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    Dreams, hopes & fears – the Torah readings & Haftarot

    The Torah readings and haftarot for Rosh HaShanah deal with human yearnings, dreams, hopes and fears.

    All the readings arise out of events in the Biblical past, but we do not read them for the sake of historical nostalgia but for the sake of destiny, constantly concerned with what the future will bring.

    On the first day the theme is hope, the yearning for a new generation. In the Torah reading that day we read the story of the hopes evoked by the birth of Isaac; in the haftarah we read about the hopes evoked by the birth of Samuel.

    After the first day the mood changes. On the second day we read about how our heartfelt hopes can be dashed in a moment.

    The Torah reading poignantly describes Abraham’s anguish over the Binding of Isaac, with its message that the son that the patriarch and his wife so desperately yearned for might be lost forever. The haftarah that day presents a similar theme – Mother Rachel’s tears when her children go into exile.

    Both days focus on dreams that might never succeed in coming to fruition, a theme that countless parents understand only too well when they yearn for the future but are apprehensive that that future might never come to be.

    The lesson for us to take away is that parents should never cease to dream but should also have trust and confidence in God that He will support us and help us to make the dreams come true.

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