For the third consecutive week, we will be reading the Haftorah from the book of
Isaiah, in fact the Haftorah will be focusing on sections of the Chapters 40 and 41,
which are Chapters written just before the Haftorah for Bereishit.
There are many connections with the Haftorah and the Parshah, we almost instantly
see the prophet compare Yaakov with Israel (Isaiah 40:27), in fact later on in the book
of Bereishit, another name given to the patriarch Yaakov, will be Israel.
The Haftorah enters Chapter 41 with Isaiah stating 'He spread nations before him,
and ruled over Kings, with his sword he made them as dust, with his bow, he made
them scatter with the wind, (Isaiah 41:2)' In fact this very much eludes to the War of
the Four Kings against the Five Kings in this weeks Torah reading, where Avraham
successfully chased and defeated the mighty Four Kings, guided by Kedarlaomer.
In fact the Talmud states that he defeated these four mighty Kingdoms with an army
of only 318 people (Nedarim 32), this was purely in order to save his nephew Lot
Several verses later the prophet states 'Yaakov, whom I have chosen, the Seed of
Avraham, who loved me (Isaiah 41:8),' This proves how Yaakov is considered a
descendant of Avraham, maybe not just in his physical and spiritual make up, being
the grandson of Avraham, however also in the way he had great belief in G-d and how
he behaved in all undertakings, following the rules of the Torah to its greatest extent,
as obviously at that point the Torah had not been given until we see in Parashat Yitro.
The next verse brings about another comparison with Parshat Lech Lecha, as the
prophet states how the Jews are the most powerful of all nations, how the Jews are his
servants and how G-d has chosen the Jews and not rejected them. In the Parsha, G-d
states to Avram (Bereishit 15:5) how his descendants would be so many, comparable
to the stars in the sky.
Later on in the Haftorah, Isaiah states 'Fear not caterpillar, Yaakov, you men of
Israel, I will help you,' It was brought down by the commentator, the Radak, that the
Medrash Yelamdenu asks, why was Israel compared to a caterpillar? The answer
provided is that just as a caterpillar attacks the cedars only with its mouth, so too
Israel is victorious over its enemies only via the weapon of its mouth, through the
acts of prayer. In fact in Parashat Toldot, when Yitzchak gives Eisav his blessing, he
states how when Eisav will be aggravated, he has the right to fight Yaakov (Bereishit
27:40), this is would be at times when the descendants of Yaakov would not be
using there mouths in prayer to G-d! Likewise, during the war against Amalek, when
Moshe's hands were directed towards heaven in prayer, the Jews had the upper hand,
when his arms were down, they were losing (Shemot 17:11/ Mishna Rosh Hashana
The Haftorah concludes stating how we will rejoice in G-d and be praised with the
holy one of Israel (Isaiah 41:16), this verse proves how much trust we have in G-d,
that everything he does is for the best, very much represented by the various Berachot
we say each day thanking G-d for sustenance, and our diverse different prayers to G-d
everyday and different days of the week/year.