Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Haftarot: Familiar, but how familiar?

We all know we read a portion of the Torah (Teaching, Instruction), the first five books of the Tanakh ("Bible") every Shabbat, and that each is accompanied by a Haftarah, a reading from the Nevi'im (Prophets), the second section.  There are also Haftarot for special occasions.  One the readings comes from three books.  The Haftarah for VaYelekh, near the end of Devarim (Deuteronomy), comes from Hoshea, Mikhah, and Yoel.  Altogether, there are sixty-four prophetic readings in the course of the year, excluding major holidays.  Are the readings evenly spread throughout the Nevi'im, or do a few books dominate the list?

Out of those sixty-four, twenty-eight, slightly less than half, come almost evenly from just two books:  fifteen from Yeshia (Isaiah) and thirteen from Melachim (Kings).

Shmuel (Samuel), Yeremiah (Jeremiah), Yechezkel (Ezekiel) each have five to ten readings drawn from them.

Yehoshua (Joshua), Shoftim (Judges), Hoshea (Hosea), Michah, and Malakhi are the sources for two to four readings.

Yoel (Joel), Amos, and Zechariah each provide one reading.

All the historical books of the "Primary Chronicle" are represented, but Shmuel prodominates.  All three major literary prophets are well represented, but Yeshiah gives as many as Yeremiah and Yechezkel combined, more than any other individual book.  Six of the twelve minor prophets are included, but only Hoshea provides more than two Haftarot.

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