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The Haftorah for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh

The Haftorah for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh is taken from the final perek of Sefer Yishayahu. The prophecy in this haftorah occurs just after the destruction of the first Bet Hamikdash (Temple) in Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

כֹּה אָמַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֔ה הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם כִּסְאִ֔י וְהָאָ֖רֶץ הֲדֹ֣ם רַגְלָ֑י אֵי־זֶ֥ה בַ֙יִת֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּבְנוּ־לִ֔י וְאֵי־זֶ֥ה מָק֖וֹם מְנֽוּחָתִֽי

So says the Lord, "The heavens are My throne, and the earth is My footstool; which is the house that you will build for Me, and which is the place of My rest? (Yishayahu 66:1)

Rashi explains that in the first pasuk of the Haftorah, God states that he does not need a Bet HaMikdash and that there is no house that is truly fit for the Shechina. In other words, God is simply too great to be contained in any one physical place. Instead, God’s presence permeates the entire world.

The Haftorah then describes the redemption and renewal of the Jewish people, including the ingathering of exiles and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. This is significant for Rosh Chodesh, which symbolizes the beginning of a new month and a new cycle of time. It represents an opportunity for spiritual renewal and growth, just as the Haftorah describes the renewal and rebuilding of the Jewish people.

And although the period after the Temple’s destruction is sad and mournful, the Haftorah brings a positive and happy prophecy for the future.

שִׂמְח֧וּ אֶת־יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֛ם וְגִ֥ילוּ בָ֖הּ כָּל־אֹֽהֲבֶ֑יהָ שִׂ֚ישׂוּ אִתָּהּ֙ מָשׂ֔וֹשׂ כָּל־הַמִּֽתְאַבְּלִ֖ים עָלֶֽיהָ:

Rejoice with Jerusalem and exult in her all those who love her: rejoice with her a rejoicing, all who mourn over her (Yishayahu 66:10)

But God will ultimately console the Jewish people. Jerusalem, the Bet HaMikdash, and all of Israel will be renewed again, and there will once again be a time of rejoicing. And we know that 70 years later, the Bet HaMikdash was indeed rebuilt, and Jews came back to the land of Israel. And even today, although without a Bet HaMikdash, we see that Jewish sovereignty has returned to the land of Israel, with a thriving Jewish state. In fact, there are more Jews living in Israel today than ever in history!

וְהָיָ֗ה מִֽדֵּי־חֹ֙דֶשׁ֙ בְּחָדְשׁ֔וֹ וּמִדֵּ֥י שַׁבָּ֖ת בְּשַׁבַּתּ֑וֹ יָב֧וֹא כָל־בָּשָֹ֛ר לְהִשְׁתַּֽחֲו‍ֹ֥ת לְפָנַ֖י אָמַ֥ר יְהֹוָֽה:

And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath, that all flesh shall come to prostrate themselves before Me," says the Lord. (Yishayahu 66:23)

And finally, the haftorah concludes with a statement very relevant to Shabbat Rosh Chodesh. All Jews will come back to the Bet HaMikdash in Jerusalem to bow before God, every month, and every week. And the whole world will recognize that this is truly the place of God, the home of the Jewish people.

May we all merit to see the rebuilding of the Bet Hamikdash in the very near future!

שבת שלום וחודש טוב!



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