Community Development

Haftarah for Mase'ei / Rosh Hodesh Av

Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4, 4:1-2*

This translation was taken from the JPS Tanakh

    4 Hear the word of the Lord, O House of Jacob,
    Every clan of the House of Israel!
    5 Thus said the Lord:
    What wrong did your fathers find in Me
    That they abandoned Me
    And went after delusion and were deluded?
    6 They never asked themselves, "Where is the Lord,
    Who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
    Who led us through the wilderness,
    A land of deserts and pits,
    A land of drought and darkness,
    A land no man had traversed,
    Where no human being had dwelt?"
    7 I brought you to this country of farm land
    To enjoy its fruit and its bounty;
    But you came and defiled My land,
    You made My possession abhorrent.
    8 The priests never asked themselves, "Where is the Lord?"
    The guardians of the Teaching ignored Me;
    The rulers rebelled against Me,
    And the prophets prophesied by Baal
    And followed what can do no good.

    9 Oh, I will go on accusing you

— declares the Lord —
    And I will accuse your children's children!
    10 Just cross over to the isles of the Kittim and look,
    Send to Kedar and observe carefully;
    See if aught like this has ever happened:
    11 Has any nation changed its gods
    Even though they are no-gods?
    But My people has exchanged its glory
    For what can do no good.
    12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
    Be horrified, utterly dazed!
— says the Lord.—
    13 For My people have done a twofold wrong:
    They have forsaken Me, the Fount of living waters,
    And hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns,
    Which cannot even hold water.

    14 Is Israel a bondman?
    Is he a home-born slave?
    Then why is he given over to plunder?
    15 Lions have roared over him,
    Have raised their cries.
    They have made his land a waste,
    His cities desolate, without inhabitants.
    16 Those, too, in Noph and Tahpanhes
    Will lay bare your head.
    17 See, that is the price you have paid
    For forsaking the Lord your God
    While He led you in the way.
    18 What, then, is the good of your going to Egypt
    To drink the waters of the Nile?
    And what is the good of your going to Assyria
    To drink the waters of the Euphrates?
    19 Let your misfortune reprove you,
    Let your afflictions rebuke you;
    Mark well how bad and bitter it is
    That you forsake the Lord your God,
    That awe for Me is not in you

— declares the Lord God of Hosts. —
    20 For long ago you broke your yoke,
    Tore off your yoke-bands,
    And said, "I will not work!"
    On every high hill and under every verdant tree,
    You recline as a whore.
    21 I planted you with noble vines,
    All with choicest seed;
    Alas, I find you changed
    Into a base, an alien vine!
    22 Though you wash with natron
    And use much lye,
    Your guilt is ingrained before Me
— declares the Lord —
    23 How can you say, "I am not defiled,
    I have not gone after the Baalim"?
    Look at your deeds in the Valley,
    Consider what you have done!
    Like a lustful she-camel,
    Restlessly running about,
    24 Or like a wild ass used to the desert,
    Snuffing the wind in her eagerness,
    Whose passion none can restrain,
    None that seek her need grow weary—
    In her season, they'll find her!

    25 Save your foot from going bare,
    And your throat from thirst.
    But you say, "It is no use.
    No, I love the strangers,
    And after them I must go."
    26 Like a thief chagrined when he is caught,
    So is the House of Israel chagrined—
    They, their kings, their officers,
    And their priests and prophets.
    27 They said to wood, "You are my father,"
    To stone, "You gave birth to me,"
    While to Me they turned their backs
    And not their faces.
    But in their hour of calamity they cry,
    "Arise and save us!"
    28 And where are those gods
    You made for yourself?
    Let them arise and save you, if they can,
    In your hour of calamity.
    For your gods have become, O Judah,
    As many as your towns!

Ashkenazim add...
Chapter 3
    4 Just now you called to Me, "Father!
    You are the Companion of my youth."

Sephardim add...
Chapter 4
    1 If you return, O Israel

— declares the Lord —
    If you return to Me,
    If you remover you abominations fr4om My presence
    And do not waver,
    2 And swear, "As the Lord lives,"
    In sincerity, justice, and rigtheousness —
    Nations shall bless themselves by you
    And praise themselves by you.

On Shabbat Rosh Hodesh Av, some congregations add...
Isaiah 66:1, 23 1 Thus said the Lord:
The heaven in My throne
And the earth if My footstool:
Where could you build a house for Me,
What place could serve as My abode?

23 And new moon after new moon,
And sabbath after sabbath,
All flesh shall come to worship Me

— said the Lord —

On Shabbat Rosh Hodesh Av, some congregations read...
Isaiah 66:1-24

*There are differing opinions regarding the haftorah reading on Shabbat Rosh Hodesh Av.
Please consult your rabbi to determine the custom of your community.

Taken from Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society) 1985.
Used by permission of The Jewish Publication Society. Copyright ©1962, 1992
Third Edition by the Jewish Publication Society. No part of this text can be reproduced or forwarded without written permission.
Please visit the JPS website for more fine books of Jewish literature and tradition.