Parashat Mikeitz: Haftarah
Illustration credit: Noa Kelner

Haftarah הַפְטָרָה

King Shlomo was known for his wise judgment. In our haftarah, we hear about his decision in a difficult case.
Two women who live in the same house each have a newborn baby. One of the babies dies.
One woman claims: The other woman’s baby died. Then, while I was asleep, she took my living baby and left me with her dead one.
The second woman denies this. She insists that the living baby is hers.
Shlomo tries a trick to figure out which one to believe.
He suggests: Since I don’t know which one of you is telling the truth, you’ll have to split the remaining baby. Bring me a sword, and cut the baby in half.
One woman says: If I can’t have a baby, neither can you. It’s fair to cut the baby in half!
The other woman takes pity on the baby and cries: No, save the baby! Even if I can’t raise this baby, give it to the other woman. I just don’t want it to die.
Now Shlomo knows the answer. The true mother is the one who was willing to let the other woman take the baby as long as it would live because she showed compassion for the baby.
What’s the connection to Mikeitz?
The opening line of the haftarah is very similar to a line in our parashah:
וַיִּקַץ שְׁלֹמֹה וְהִנֵּה חֲלוֹם
Shlomo woke up. It was a dream!
וַיִּיקַץ פַּרְעֹה וְהִנֵּה חֲלוֹם
Pharaoh woke up. It was a dream!
In addition, the haftarah talks about Shlomo’s wisdom (Melakhim Alef 3:28) in a way that’s similar to how the Torah describes Yosef’s wisdom (Bereishit 41:38-39).
  • How does Yosef show his wisdom, and how does Shlomo? What do they use their wisdom for?
  • The Rabbis chose this haftarah because they wanted us to compare Yosef and Shlomo. How does this comparison affect the way we think about each of these characters?