March 14, 2023

America Jewish Press Association: The Haftarah and Its Parsha


For some two thousand years, the practice at every Jewish congregation on Shabbos mornings has been to read a weekly portion, the “parsha,” from the Torah followed by a reading from the books of the prophets, the “haftarah.” Despite the haftarah’s antiquity and universality, we know little about its origin or purpose. We have no record of who decided which verses would make up the haftarah for each parsha, the reasons for each pairing, or even when the schedule in use today was established.

“The Haftarah and Its Parsha” came about because its author, Richard W. Golden, became curious about the reason for each haftarah-parsha pairing. A quick review found only cursory discussions of the subject. A more comprehensive search found that neither traditional nor contemporary writers fully addressed these connections. After deeper study, Golden discovered that the parsha and haftarah verses themselves provide the best explanation for each pairing.

This newly released book sets forth what is known about the haftarah’s origins, identifies the relationship between each haftarah and its parsha, and explores how this connection remains pertinent today. So far as Golden could find, no previous author has given these questions the consideration they merit.

The book’s discussion of each pairing may be read week-by-week in about ten minutes. It should not be necessary for the reader to have already reviewed that week’s haftarah and parsha, or to be familiar with the text’s original languages.

For further information or to purchase the book, visit

To contact the author, write to: [email protected]

Richard W. Golden retired in 2007 after serving for twenty-eight years as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the New York State Attorney General. Since his retirement, Golden has had more time for his long-standing loves of study and travel. He and his wife, now empty nesters, live in Brooklyn.