Yehoiada lived. Yehoiada had even assumed fatherly responsibilities: “Yehoiada chose two wives for him, and he had sons and daughters (II Chronicles 25:3).” Yoash would come to murder Yehoiada’s son, a kohen and prophet. (See: Biblical Personalities-Yoash) We also see that there was still a lack of a strong connection between the people and God’s House because they continued to worship in the “High Places.”

Our story will include Yoash’s efforts to strengthen the connection between the people and the Temple, however, let us first reflect on these seeds of destruction:

“Now Yehoiada was old and full of years, and he died at the age of a hundred and thirty. He was buried with the kings in the City of David, because of the good he had done in Israel for the Lord and His temple.                         After the death of Yehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. They abandoned the temple of God, the Lord of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, the Lord’s anger came on Judah and Jerusalem. Although God sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.

Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Zechariah son of Yehoiada the kohen. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey God’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken God, he has forsaken you.’”

But they plotted against him, and by order of the king they stoned him to death in the courtyard of God’s temple. King Yoash did not remember the kindness Zechariah’s father Yehoiada had shown him but killed his son, who said as he lay dying, ‘May God see this and call you to account’ (II Chronicles 24:15-22).”

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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14
Feb

Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text IV-Step by Step

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week

All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

Then Yehoiada the kohen posted guards at the temple of God. He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the Carites, the guards and all the people of the land, and together they brought the king down from the temple of God and went into the palace, entering by way of the gate of the guards. The king then took his place on the royal throne. All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the palace.

Yoash was seven years old when he began to reign. (II Kings 11:18-21)

Yoash had already been crowned, as it says earlier, “Yehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him, and the people clapped their hands and shouted, ‘Long live the king!’ (Verse 12).” Yehoiada seems to be taking this step by step with some form of strategy in his mind. He brought the boy out into the Temple, placed the royal crown on his head, presented him with a copy of the covenant, meaning, the Torah, and after the boy held a Torah in his hands, Yehoiada proclaimed him King.

He then proceeds to seal the covenant between God, the people, and the new King, as we saw in “Reading the Text I, II, and III.” It is only at this point that the people go out to destroy the temple of Baal and execute its priest. Yehoiada wants them to destroy the temple of Baal only after they have renewed their covenant with God and the King and with each other. The attack on the temple of Baal cannot just be in anger over all the sins of the kings of Judah and the Northern Kingdom; it had to be an expression of their covenant with each other, with God, and with their King. The covenant with each other as a nation before God included the acceptance of mutual responsibility in their relationship with God. Their covenant with God was a renewal to protect His Temple and His Torah. Their covenant with the new King was a statement that he could only be King if he maintained his relationship with God through His Torah. The attack on the temple of Baal was not in anger, but an expression of their commitment to renew their relationship with God.

This is why it is only after the destruction of the temple of Baal that they can bring the new King to his palace and have him take his place on the royal throne. They would not accept a king who would lead them astray from their relationship with God.

The people were happy, the city was calm, there were no threats of political upheaval, yet, there is still a significant outstanding issue: the new King was just a boy.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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13
Feb

Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text III-The Form of the Covenant II

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week

Yehoiada then made a covenant between God and the king and people that they would be God’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

Then Yehoiada the kohen posted guards at the temple of God. He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the Carites, the guards and all the people of the land, and together they brought the king down from the temple of God and went into the palace, entering by way of the gate of the guards. The king then took his place on the royal throne. All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the palace.

Yoash was seven years old when he began to reign. (II Kings 11:17-21)

“Between God, and between the King, and between the nation… And between the King and between the nation.” There are numerous covenants being sealed in this verse. We have already discussed the initial covenant between the people and God that they would relate to each other as a nation. Yehoiada insists that the covenant not only be between the people and God, the people to each other, but that the new and young King act as a separate participant in the sealing of this covenant.

As we have seen in Historical Background V, long after Ahab had violated the covenant between God and the people, he violated the covenant between the King and the people. When he allowed Jezebel to frame Naboth so that he could seize the vineyard, Ahab violated the covenant of a King to protect his subjects. The violation was all the greater because he stepped back and allowed Jezebel, his evil Queen, to manipulate all the events so that he could pretend to be innocent. This was not just a king seizing property; this was a King seizing property under the guise of righteousness, an innocent beneficiary of someone else’s evil plan. This was the King pretending to care about his people even as he allowed Jezebel to violate them. Yehoiada insisted that the new King commit himself as King to this covenant of the nation, before God, to relate to each other as a nation. Yoash had to repair the damage that Ahab and Jezebel had done to the relationship between the King and the people. He would never succeed in truly serving as a king who could unify the people unless he too pledged himself to renew the covenant of a king to protect his subjects.

Yehoiada also had to address the damage caused by Athaliah when she massacred King David’s family (Historical Background III). The people had lost any sense of the royal families serving the people; there had been close to a century of people in power fighting only for their own power and not for the sake of the people. This renewed covenant had to reassure the people that their young and inexperienced king would focus on his role, serving God as he leads the people, and serving the nation as they relate to God.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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13
Feb

Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text II-The Form of the Covenant

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week

Yehoiada then made a covenant between God and the king and people that they would be God’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

Then Yehoiada the kohen posted guards at the temple of God. He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the Carites, the guards and all the people of the land, and together they brought the king down from the temple of God and went into the palace, entering by way of the gate of the guards. The king then took his place on the royal throne. All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the palace.

Yoash was seven years old when he began to reign. (II Kings 11:17-21)

Although the translation reads, “To be a people of God,” a more accurate reading based on the musical notes would be, “To be a nation, to God.” Yehoiada did not just want the people to make a covenant with God that they would be a nation to God, he wanted them to first make a covenant to God that they would function as a nation. It was only after they made a commitment to God to live as a nation that they could then dedicate themselves to be a nation to God.

It is also important to note that their commitment to be a nation was not a commitment between themselves, it was not a commitment to each other, but a commitment to God to interact with each other as a nation.

As we review the Historical Background to this story, we notice that efforts to live as a nation that were not a commitment to God, resulted in failure. Yehoram, “followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of God.” The King of Judah married the daughter of the King of the Ten Tribes to unify the nation but it resulted in disaster and a rejection of God. It is not enough to make a covenant to live as a nation; that covenant must be a commitment to God.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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