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Haftara of the week: Parshat Vaera 5777

Topic: Rosh Chodesh and its Haftarah

 

One of the few Talmudic Haftarah designations is for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh, the last chapter of the book of Yeshayahu (Isaiah), chapter 66.

 

This chapter which entails  the redemption as a new creation and speaks about a new heavenly and earthly creation clearly points to a new beginning and renewal of nature. Thus one verse before the last, the world future will be so special by mankind, literally coming up to the holy Temple to bow down to the one G-d of the world during the course of the week and Rosh Chodesh. Due tot eh last pasook of the chapter that mentions a lot of harsh judgement, we repeat for the conclusion of the haftarah the aforementioned verse citing mankind’s holy ascent to Jerusalem.

 

Three points remain in reference to the text of the Rosh Chodesh Mussaf (Additional) offering from the book of Bamidbar Chapter 28.

 

  1. The text say, “Uv’rashei chodshei’hem,” the suffix, “yours” (plural) denotes a special bond to “you,” the Jewish people.
  2. The nation of Israel sanctifies our lunar calendar.
  3. Over the coursed of generations, members of Israel have celebrated the new month and have also abstained from work.
  4. In vs. 14, it states “L’chodsha Hashanah,” Don’t make a mistake and think that our additional offering is only perhaps twice a year like on the month of Nissan and the month of Tishrei which are new years, rather each and every month we ascend to a closeness to G-d by bringing the Rosh Chodesh Mussaf offering.
  5. In verse 15, the text states that the one goat sin offering is “La’HaShem.” Many raise the question that in all the other sin offerings of the holidays of our calendar year, the term “LaHaShem” is not stated. Rabbi Jacobson in his Sefer Chazon Hamikra, brings Maimonides (Rambam) that teaches us in the Guide to the Perplexed that in the Egyptian culture they would serve the moon and bring sacrifices in the appearance of the new moon. We the nation of Israel, are to sacrifice “LaHaShem,” for the sake of one G-d.

 

        Another idea expressed by Rabi Ovadia Seforno, who explains that the nation of Israel is likened to the moon, just like al of the moon’s accomplishments at providing light is only a reflection of the light of something else, and not independent. So too, the nation of Israel, all it’s ascents and successes are attributed to the help of the light of HaShem. In response to the Talmudic passage in Chullin Page 60 side 2, that the Rosh Chodesh offering is an atonement for G-d who shrunk the size of the moon. The Seforno transforms this passage and understands it as a metaphor reflecting Israel that through the atonement on Rosh Chodesh, they will have a salvation and cleansing from all the desecration to G-d. Namely, a sin offering for G-d, is that the atonement of Israel is to sanctify G-d’s Name.

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