The Shabbos Table – Kedoshim: R’ Y. Sacks Shlita: The Most Avoided Haftarah

This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my mother Chaya Rochel Bas Dovid Tzvi A”H, my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,

It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:

-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel

-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta


-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili

_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka

-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis

-Yonatan Menachem Mendel Ben Orly, Eli Aharon Michel Ben Chaya

-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam) and other tragedies.


-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael during this dire time, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.

-The wounded should experience Refuah Shileimah, the captives should be returned safely, the fallen should experience Kevurah and Aliyah for their Neshamos and Nekamah for their Dam, their Krovim should experience Nechamah, the Chayalim should be Matzliach and Minatzei’ach, and Am Yisrael should experience Geulah.







Be”H, I will be translating / transcribing / paraphrasing Divrei Torah of my Rebbi, HaGaon R’ Yonason Avner Sacks Shlita. (Any inaccuracies, whether added, misrepresented, or due to omission and/or points lost in translation or context should be attributed to me alone. * = My addition.)







“The Most Avoided Haftarah”




Based on:

Summer Shiur: Re-aligning With Eretz Yisroel Through Krias HaTorah (followed by Tisha B’Av Chizzuk and Q&A)’Av-Chizzuk-and-Q&A)


Attention to Haftarah


Whenever we experience a leap year, the first day of Pesach and the last day of Pesach falls out on a Shabbos, it creates a problem with the Krias HaTorah, because on the last day of Pesach, we in Chutz LaAretz are reading a Yom Tov Krias HaTorah, while in Eretz Yisrael, they are Leining Parshas Acharei Mos.


Though we pay attention to the Krias HaTorah, sometimes the Haftarah gets a bad rap. We really don’t pay significant attention to what the Haftarah is supposed to represent. It is always an important Limud to see all the parallels between the Krias HaTorah and its Haftarah, why is it that we chose this particular Divrei Navi to be read on a given Shabbos.


Haftaras Acharei Mos vs. Haftaras Kedoshim


There is no greater contrast between two back-to-back Haftaros than those of Acharei Mos and Kedoshim. They both speak about our relationship to Eretz Yisrael, Yerushalayim, and the Mikdash. The Haftarah of Parshas Acharei Mos in Amos (Perek 8) speaks about Eretz Yisrael and Yerushalayim in the most loving way, and with the most endearing and enduring terms. It talks about how our connection to Eretz Yisrael is something that is eternal, absolutely everlasting. Nothing can be done to jeopardize that inherent link. That is the Haftarah of Parshas Acharei Mos.


The contrast to the Haftarah of Parshas Kedoshim is something that is striking. That is from Yechezkeil (Perek 22), “HaSishpot.” That refers to Yerushalayim, not as an “Ir HaKodesh,” but as an “Ir HaDamim,” a “city of blood.” When you look at all of the Mitzvos and Issurim of Parshas Kedoshim, and you look at everything the Navi says were violated in Yerushalayim and Eretz Yisrael, there is an incredible parallel between them.


The Most Avoided Haftarah


The Chachamim looked for every opportunity to Lein the Haftarah of Parshas Acharei Mos, and for every opportunity to avoid the Haftarah of Parshas Kedoshim. Shulchan Aruch writes that whenever we read a double Parsha, we always read the Haftarah for the second Parsha; with one exception: Acharei Mos-Kedoshim. When those two Parshiyos are combined, we read the Haftarah of Parshas Acharei Mos.

And whenever we cannot Lein the Haftarah of Parshas Acharei Mos, suppose that that Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh, or Machar Chodesh, or Shabbos HaGadol, then in that case, on the next Shabbos, for Parshas Kedoshim, we will read the Haftarah for Acharei Mos.

We always look for the opportunity to Lein the Haftarah of Parshas Acharei Mos and avoid the Haftarah of Parshas Kedoshim.


The Last Time, the Next Time


The last time that we Lein’ed the the Haftarah of Parshas Kedoshim was in 1997. We are slated to read this Haftarah in 5784 (2024). We can only Lein the Haftarah of Parshas Kedoshim in a Hebrew year that has 383 days and when the year begins on a Shabbos.


Criticize Eretz Yisrael?


Talmidim have asked me if we ever have the right to criticize Eretz Yisrael. The answer is yes, but omce every 25-30 years! There needs to be a balance. After all, Chazal always looked for every opportunity to praise Eretz Yisrael.



*The following is my own personal reflection:


This year has been exceptionally difficult in the history of Eretz Yisrael and Klal Yisrael. In a rare year that has seen qualitatively unprecedented levels of terror against Eretz Yisrael / Am Yisrael and antisemitism globally, we confront the stinging Haftarah of the criticism of Yisrael. Yisrael must always look internally to ensure that it is constantly following the mandate of Kedoshim, of Ratzon HaKadosh Baruch Hu. This year, especially, we must give our ears to the Navi’s painful words and look inward.

But, let’s not be fooled by the cynicism of the nations and political parties who have an imbalanced agenda against Yisrael, who have embraced every opportunity to criticize Yisrael in the face of the unabashed terrorists who have attempted and vowed to wipe Yisrael off the map. While we listen to the harsh words of Yechezkeil with humility and a balanced mindset for the first time in 27 years and make genuine strides to align our every action with Ratzon Hashem, let us not forget the unparalled evil of our enemies. Let us not forget the battle we must fight against those who only criticize and curse Yisrael. Let us not forget Haftarah of Acharei Mos which is read annually, our enduring connection to HaKadosh Baruch Hu and His Land.

We should be Zocheh to align our actions with Ratzon Hashem, fulfill the charge of Kedoshim Tihiyu, and Hashem should destroy our enemies and finally bring the Geulah with the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah Biyomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos!