Parashat Bo: Haftarah

Haftarah הַפְטָרָה

The prophet Yirmiyahu lived about 900 years after יְצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם (yetziat Mitzrayim, the exodus from Egypt). In Yirmeyahu’s time, when the Jewish people were being threatened by an enemy from Bavel, Mitzrayim was not a helpful ally to the Jewish people.
In our haftarah, Yirmeyahu promises that Mitzrayim will be punished for not helping.
  • King Nevukhadnezar of Bavel will attack Mitzrayim.
  • Mitzrayim will become a bare wasteland.
  • The people of Mitzrayim will slither away like a snake. They won’t stand a chance against Bavel, who are as numerous as אַרְבֶּה (arbeh, locusts). (See a connection to our parashah there?)
By pairing this haftarah with Parashat Bo, the Rabbis were pointing out that yetziat Mitzrayim was not the only time that God had saved us from our troubles with amazing might and justice. God also promises to save the Jewish people from other threats, in other time periods. We can trust in God to continue to save us.
At the end of the haftarah, God promises to save the Jewish people:
וְאַתָּה אַל תִּירָא עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב וְאַל תֵּחַת יִשְׂרָאֵל
כִּי הִנְנִי מוֹשִׁעֲךָ מֵרָחוֹק וְאֶת זַרְעֲךָ מֵאֶרֶץ שִׁבְיָם
וְשָׁב יַעֲקוֹב וְשָׁקַט וְשַׁאֲנַן וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד׃
Have no fear, My servant Yaakov,
Don’t be scared, Yisrael!
I will redeem you from far away, and bring your children back from their land of captivity.
Yaakov will return and be calm, with quiet and with no trouble.
  • What kind of redemption do you hope for, in our present time? What kind of calm and quiet do you pray for?