Haftorah Vayeshev

The Haftorah for Parashat Vayeshev comes from the prophet Amos (Amos 2:6-3:8), His period of prophecy occurred during the reign of King Uzziah in the Kingdom of Yehudah, starting two years before the earthquake (Zechariah 14:5), that was caused by Uzziah's entering the Holy of Holies to offer incense, although he was not a Kohen. The King at that time of Israel was Yeravam ben Yoash. We find the orderof how the Haftorot are made up in the talmud (Bava Batra 14).

The Haftorah opens up strongly stating how G-d would not pardon the tribes of Israel for the sale of Yosef, which we see happen in this weeks parshah, 'I will not pardon them for their selling for silver a righteous and destitute man for a pair of shoes (Amos 2:6).' We see in the Parshah how the brothers, sold Yosef off to a caravan of passing Yishmaelites (Bereishit 37:28). They should not have sold their righteous brother Yosef, it was not just an act of cruelty for their brother, also in turn it made their father, Yaakov, distraught, believing his son, Yosef, to be dead. Yosef was sold for 20 pieces of silver.

The verse states, 'upon garments held as a security they recline (Amos 2:8).'  The Torah tells us about taking security for a loan: "When you make your fellow a loan of any amount, you shall not enter his home to take security for it. You shall stand outside; and the man to whom you lend shall bring the security to you outside" (Devarim 24:10-11). The Prophet is telling us, how despite they were entitled to take as security, garments, they should not abuse it but respect it, however the prophet scorns Israel as they could not observe this commandment properly.

Amos states referring G-d 'I brought you up out of the land of Egypt and I led you in the wilderness for forty years (Amos 2:10).' The whole point of wandering us around the wilderness for those forty years was so that that it would prepare the nation to receive the Torah and keep to all the Mitzvot. Interestingly enough, it was Yosef that started off the period in the Egyptian exile in this weeks reading as he was sold to the house of Potiphar, eventually which would result in him being wrongly placed in jail and amazingly becoming the deputy of Egypt.

Once again the prophet hints to this weeks reading, stating, 'I established some of your children as prophets (Amos 2:11),' We see incredible prophecy at the start of this weeks reading, Yosef has dreams which despite making his brothers jealous, came true at the end, showing how G-d really establishes prophecy among the children of Israel, we see the opposite true of Yaakov, a prophet, had his prophecy withdrawn from him for 22 years, during the 22 year period he believed Yosef to be dead, since he was in a sad mood. In order to recieve G-d's Presence, it requires involvement in the joy of a Mitzvah: (Pesachim 117a)

Israel is correctly criticized, 'you piled the nazirites with wine and the prophets you told not to prophecies (Amos 2:12).' This was very bad attitude on the part of Israel, when people are striving to be righteous, they should help each other out and encourage Mitzvot, a Nazirite, is trying to stay away from worldly pleasures in order to get closer to G-d; however the people leading the Nazir astray are also in turn turning him away from G-d!
A steering message is given over to Israel, 'only you have I know among all the families of earth, because of this I will visit upon you all iniquities (Amos 3:2).' This is referring to punishment that would come at a time when Israel were not adhering too the Torah, G-d gave the precious Torah to the Jewish nation and no other nation! In turn, just as we get bounty for the different mitzvot kept, G-d, as a loving father, punishes us if we stray away from what we are commanded to do. Unfortunately over history we have sometimes strayed so far from G-d that he visited many heavy punishments in retribution.

The prophet concludes the Haftorah stating, 'A lion has roared, who would not fear (Amos 3:8).' We see in this weeks reading, Yehudah, compared to a lion, did not shy away from two situations, in impregnating his daughter in law, Tamar, while she was out to be executed and in not killing Yosef and only selling him as a slave instead.

This weeks Dvar Torah is for the Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Sameach to make a full healthy recovery. His Hebrew name is Chano Menachem Mendel Ben Shezizya Genendel.