Two of Repentance #2 (Shuva/Vayeilech - Sepharadim)

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After the Temple’s destruction described in the Haftarot of the “Three of Affliction” (תלת דפורענותא) and Tisha B’Av, the “Seven of Comfort” (שבע דנחמתא) comforted the exiled Jewish people, assuring their eventual glorious redemption. Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the “Two of Repentance” (Aramaic: תרתי דתיובתא) - recited on Tzom Gedaliah (by Ashkenazim only) and Shabbat Shuva (by all) - encourage the people to repent in order to achieve the promised redemption.

Two of Repentance #2 (Shuva/Vayeilech - Sepharadim):

Hosea 14:2-10, Micha 7:18-20

The Haftarah consists of two sections, both of which emphasize God’s merciful forgivingness for His people. Its first section is Hosea’s final prophecy. The prophet calls for the Northern Kingdom, “Ephraim”, to abandon its idolatry and military dependence upon mighty Assyria and return to God. In return, God will shower them with love, protect them, and ensure they flourish lushly.

The second section is the conclusion of Micha’s final prophecy. It describes God’s great forgiveness and kindness for the repentant remnant of His people, in keeping with His promises to the nation’s forefathers, Abraham and Jacob.

Haftarah Breakdown

Hosea, verses 14:2-4: The prophet calls for Israel to abandon their idolatry and their alliance with Assyria’s military. Their words of confession, return, and reliance upon God will suffice; sacrifices are not needed.

Hosea 14:3

Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, “Forgive all iniquity and accept what is good, and we will pay [for offerings of] bulls, [the offering of] our lips…”

קְח֤וּ עִמָּכֶם֙ דְּבָרִ֔ים וְשׁ֖וּבוּ אֶל־ה' אִמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו כָּל־תִּשָּׂ֤א עָוֺן֙ וְקַח־ט֔וֹב וּֽנְשַׁלְּמָ֥ה פָרִ֖ים שְׂפָתֵֽינוּ׃

Verses 14:5-9: When the people renounce their idols, God’s anger for His people will end. In love, God will forgive and protect them, causing them to flourish and nourishing them until they are glorious and delightful.

Hosea 14:6

I [God] will be like dew to Israel, which will blossom like a rose and shall strike its roots like the [cedars of] Lebanon.

אֶהְיֶ֤ה כַטַּל֙ לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל יִפְרַ֖ח כַּשּֽׁוֹשַׁנָּ֑ה וְיַ֥ךְ שָׁרָשָׁ֖יו כַּלְּבָנֽוֹן׃

Verses 14:10: Although sinful Israel stumbled (v. 2) on God’s straight paths, righteous Israel trods them wisely.

Hosea 14:10

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things: whoever is understanding, let him know them. For the Lord’s ways are straight- the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble on them.

מִ֤י חָכָם֙ וְיָ֣בֵֽן אֵ֔לֶּה נָב֖וֹן וְיֵדָעֵ֑ם כִּֽי־יְשָׁרִ֞ים דַּרְכֵ֣י ה' וְצַדִּקִים֙ יֵ֣לְכוּ בָ֔ם וּפֹשְׁעִ֖ים יִכָּ֥שְׁלוּ בָֽם׃

Micah, verses 7:18-20: God will grant great forgiveness and kindness to the faithful remnant of His people, fulfilling His oaths to Israel’s forefathers, Abraham and Jacob.

Micah 7:18

Who is a God like You, Who pardons iniquity and passes over transgression for His heritage’s remnant? He [God] does not maintain His anger forever, for He desires lovingkindness.

מִי־קל כָּמ֗וֹךָ נֹשֵׂ֤א עָוֺן֙ וְעֹבֵ֣ר עַל־פֶּ֔שַׁע לִשְׁאֵרִ֖ית נַחֲלָת֑וֹ לֹא־הֶחֱזִ֤יק לָעַד֙ אַפּ֔וֹ כִּֽי־חָפֵ֥ץ חֶ֖סֶד הֽוּא׃

Haftarah Halakhah

The Talmud explains why this Haftarah can consist of passages from two different prophets: its second section, from Micha, follows its first section, from Hosea, among the books of the “Twelve Prophets.”

Megillah 24a

It is taught in a Baraita: One may not skip from [the book of one] prophet to [another] prophet. [However,] one may skip amongst the twelve books of Prophets provided that one does not skip from the book’s end to its beginning.

תניא אידך אין מדלגין מנביא לנביא ובנביא של שנים עשר מדלג ובלבד שלא ידלג מסוף הספר לתחילתו:


Reish Lakish bases astonishing statements about the power of repentance upon the Haftarah’s first verse:

Yoma 86b

Reish Lakish said: “Great is repentance, as [one’s] intentional sins are counted for him as unwitting transgressions, as [Hosea 14:2] states: ‘Return, Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity’ [...]

[The Gemara asks:] But didn’t Reish Lakish say: “Great is repentance, as one’s intentional sins are counted for him as merits, as [Ezekiel 33:19] states: ‘And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does justice and righteousness he shall live?’”

[The Gemara reconciles:] This is not difficult: Here [when one repents] out of love, [his sins become merits]; there [when one repents] out of fear, [his sins become unwitting transgressions.]

אמר ריש לקיש גדולה תשובה שזדונות נעשות לו כשגגות שנאמר (הושע יד, ב) שובה ישראל עד ה' אלהיך כי כשלת בעונך …

והאמר ריש לקיש גדולה תשובה שזדונות נעשות לו כזכיות שנאמר (יחזקאל לג, יט) ובשוב רשע מרשעתו ועשה משפט וצדקה עליהם (חיה) יחיה 

לא קשיא כאן מאהבה כאן מיראה

Hosea 14:3 is a basis for establishing prayer as a substitute for the Temple service:

Sefer HaChinukh 185

This commandment [of the Yom Kippur service] is practiced at the time of the [Temple]. Now that, due to our iniquities, we have neither Temple nor high priest, neither [priestly] garments nor sacrifices, all of Israel are accustomed on this day [of Yom Kippur] to serve [God] through prayers and supplications as [Hosea 14:3] states, "Let us render [for] bulls [offered in the Temple], [the offering of] our lips.”

ונוהגת כל מצוה זו בזמן הבית. ועכשיו בעונותינו שאין לנו לא מקדש ולא כהן גדול ולא בגדי שרד ולא קרבנות, נהגו כל ישראל לעבד ביום זה בתפלות ובתחנונים, וכמו שכתוב (הושע יד ג) 'ונשלמה פרים שפתינו'.

With emendations, all translations are from  To dedicate, comment, or subscribe, email