Torah: Portion and Haftarah for the First Day of Rosh HaShanah 5784
(Genesis 21;I Samuel 1:1-2:10)
This Sabbath, the High Holiday, is Erev Rosh HaShanah. The Shabbat candles are kindled with the blessing ending…ner shel Shabbat V’YomTov. Around challah for this Sabbath and next week’s Sabbath is used. Instead of salt on the challah one dips the challah in honey to symbolize a sweet New Year! Apples with honey or pomegranates are eaten for this holiday, too!
The Torah portion tells of the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah. Also, the birth of Ishmael to Hagar and Abraham becomes a wild child and a bad influence on Isaac. Sarah urges Abraham to send Ishmael and Hagar away. Abraham was at first reluctant to do this, but he acquiesces, receiving Divine assurance that it is for the best. Hagar and Ishmael are saved from starvation, and Ishmael becomes a man of war.
The Torah contains the incident of G-d remembering Sarah as she prayed to Him for a child. Since this is one of the themes of Rosh HaShanah that of remembering, this portion was chosen to be read. In addition Rosh HaShanah commemorates the birthday of the universe, the birth of Isaac provides another connection to Rosh HaShanah.
The Haftarah is taken from the Book of Samuel. The story of the birth of Samuel to Hannah. The depiction of Hannah fulfilling her vow of “lending” her son Samuel, whose life was to be consecrated to the service of G-d. Eventually Samuel becomes a prophet and judge of the Israelites. As the Torah and Haftarah have themes of G-d’s remembering and blessings of Sarah and the birth of Isaac, and Hannah and the birth of Samuel they are read on Rosh HaShanah.
Last week was the service of Selichot/Forgiveness, this week of Rosh HaShanah is the week of remembering and blessings, of remembering the past year and years to one of looking forward to blessings for the future. May the future bring many blessings, much goodness and kindness, and happiness with sweetness that overflows throughout the coming new year.
Shabbat Shalom V’ L’Shanah Tovah U’Metukah/ To A Happy, Good Sweet New Year,
Rabbi Helene and Michael Ainbinder and the Mishpulkah/family to you and your family