Monday, October 12, 2009

New topic: Haftorah


Today we begin a new topic: The Haftorah (although for some readers, some of this material will be review).

The "Haftorah" is a passage from one (or more) of the Prophets, read after the weekly Torah portion on Shabbat and Holiday mornings, and on Fast Day afternoons.

Traditionally, we understand that the Haftorah-reading originated over two thousand years ago, at a time when a controlling empire forbade public reading of the Torah. To substitute for the Torah, we read from the Prophets. The practice then continued even after that decree was repealed.

There are other explanations for why we have the Haftorah, including a suggestion that we want to add reading from the Prophets to a Jew's regular Torah study, and that we want to be sure to include the Mashiach-related themes which are a constant in the Haftarot we read.

(Mishneh Berurah 284:2)

Have a great day,

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