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Friday, September 21

Skipping Around the הפטרה


This Shabbos, the haftara will begin from Hoshea with the fitting words "Shuva Yisroel, ad HaShem elokecha", Return, Israel, unto HaShem your God. The exerpt from Hoshea ends "Ki yeshorim darchei HaShem, vetzadikim yelchu bam, uposh'im yikashlu bam." Just are the ways of HaShem, the righteous shall go by them, and the rebellious ones shall stumble upon them. This is a bad note on wish to end and there is a concept that we do not end off a reading on a bad note, especially on Shabbos Shuva. Tosafos in Megilla 31b say that we add a piece from Yoel. But Abudraham says that we add from Micha. The Elya Rabba writes that the minhag is to read from both. However, in most chumashim the order is Hoshea-Micha-Yoel. The problem with this is the halacha we find in Orach Chaim 144:1. In the Torah we are not allowed to skip from one topic to another. In Navi we are allowed to skip from one topic to another but not from one Navi (i.e. sefer) to another. In Trei Asar, since it is one unit, we are allowed to skip from one Navi to another. However, the Magen Avraham (144:4) writes that to skip backwards is not allowed, even in Trei Asar. The jump from Micha to Yoel is indeed a backward jump. Therefore, the Likutei Maharich writes that one who does like Elya Rabba should read from Yoel and then Micha. Such is the minhag in Ner Yisroel.

However, the Noda BiYehuda writes in Dagul MeR'vava (428:8) that this is not the proper practice. But rather that the psukim in Micha are more relevant to the pesukim in VaYelech ("Veheishiv la'ad apo" versus "vechara api") and the psukim from Yoel, which speak of rain, are in correlation with Ha'azinu which begins "Ya'arof kamatar (rain) likchi". That is why the Micha excerpt was printed before that of Yoel, because Micha corresponds to VaYeןlech which comes before Ha'azinu. And the proper custom would then be to add on only Micha when Shabbos Shuva is Vayeןlech, and to add Yoel only when Shabbos Shuva is Ha'azinu.

Finally, R' Moshe Feinstein is of the opinion, like the Noda BiYehuda, that only one of the two should be read. But he has a different calculation. When the Haftara is being read from parchment, Yoel should be read because it comes right after Hoshea and therefore will constitute less of a wait for the congregation which could be problematic if we had to wait until we got to Micha. However, if the Haftara is being read from a Tanach or a sefer of Haftaros, since the switch is much simpler, for you can easily keep your place, it is advisable to read from Micha which is shorter and more on the topic. The important conclusion is that it doesn't seem that any of the poskim say it should be done in the order that it appears in the chumashim. (Note: Some of the newer chumashim rearrange the readings in the correct order.)

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