This weekend the FJMC's Sefer Haftarah will be at the Temple Beth Sholom, Sarasota, FL.
Next week it will be at Congregation B'nai Torah, Boca Raton, FL.
This week's Unraveller is not yet sponsored.
The haftarah portion for Shabbat Parah in the FJMC Sefer Haftarah scroll, the travelling haftarah scroll that visits a different synagogue each week and contains all of the haftarot, was sponsored by Sheila Stern, et. al., in honor of Danny Stern.
FJMC New England Region
Hebrew Word Initiative
Each week, a set of 5 words are chosen by volunteers from the parsha ha'shavoa.
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Conservative/Masorti Men at the Crossroads: Responding to a Changing World
July 24-28, 2013. Boston, Massachusetts.
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March 1, 2013
This commentary is a reprint of an original written and published in 2010 by Rabbi Charles Simon.
This morning's haftarah for the special Sabbath called Shabbat Parah replaces the haftarah for Shabbat Ki Tissa. The haftarot for the four special Sabbaths that precede Passover are in many cases more closely connected thematically than many of the consecutive haftarot. In this instance the ritual of the red heifer the connection is the ritual cleansing described in the Torah portion which permits a person who has been in contact with a dead body to be purified and restored to the community; is paralleled by a prophecy describing how a nation will be purified and restored by God.
The haftarah is one of consolation and hope offered to the Judean exiles in Babylon. It can be dated around 585 B.C.E. It is divided into three parts, and highlighted by phrases that refer to having clean water sprinkled over them in order for them to be cleansed and that we/they will be given a new heart, a new spirit.
It is interesting to note that while our people's cleansing and return, are conditional upon our behaviors, they are also a result of God's realizing that his name has been diminished by his punishing of us. It seems that God failed to take into account how Judah and God would be perceived by other nations once Jerusalem fell. In short, God failed to fully consider the consequences and implications of God's actions.
Serious decisions call for serious planning. The making of choices challenges us to consider the implications of our actions before we act. Decisions that are poorly thought through can have negative implications for our loved ones and for those whom we respect. Shabbat Parah and Passover preparation calls on us to do more than simply clean our homes and purify our thoughts. The haftarah reminds us to consider the implications of our actions and decisions so that our lives may reflect a new hope and a new spirit.
This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of the FJMC and author of
"Building A Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community" Jewish Lights Publishing, and "Understanding the Haftarot: Everyperson's Guide."