This is an outstanding book on the weekly Parsha and haftarah, which will be appreciated by a wide range of readers. It appealed to me, a graduate of public schools who came to understand Judaism and its wonderful aspects; to my wife, who attended the Jewish School in Lima, Peru; as well as my children, who attended Ramaz and the Yeshivah of Flatbush.
I learned of the book because the author, Richard Golden, is a member of my synagogue in Brooklyn Heights, Congregation B’nai Avraham, led by Rabbi Aaron Raskin.
The Haftarah and Its Parsha wastes no times in attempting to linking its subjects. For some two thousand years, the practice at every Jewish congregation on Shabbos morning has been to read a weekly portion from the Torah followed by a reading from the Navi (the Prophets). Though scholars have long attempted to explain this practice, the fact is that we know little about its origin or purpose. There is no record of who decided which portion of the Navi would be read following the parshot, the reasons behind the pairings, or even when the schedule in use today was established.
The reason for those pairings is what inspired Golden to write The Haftarah and Its Parsha. His research led to his discovery that there are only cursory discussions of the subject in rabbinic literature, that no Jewish scholars – past or present – has fully addressed these connections.
But after deeper study, Golden concluded that the parsha and haftarah verses themselves provide the best explanation of the reason for each pairing, and he offers his view on the relationship between the two. He also goes beyond this to explore how their connection remains pertinent today. In addition to identifying the relationship between each haftarah and its parsha, Golden explores how the connections remains pertinent today.
Readers need not be intimately familiar with the parshot and their haphtarot to appreciate this book, or even know the language of the texts. It is a great and helpful read, and I highly recommend it.
‘The Haftarah and Its Parsha’ is available at Jewish bookstores, from Amazon, and directly from Mosaica Press via www.haftarahparsha.com.
By STEVEN D. COHN
Steve Cohn was a Democratic state committeeman for nearly 20 years and an executive secretary of the Kings County Democratic Party. He is also a former president of the Brooklyn Bar Association.
Review originally published in Long Island Jewish World, February 17-23, 2023