Thursday, January 27, 2011

the haftarah that goes backwards

There is something interesting about the haftarah for parshas Mishpatim as printed in the standard chumashim. The haftarah consists of Yirmiyahu ch 34, until you get to the last two pesukim, which are taken from the previous perek of Yirmiyahu 33. Why does the haftarah tack on these extra pesukim from the previous perek? We always try to end off an aliya from the parsha, or end off the haftarah, on a positive note. Since Yirmiyahu 34 does not end on a positive note, the haftarah adds on a few extra pesukim to close on an uplifting theme.

The S.A. (O.C. 144) writes that one is not permitted to read a haftarah l'mafreiya, in reverse order from the text. The poskim (see M.B. #9) discuss where and when this din theoretically applies (some say it only applies when going backwards between two Nevi'im; the MG"A holds it applies even within the same sefer), but it seems that practically speaking, in our times when everyone follows the reading from a pre-printed text and there is no confusion caused and no pause caused while the reader jumps between chapters, this din does not apply (see M.B. #6).

However, why create a situation when one must jump backwards when there is no pressing reason to do so? It's not like there is some particular theme the end of our haftarah wants to echo that demands reading Yirmiyahu 33 -- the whole point is simply to end on a positive note. If so, suggests R' Chaim Kanievsky in his sefer Ta'ama D'Kra, the same goal can easily be accomplished by reading forwards, adding on Yirmiyahu 35 until the end. This would be preferable, in his view, to the standard practice.

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:09 AM

    The Parsha follows a similar pattern- first comes halachos learned after Matan Torah, and the last Aliyah goes back to before Matan Torah...

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  2. Anonymous4:36 PM

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  3. Tamir4:44 PM

    If so, suggests R' Chaim Kanievsky in his sefer Ta'ama D'Kra, the same goal can easily be accomplished by reading forwards, adding on Yirmiyahu 35 until the end. This would be preferable, in his view, to the standard practice.

    It is also what the Mishneh Torah, Sefer Ahava, Seder haTefilah gives as the Haftarah for ve'Eleh haMishpatim( according to Mechon Mamre, and the classical printed edition seems to agree).

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  4. Even better if we have the Rambam to reply on -- wonder why RCK didn't quote it, unless he did and I just don't remember correctly.

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  5. The haftoroh talks about the bris that klal ysiroel made with Hashem when they came out of mitzraim to set slaves free and of how they transgressed this bris by not setting them free.

    In order to correct this, they went to the beis hamikdash and made another bris to free slaves which they did. After that they went and took back their slaves.

    The onesh for their being over on both of these brisim was galus. Therefore it is very approriate that at the end of the haftoroh in order to end on a good note we quote the navi that if we do keep Hashem's bris then the geulah will come.

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