Haftorah: A Litany For Hannah

by Rabbi Shefa Gold

(5768, 2007)

V'titpalel Chana, V'titpalel Chana
 (And Hannah Prayed)

There was a man from the mountains of Efrayim, whose name was Elkanah, the son of Yeroham, who was the son of Elihu, who was the son of Tohu, who was the son of Tzuf. I tell you of his lineage because all of Elkana's ancestors had been waiting for their descendent Elkanah to finally meet the holy mother of prayer who would open the mouths and hearts of Israel.

V'titpalel Chana, V'titpalel Chana

Now Elakanah had two wives: the first one's name was Hannah; the second was called Peninah. And Peninah had two sons: but Hannah had no children.

V'titpalel Chana, V'titpalel Chana

From time to time the whole family would go to Shilo to worship and offer sacrifice. Hannah was so unhappy. She felt as if God had closed her womb and with it the door to all hope, vitality and magic in her life. Peninah's fruitfulness seemed like an affront to her misery. Hannah wept and would not eat.

V'titpalel Chana, V'titpalel Chana

Her husband Elkanah would say to her, "Why are you weeping, Hannah, and why won't you eat? And why is your heart troubled? Am I not worth more to you than ten children?" Hannah knew that he loved her, but she could not receive Elkanah's love, for both her womb and her heart were closed.

V'titpalel Chana, V'titpalel Chana

Hannah sat in the doorway of the House of God. She sat in her bitterness and prayed and wept. There in the doorway Hannah had a vision of God as a great Mother surrounded by her children. She called out, "Oh, You who have created so many, who nurse the world at your breast, could you not create one child for me?"

V'titpalel Chana, V'titpalel Chana

Hannah prayed,
And wept,
And bargained,
And vowed,
Her lips danced wildly,
And Hannah's heart finally opened.

V'titpalel Chana, V'titpalel Chana

Eli, the Priest of Shilo, thought she was drunk... or crazy. Certainly defiling and disturbing the Sanctuary. Certainly lacking in decorum.

And Hannah protested, "No my Lord, my spirit has a hard edge that has not been dulled by wine or drink. Only my soul has been poured out to God."

Eli blessed her, and Hannah left with heart and appetite and faith renewed. As her remembrance grew, God remembered her.

V'titpalel Chana, V'titpalel Chana



Rabbi Shefa can be reached by email at: Shefa@RabbiShefaGold.com

Rachmiel O'Regan can be reached by email at: CDEEP@RabbiShefaGold.com

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