Habakkuk 2:20 – 3:19
Habakkuk- prophet, lived circa late 7th Century
Shavuoth is the time celebrating both the “first fruits”- the first harvest- and the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Our Torah reading discusses celebrating the holiday, but the haftarah seems to echo elements of the giving of the Torah.
Habakkuk was the prophet who wrote the words we read today. The text is less like a lecture and more like a psalm or a poem. First Habakkuk describes God’s glory and might and then asks Him to rescue His people.
The prophet ends the haftarah saying he will rejoice in the Lord, the God of his salvation.
The descriptions of nature are reminiscent of Mount Sinai during the giving of the Torah. In the haftarah we read that the mountains tremble, there is thunder and lightning, the earth shakes,there are fiery bolts, and the sun and moon stand still in the sky. During the revelation at Sinai there was thunder and lightning, fire and smoke, and the mountain trembled. The shofar blew louder and louder and louder. The children of Israel were so frightened they did not want to approach the mountain and acceded to Moshe’s position of communicator with God.
The painting at the top of this post (if you click on it, it will enlarge) shows the sun and moon, the waters flooding through the mountains, rocks tumbling down, and lightning contrasting in the deep blue sky.
My intention was to show in this tiny image the beauty and fury of God’s power as exemplified by nature. We can learn from nature and we can learn from words. I hope the Shavuoth is a time of learning, inspiration, and enlightenment.
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