This is the first Shabbat of the Three Weeks, and we start with a haftorah from ירמיהו . His first vision is of an almondwood stick:
Rav Haim Sabato wonders why ה׳ is so proud of ירמיהו for seeing this:
Clearly it’s not a matter of “seeing”, but “understanding”. Compare זכריה, who does not understand what he is shown:
I’m going to start to address this with a minor note from the parasha:
We’ve talked about שרח before, and discussed Rashi’s Midrashic interpretation:
But the Ramban has a more פשט-based approach, that starts from the Targum:
Ramban’s version of the Targum is different:
The דעת זקנים מבעלי התוספות has a problem with this: if her inheritance came from her biological father, then why list her under שבט אשר?
The halachic understanding seems to be that an adopted child is, at least in terms of קריאת שם, the same as a biological child. שרח is considered בת אשר.
And we have a case of this later in תנ״ך. Saul’s daughter Michal is mentioned as having sons by עדריאל:
But עדריאל was her sister’s husband:
So the gemara assumes that Michal had adopted them:
There’s a מוסר השכל here. The model of “adoption” is how we understand our relationship to הקב״ה. It’s where the word for adpotion comes from:
We are called the children of הקב״ה, but that is figurative (the literal understanding is for other religions):
ה׳ is our adoptive Father, but that still has real meaning. It is a relationship that cannot be broken:
And that, says Rav Sabato, is what ירמיהו was able to see. It wasn’t just a staff, a rod for disciplining, but a מקל שקד. We’ve seen the almond staff before:
And that becomes ירמיהו's mission:
Later, the connection with the מקל שקד is made explicit:
As we enter the period of בין המצרים we need this message of hope.