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Friday, November 1

The Weekly Shtikle - Toledos / Machar Chodesh

With Rosh Chodesh falling on Sunday (and Monday), we do not read the regular haftarah for Toledos but rather, we read the special haftarah for the day before Rosh Chodesh, from Shmuel I perek 20. Yehonasan tells David that tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh and there will be a seudah. (For a discussion on how exactly Yehonasan knew it would be Rosh Chodesh since it was based on testimony, see the AstroTorah link below.) They devise a whole plan to confirm whether Shaul still bears mortal enmity towards David. R' Shimon Schwab, in Maayan Beis HaShoeiva, is bothered, is it only because of the fact that Yehonasan mentions the words "machar chodesh" that we read this haftara? Surely there is a greater reason to push aside the regular haftara in favour of this one. 

Rav Schwab explains, Yehonasan's intentions in telling David not to escape until after the seudah of Rosh Chodesh were because Rosh Chodesh, as the moon enters a new cycle around the Earth, symbolizes a time of renewal, on opportunity for repentance and atonement. Yehonasan was telling David to wait and see if Rosh Chodesh will possibly have this positive effect on Shaul and he will change his mind. Therefore, we read this haftara to impress upon the masses this important aspect of Rosh Chodesh. Additionally, Rosh Chodesh is a time destined for geula which is why we recite in Mussaf, Mizbeach chadash b'Tzion tachin. And if Moshiach doesn't come, we are left wondering "why has ben Yishai not come, not yesterday and not today" (20:27, a pasuk in the haftara.) The Navi remarks, vayipaked mekom David, David's place was vacant, an allusion to the fact that we, too, are lacking the presence of ben Yishai. And just as it was gratuitous hatred that caused David's absence from the party, it is exactly that that causes Moshiach to be absent today.

Have a good Shabbos and Chodesh Tov.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
AstroTorah: Yaakov and Eisav's Interesting Birthdays by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: When is Rosh Chodesh? by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: Fighting in Kislev by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: Sweet Fifteen by R' Ari Storch

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