Parashat Pinchas-Numbers 25:10-30:1
Haftarah- Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
This week we do not read the corresponding prophetic reading for Parashat Pinchas; rather because we have completed the fast day of the seventeenth of Tammuz, we read from the haftarah for Parashat Mattos. The reason for this is the seventeenth of Tammuz marks the day in 586 B.C. when king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon broke through the walls of Jerusalem and began a three week massacre of Jewish people that included the destruction of the Temple on the ninth of Av. These two fast days, the seventeenth of Tammuz and the ninth of Av are mentioned in the Bible in the prophecy of Zechariah 8:19. The reason for the change is that the three weeks between these two fast days mark a time of mourning and lamentation and therefore prophetic readings which are appropriate to this theme have been chosen by the sages of old.
Jeremiah prophesied concerning the exile that was approaching and spoke harsh words to the people. Even though the people, especially the leaders, did not like his words and persecuted him, his prophetic words were fulfilled. Early on in Jeremiah’s reception of the Word of G-d he was told,
“See I have placed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms to uproot, to smash, to bring destruction, to destroy and to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:10
This verse is important because it not only tells of the judgment, but also reveals that after the time of punishment is over, that once again the people will build and plant. This signifies that although HaShem is angry with the people, He will not utterly forsake them. Why is this?
The last verse of the haftarah answers this question,
“Israel is holy to the L-rd…! Jeremiah 2:3
This sentence does not speak about the merit of Israel, rather that HaShem has a purpose with the sons of Jacob. This verse also has a warning—that “all who devour him (Israel) shall be guilty; and evil shall come upon them, thus says the L-rd” (See Jer. 2:3).
Over and over the prophets affirm with one voice that HaShem will bring Israel to repentance and will use Israel to play a major role in the last days and ultimately in the millennium Kingdom. It is sad that more and more “believers” are adopting a theology that undermines this truth and causes them to conclude that a great amount of scripture will not be fulfilled. But thanks be to G-d for the numerous believers who do stand with Israel and make great sacrifices to support, pray, and love that which G-d loves.
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