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Forever

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29.07.2021

I’m a bit of a weirdo. I get that. I find that often in conversations at work I play the role of the contrarian. I’m probably the only Orthodox Jew in my zip code with a pair of cowboy boots, much to my daughter’s embarrassment. And I like haftorahs. I know that enjoying biblical poetry is weird and I’m not going to try and change your mind. I just want to let you know that this week’s haftorah has a particularly vivid and beautiful set of images.

To really enjoy a haftorah, like a connoisseur enjoying wine, you have to do the literary equivalent of swirling it around in your glass and breathing it in. That is of course, you have to understand just a bit about who is speaking, to whom they are speaking, and what happened just before and just after this little vignette. One reason that I think the haftorahs don’t capture people’s attention is that MOST haftorahs come from the Navi Yishayahu (Isaiah) and as everyone knows [all together class] Yishyahu is arranged thematically NOT chronologically. That makes understanding the historical context a bit challenging. In summary, the first half or so of the book of Yishayahu is all about how if the Jewish people are bad then the nation will be attacked, and the people will suffer. Then there is a small chunk of the sefer that changes from biblical poetry to narrative, and the Assyrian invasion of Judea and the siege of Jerusalem, and the miraculous salvation of Jerusalem and the Davidic dynasty are discussed. The third chunk of the sefer is filled with prophesies that talk about reward, and good times, and big promises and consolation. Our haftorah comes from this part.

The last thing I want to say as an introduction is that to really appreciate what the navi is saying I think you have to read it as if you were using 3-D glasses. Remember the old style 3-D glasses where one lens was red and the other blue? (Nowadays they use polarized lenses that lets different wavelengths of light into each eye. But don’t worry, that won’t be on the test.) That’s the idea here but with one lens you have to see what the navi meant to the people in........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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