Third haftarah of consolation

Rabbi Jan Uhrbach
Re'eh By :  Jan Uhrbach Director of the Block / Kolker Center for Spiritual Arts Posted On Aug 10, 2018 / 5778 | The Voice of the Prophet

Note: in some years, including 5778, when Rosh Hodesh Ellul falls on Shabbat Re’eh, many Ashkenazi congregations read the haftarah for Rosh Hodesh on Shabbat morning, and this haftarah is deferred and read together with the fifth haftarah of consolation two weeks later.

This third haftarah of consolation and comfort contains a beautiful promise of a society established on righteousness, and consequently free of oppression and fear and safe from ruin. Most strikingly, it critiques the worldview that sees the accumulation of wealth and material possessions as the highest value, offering an alternative vision, in which that which truly satisfies is available “without money.” The prophet suggests that it is actually the people’s obsession with materiality and money that leaves them empty and puts them at risk, while the alternative value system in which righteousness and justice are paramount is the foundation of true safety and security.

Food for thought:

  • Beyond the need for basics, to what extent does your relationship with money and material things offer comfort and security, and to what extent does it contribute to anxiety and fear?
  • How do our values lead to societal stability or instability, righteousness or oppression, a culture of security or a culture of fear?
  • What suffering results of lack of righteousness in our foundations?
  • How would addressing our failings lead to comfort?

Listen to the haftarah brought to life as it is declaimed in English by renowned actor Ronald Guttman by subscribing to The Voice of the Prophet podcast.