If you wish to study alternative selections from the Prophets and First Kings that have a more direct link to the Torah portion, read the selection from Deuteronomy 11:26 written below and then go to the book of Joshua 1-3.
Last week Zion complained and wallowed in self pity. This week, the third of seven special haftarot, the unhappy and uncomforted are promised restoration and enduring loyalty. Physical and spiritual transformation will occur; the hungry will have food, the thirsty, water. Our people will become safe and will not fear oppression. All that is necessary is that we “incline our heads and listen and we will be revived.”
How can we do this?
The month of Av is ending. Av is followed by the month of Elul and Elul by Tishrei. It is customary in some congregations to begin to think about the High Holidays, repentance and change in Elul. Actually it should begin in Av.
Consider devoting just a moment prior to each of the haftarot for seven consecutive weeks to think about your behavior and how it needs to be improved. Have I been insensitive? Arrogant? Too aggressive or not appropriately so. Have I been deceitful to others or myself? Just a moment once a week. I think it could work.
The following is a selection from this morning's Torah reading. Notice the connection to the first few chapters in the book of Joshua.
Deuteronomy 11: 26-30
Joshua 1:2-1:8 3:14-17
The difference between conquest and settlement could be indicative of the difference between the fulfillment of national myth and the reality of the time. Now that's something which I can think about. Too often we tell stories when we should or could tell the truth.
This week's commentary is a reprint of one originally written for the Unraveller on August 7, 2010 by Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of the FJMC and author of "Understanding the Haftarot. An Everyperson's Guide" and "Engaging The Non-Jewish Spouse: Strategies for Clergy and Lay Leadership"