Published Date: April 07, 2017
On the FIRST DAY OF PASSOVER we read from the book of Exodus (12:21-51) of the bringing of the Passover Offering in Egypt, the Plague of the Firstborn at the stroke of midnight, and how “On this very day, God took the Children of Israel out of Egypt.”
The reading for the SECOND DAY OF PASSOVER, Leviticus 22:26-23:44, includes: a list of the moadim the “appointed times” on the Jewish calendar for festive celebration of our bond with God; the mitzvah to Count the Omer (the 49-day “countdown” to the festival of Shavuot which begins on the 2nd night of Passover); and the obligation to journey to the Holy Temple to “to see and be seen before the face of God” on the three annual pilgrimage festivals Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.
The Haftara Prophets reading on the FIRST DAY OF PASSOVER Joshua 3:5-7; 5:2:15; 6:1; 6:27, mentions the Paschal sacrifice, echoing the Torah portion which describes the preparations and the sacrifice done in Egypt under Moses’ leadership.
After thirty days of mourning Moses’ passing, Joshua tells the people to prepare themselves for the crossing of the river Jordan, he tells the priests to carry the Ark of the Covenant in front of the people. God tells Joshua that He will show his greatness to the people of Israel “that they may know that as I was with Moses, so will I be with you”.
The Haftara Prophets reading on the SECOND DAY OF PASSOVER outside of Israel II Kings 23:1-9, 21-25, begins after King Josiah learns of a historic Torah scroll that had been discovered in the Holy Temple. It chronicles the public reading of the scroll and the national movement toward return to God that ensued.
Full of newfound inspiration, King Josiah had the idolatrous artifacts and priests removed from the Temple, and destroyed the other shrines that had been erected in Judea.
The Haftara Prophets reading on the SHABBAT CHOL HAMOED PESACH Ezekiel 37:1-14, we read of Ezekiel’s amazing “vision of the dry bones.” Ezekiel finds himself in a valley covered in dry bones. God tells him to tell the bones that He would cause them to reassemble themselves, grow flesh and come to life, and so it was.
After the newly constituted people come to life, God tells Ezekiel that the people he sees represent the Jewish people, who have been reduced to a hopeless and lifeless skeleton of their former glory. Yet God will breathe new life into them, and they will once again flourish.
The Haftara Prophets reading on the SEVENTH DAY OF PASSOVER II Samuel 22:1-51, describes the song King David composed in his old age, echoing the weekly Torah reading, where Moses delivers his parting words to the Jewish nation in song form.
David’s song expresses gratitude to God for saving him from all his enemies. He starts with the famous words, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress.” He goes on to describe the pain and hardships he encountered and reiterates that he always turned to God in his moments of distress. He recounts God’s reaction to those who tormented him: “The Lord thundered from heaven; and the Most High gave forth His voice. And He sent out arrows and He scattered them, lightning and He discomfited them. . . I have pursued my enemies and have destroyed them; never turning back until they were consumed.”
The Haftara Prophets reading on the EIGHTH DAY OF PASSOVER outside of Israel Isaiah 10:32-12:16, is a prophecy by Isaiah regarding the messianic time to come. He foretells of “a staff from the shoot of Jesse,” father of King David, upon whom the Divine spirit will rest and who will be able to judge honestly by way of smell.
The prophet tells us that “the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie with the kid goat; the calf and the young lion will graze together, and a young lad shall lead them.”