Summary of The Haftorah:
This week's Haftorah is the Book of Ovadiah, which is the smallest book of the Prophets - only one chapter. Ovadiah lived during the time of
Eliyahu, and the difficult reign of Achav and Ezevel (3043-705 b.c.e.) We
were introduced to Ovadiah in the Haftorah of Parshas Vayera when
Elisha miraculously helped his widow.
Ovadia's personal commitment and
courage in saving 100 prophets from the purges of Ezevel (Jezebel) was
rewarded by himself becoming one of the prophets who would prophesies about
the demise of evil and the ultimate salvation of the righteous.
The connection to our Parsha is the emphasis on Eisav's eventual demise.
Yoseph, who is the positive manifestation of what Eisav could have been, will
triumph in eradicating Eisav's evil influence from society. "...the house of
Yoseph a flame, and the house of Eisav stubble. They will set them ablaze and
consume them..." (1:18-19) Eisav had been given his chance of joining in the
creation of the Jewish nation whose influence over society would redirect
destiny. Instead of joining, Eisav challenged Yakov, and attempted to destroy
Throughout history, Eisav rejoiced in Israel's misfortune and boasted of
his contribution to their pain and distress. Ovadiah's prophecy, portrays the
times of Mashiach when justice will manifest itself in the "measure for a
measure", of Eisav's destruction. Eisav, who destroyed the Bais Hamikdash and
sent Israel into exile, will live to see the in-gathering of the exiled and
the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash. He will experience the ultimate
retribution of witnessing what might have been his own glory and triumph, if
only he had chosen to do good, rather than bad.
Ovadiah is chosen to deliver this prophecy because he chose to do good
over bad. As a servant to the evil Achav and Ezevel, he could have chosen a
life of power and glory while carrying out their evil wishes. Instead, he
chose to place himself in mortal danger to save the intended victims of
Ezevel. In his capacity as the Navi, Ovadiah says to Eisav, "You have no
excuse! Everyone is challenged and everyone must choose." Those who choose
evil will be destroyed, and those who choose good will witness Eisav's
punishment, and the coming of Mashiach. (1:21)