קריאות לימי הותיקים | Torah and Haftarah Readings for Days Recognizing Military Veterans, compiled by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Unlike memorial days, which are devoted to those who gave their lives in war, certain holidays (such as the American Veterans Day on November 11th) celebrate those who served for their country and lived. This is a Torah reading (divided into three aliyot) and a Haftarah reading to be recited for such holidays. The aliyot are from Shoftim, describing the rules for just warfare and treatment of those in need. The first reading discusses the sanctuary cities for those needing refuge. The second and third describe the process for heading out to war, concluding with the word “peace.” The haftarah, from Second Samuel, describes the heroic deeds of David’s friends and allies in battle.

These readings would be performed as in a normal Torah service on weekdays, with two exceptions. If your local armed forces or veterans holiday occurs on a regular Shabbat, then the second and third readings would be joined together as a special maftir and the haftarah would not be read. If it occurs on a special Shabbat (i.e. one with a distinct maftir) or on a festival, then the entire reading, including the haftarah, is moved to the next weekday.

Note: “The CAUSE” is used to translate the Divine Name YHVH, based on the philosophical idea of God as the Prime Mover and on the interpretation of the Name as a causative form of the copula – “causes to be.”

This is part four of what will be a series of Torah and Haftarah readings for civic holidays. A reading for Memorial Day can be found here, one for American Independence Day can be found here, and one for Labor Day can be found here.

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

קריאות לימי הותיקים (לאומי או בינלאומי)
Scriptural Readings for Days Recognizing Military Veterans (National or International)

כהן (דברים יט:ח-י)
Cohen (Deuteronomy 19:8-10)

וְאִם־יַרְחִ֞יב יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ אֶת־גְּבֻ֣לְךָ֔ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֖ע לַאֲבֹתֶ֑יךָ וְנָ֤תַן לְךָ֙ אֶת־כׇּל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֶּ֖ר לָתֵ֥ת לַאֲבֹתֶֽיךָ׃ כִּֽי־תִשְׁמֹר֩ אֶת־כׇּל־הַמִּצְוָ֨ה הַזֹּ֜את לַעֲשֹׂתָ֗הּ אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֣י מְצַוְּךָ֮ הַיּוֹם֒ לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ וְלָלֶ֥כֶת בִּדְרָכָ֖יו כׇּל־הַיָּמִ֑ים וְיָסַפְתָּ֨ לְךָ֥ עוֹד֙ שָׁלֹ֣שׁ עָרִ֔ים עַ֖ל הַשָּׁלֹ֥שׁ הָאֵֽלֶּה׃ וְלֹ֤א יִשָּׁפֵךְ֙ דָּ֣ם נָקִ֔י בְּקֶ֣רֶב אַרְצְךָ֔ אֲשֶׁר֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לְךָ֖ נַחֲלָ֑ה וְהָיָ֥ה עָלֶ֖יךָ דָּמִֽים׃
And if the CAUSE your God widens your borders, as sworn to your ancestors , and gives you all the land said to be given to them—as you observe all this commandment, to do it, that I command you today, to love the CAUSE your God and to walk in God’s ways all days, you will add yourself three more cities to these three. And the innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land that the CAUSE your God gives to you an inheritance, not having bloodguilt upon it.

מדליגים עד „כי תצא למלחמה‟
The scroll is rolled.

לוי (דברים כ:א-ד)
Levi (Deuteronomy 20:1-4)

כִּֽי־תֵצֵ֨א לַמִּלְחָמָ֜ה עַל־אֹיְבֶ֗ךָ וְֽרָאִ֜יתָ ס֤וּס וָרֶ֙כֶב֙ עַ֚ם רַ֣ב מִמְּךָ֔ לֹ֥א תִירָ֖א מֵהֶ֑ם כִּֽי־יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ הַמַּֽעַלְךָ֖ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ וְהָיָ֕ה כְּקָֽרׇבְכֶ֖ם אֶל־הַמִּלְחָמָ֑ה וְנִגַּ֥שׁ הַכֹּהֵ֖ן וְדִבֶּ֥ר אֶל־הָעָֽם׃ וְאָמַ֤ר אֲלֵהֶם֙ שְׁמַ֣ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אַתֶּ֨ם קְרֵבִ֥ים הַיּ֛וֹם לַמִּלְחָמָ֖ה עַל־אֹיְבֵיכֶ֑ם אַל־יֵרַ֣ךְ לְבַבְכֶ֗ם אַל־תִּֽירְא֧וּ וְאַֽל־תַּחְפְּז֛וּ וְאַל־תַּֽעַרְצ֖וּ מִפְּנֵיהֶֽם׃ כִּ֚י יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם הַהֹלֵ֖ךְ עִמָּכֶ֑ם לְהִלָּחֵ֥ם לָכֶ֛ם עִם־אֹיְבֵיכֶ֖ם לְהוֹשִׁ֥יעַ אֶתְכֶֽם׃
When you go out to war on your enemies, and you see horse and rider, a people stronger than you, do not fear them, for the CAUSE your God is with you, who brought you from the land of Egypt. And it will be, as you close in on them to battle, the priest will approach and speak to the people. And he will say to them, “Listen, Israel! You are closing in today to battle your enemies! Let not your heart weaken, fear not and tremble not and dread them not! For the CAUSE your God goes with you to battle for you, against your enemies to save you!”

מפטיר (דברים כ:ה-י)
Maftir (Deuteronomy 20:5-10)

וְדִבְּר֣וּ הַשֹּֽׁטְרִים֮ אֶל־הָעָ֣ם לֵאמֹר֒ מִֽי־הָאִ֞ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֨ר בָּנָ֤ה בַֽיִת־חָדָשׁ֙ וְלֹ֣א חֲנָכ֔וֹ יֵלֵ֖ךְ וְיָשֹׁ֣ב לְבֵית֑וֹ פֶּן־יָמוּת֙ בַּמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וְאִ֥ישׁ אַחֵ֖ר יַחְנְכֶֽנּוּ׃ וּמִֽי־הָאִ֞ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־נָטַ֥ע כֶּ֙רֶם֙ וְלֹ֣א חִלְּל֔וֹ יֵלֵ֖ךְ וְיָשֹׁ֣ב לְבֵית֑וֹ פֶּן־יָמוּת֙ בַּמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וְאִ֥ישׁ אַחֵ֖ר יְחַלְּלֶֽנּוּ׃ וּמִֽי־הָאִ֞ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־אֵרַ֤שׂ אִשָּׁה֙ וְלֹ֣א לְקָחָ֔הּ יֵלֵ֖ךְ וְיָשֹׁ֣ב לְבֵית֑וֹ פֶּן־יָמוּת֙ בַּמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וְאִ֥ישׁ אַחֵ֖ר יִקָּחֶֽנָּה׃ וְיָסְפ֣וּ הַשֹּׁטְרִים֮ לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־הָעָם֒ וְאָמְר֗וּ מִי־הָאִ֤ישׁ הַיָּרֵא֙ וְרַ֣ךְ הַלֵּבָ֔ב יֵלֵ֖ךְ וְיָשֹׁ֣ב לְבֵית֑וֹ וְלֹ֥א יִמַּ֛ס אֶת־לְבַ֥ב אֶחָ֖יו כִּלְבָבֽוֹ׃ וְהָיָ֛ה כְּכַלֹּ֥ת הַשֹּׁטְרִ֖ים לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־הָעָ֑ם וּפָ֥קְד֛וּ שָׂרֵ֥י צְבָא֖וֹת בְּרֹ֥אשׁ הָעָֽם׃ כִּֽי־תִקְרַ֣ב אֶל־עִ֔יר לְהִלָּחֵ֖ם עָלֶ֑יהָ וְקָרָ֥אתָ אֵלֶ֖יהָ לְשָׁלֽוֹם׃
And the leaders will speak to the people and say, “Has a man built a new house but has not dedicated it? He may go and return to his home, lest he die in battle and another man dedicates it. And has a man planted a vineyard but has not harvested it? He may go and return to his home, lest he die in battle and another man harvest it. And has a man betrothed a wife but has not married her? He may go and return to his home, lest he die in battle and another man marry her.” And the leaders will continue to speak with the people and say, “Has a man fear and a weak heart? He may go and return home, lest his brothers’ hearts melt as well.” And it will be, when the leaders finish speaking to the people, commanders of the army will lead and head the people. When you close in on a city to battle it, you will offer it peace.

הפטרה (שמואל ב כג:ח-כט)
Haftarah (II Samuel 23:8-29)

אֵ֛לֶּה שְׁמ֥וֹת הַגִּבֹּרִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְדָוִ֑ד יֹשֵׁ֨ב בַּשֶּׁ֜בֶת תַּחְכְּמֹנִ֣י  ׀ רֹ֣אשׁ הַשָּׁלִשִׁ֗י ה֚וּא עֲדִינ֣וֹ העצנו הָֽעֶצְנִ֔י עַל־שְׁמֹנֶ֥ה מֵא֛וֹת חָלָ֖ל בְּפַ֥עַם אחד אֶחָֽת׃
These are the names of David’s soldiers: Rest-Dweller the Taḥmonite, head of the Three, he is Adino the Etṣnite – against eight hundred he slew at once.

וְאַחֲרָ֛ו אֶלְעָזָ֥ר בֶּן־דֹּד֖וֹ [דדי] בֶּן־אֲחֹחִ֑י בִּשְׁלֹשָׁ֨ה גברים הַגִּבֹּרִ֜ים עִם־דָּוִ֗ד בְּחָרְפָ֤ם בַּפְּלִשְׁתִּים֙ נֶאֶסְפוּ־שָׁ֣ם לַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וַֽיַּעֲל֖וּ אִ֥ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ ה֣וּא קָם֩ וַיַּ֨ךְ בַּפְּלִשְׁתִּ֜ים עַ֣ד  ׀ כִּֽי־יָגְעָ֣ה יָד֗וֹ וַתִּדְבַּ֤ק יָדוֹ֙ אֶל־הַחֶ֔רֶב וַיַּ֧עַשׂ יְהֹוָ֛ה תְּשׁוּעָ֥ה גְדוֹלָ֖ה בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא וְהָעָ֛ם יָשֻׁ֥בוּ אַחֲרָ֖יו אַךְ־לְפַשֵּֽׁט׃
And after him Elazar son of Dodo son of Aḥoḥi, among the three soldiers with David at their defiance of the Philistines amassed there for battle, when the Israelite withdrew. He stood up, and smote the Philistines until his arm tired, and his hand stuck to the sword, and the CAUSE made a great victory on that day; then the troops returned after him, only to strip.

וְאַחֲרָ֛יו שַׁמָּ֥ה בֶן־אָגֵ֖א הָרָרִ֑י וַיֵּאָסְפ֨וּ פְלִשְׁתִּ֜ים לַחַיָּ֗ה וַתְּהִי־שָׁ֞ם חֶלְקַ֤ת הַשָּׂדֶה֙ מְלֵאָ֣ה עֲדָשִׁ֔ים וְהָעָ֥ם נָ֖ס מִפְּנֵ֥י פְלִשְׁתִּֽים׃ וַיִּתְיַצֵּ֤ב בְּתוֹךְ־הַחֶלְקָה֙ וַיַּצִּילֶ֔הָ וַיַּ֖ךְ אֶת־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֑ים וַיַּ֥עַשׂ יְהֹוָ֖ה תְּשׁוּעָ֥ה גְדוֹלָֽה׃
And after him Shamma son of Agei the Hararite, and the Philistines had amassed in force and there was a field full of lentils, and the troops fled from the Philistines. And he stood up in the middle of the field and defended it and smote the Philistines, and the CAUSE made a great victory.

וַיֵּֽרְד֨וּ [שלשים] שְׁלֹשָׁ֜ה מֵהַשְּׁלֹשִׁ֣ים רֹ֗אשׁ וַיָּבֹ֤אוּ אֶל־קָצִיר֙ אֶל־דָּוִ֔ד אֶל־מְעָרַ֖ת עֲדֻלָּ֑ם וְחַיַּ֣ת פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים חֹנָ֖ה בְּעֵ֥מֶק רְפָאִֽים׃ וְדָוִ֖ד אָ֣ז בַּמְּצוּדָ֑ה וּמַצַּ֣ב פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים אָ֖ז בֵּ֥ית לָֽחֶם׃ וַיִּתְאַוֶּ֥ה דָוִ֖ד וַיֹּאמַ֑ר מִ֚י יַשְׁקֵ֣נִי מַ֔יִם מִבֹּ֥אר בֵּֽית־לֶ֖חֶם אֲשֶׁ֥ר בַּשָּֽׁעַר׃ וַיִּבְקְעוּ֩ שְׁלֹ֨שֶׁת הַגִּבֹּרִ֜ים בְּמַחֲנֵ֣ה פְלִשְׁתִּ֗ים וַיִּֽשְׁאֲבוּ־מַ֙יִם֙ מִבֹּ֤אר בֵּֽית־לֶ֙חֶם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּשַּׁ֔עַר וַיִּשְׂא֖וּ וַיָּבִ֣אוּ אֶל־דָּוִ֑ד וְלֹ֤א אָבָה֙ לִשְׁתּוֹתָ֔ם וַיַּסֵּ֥ךְ אֹתָ֖ם לַיהֹוָֽה׃ וַיֹּ֡אמֶר חָלִ֩ילָה֩ לִּ֨י יְהֹוָ֜ה מֵעֲשֹׂ֣תִי זֹ֗את הֲדַ֤ם הָאֲנָשִׁים֙ הַהֹלְכִ֣ים בְּנַפְשׁוֹתָ֔ם וְלֹ֥א אָבָ֖ה לִשְׁתּוֹתָ֑ם אֵ֣לֶּה עָשׂ֔וּ שְׁלֹ֖שֶׁת הַגִּבֹּרִֽים׃
And three of the thirty chiefs went down and came during the harvest to David to the cave of Adullam, and the Philistine force was encamping in the Valley of the Giants. And David was then in the stronghold, and a garrison of Philistines was in Bethlehem. And David had a craving and said, “Who could get me water from the Bethlehem well by the gate!” And the three soldiers broke through the Philistine encampment and drew water from the Bethlehem well by the gate and carried it back and brought it to David, and he would not drink it and poured it out to the CAUSE. For he said, “The CAUSE forbid I do this! Is this not the blood of the people who went and risked their lives?” So he would not drink it—thus did the three soldiers.

וַֽאֲבִישַׁ֞י אֲחִ֣י  ׀ יוֹאָ֣ב בֶּן־צְרוּיָ֗ה ה֚וּא רֹ֣אשׁ [השלשי] הַשְּׁלֹשָׁ֔ה וְהוּא֙ עוֹרֵ֣ר אֶת־חֲנִית֔וֹ עַל־שְׁלֹ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת חָלָ֑ל וְלוֹ־שֵׁ֖ם בַּשְּׁלֹשָֽׁה׃ מִן־הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה֙ הֲכִ֣י נִכְבָּ֔ד וַיְהִ֥י לָהֶ֖ם לְשָׂ֑ר וְעַד־הַשְּׁלֹשָׁ֖ה לֹא־בָֽא׃
And Avishai, brother of Joab son of Tṣeruiah, who was head of a trio. He held up his spear against three hundred and and slew them, and got a reputation among his trio – of those three, he was the most regarded, and he became their leader, but he did not join the Big Three.

וּבְנָיָ֨הוּ בֶן־יְהוֹיָדָ֧ע בֶּן־אִֽישׁ־חַ֛יִל [חי] רַב־פְּעָלִ֖ים מִֽקַּבְצְאֵ֑ל ה֣וּא הִכָּ֗ה אֵ֣ת שְׁנֵ֤י אֲרִאֵל֙ מוֹאָ֔ב וְ֠ה֠וּא יָרַ֞ד וְהִכָּ֧ה אֶֽת־הָאֲרִ֛י [האריה] בְּת֥וֹךְ הַבֹּ֖אר בְּי֥וֹם הַשָּֽׁלֶג׃ וְהוּא־הִכָּה֩ אֶת־אִ֨ישׁ מִצְרִ֜י אשר אִ֣ישׁ מַרְאֶ֗ה וּבְיַ֤ד הַמִּצְרִי֙ חֲנִ֔ית וַיֵּ֥רֶד אֵלָ֖יו בַּשָּׁ֑בֶט וַיִּגְזֹ֤ל אֶֽת־הַחֲנִית֙ מִיַּ֣ד הַמִּצְרִ֔י וַיַּהַרְגֵ֖הוּ בַּחֲנִיתֽוֹ׃ אֵ֣לֶּה עָשָׂ֔ה בְּנָיָ֖הוּ בֶּן־יְהוֹיָדָ֑ע וְלוֹ־שֵׁ֖ם בִּשְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה הַגִּבֹּרִֽים׃ מִן־הַשְּׁלֹשִׁ֣ים נִכְבָּ֔ד וְאֶל־הַשְּׁלֹשָׁ֖ה לֹא־בָ֑א וַיְשִׂמֵ֥הוּ דָוִ֖ד אֶל־מִשְׁמַעְתּֽוֹ׃
And Benaiahu son of Yehoiada son of a virtuous man, great in deeds, from Qabtṣeel—he smote the two of Ariel the Moabite, and he went down and smote the lion in the pit on a snowy day. And he smote an Egyptian man, a sight to behold—in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear but he went down against him with a stick and grabbed the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. Thus did Benaiah son of Yehoiada, and he got a reputation among the three soldiers. Of the Thirty he was regarded, although he did not join the Big Three, David set him over the guard.

עֲשָׂהאֵ֥ל אֲחִֽי־יוֹאָ֖ב בַּשְּׁלֹשִׁ֑ים אֶלְחָנָ֥ן בֶּן־דֹּד֖וֹ בֵּ֥ית לָֽחֶם׃ שַׁמָּה֙ הַחֲרֹדִ֔י אֱלִיקָ֖א הַחֲרֹדִֽי׃ חֶ֚לֶץ הַפַּלְטִ֔י עִירָ֥א בֶן־עִקֵּ֖שׁ הַתְּקוֹעִֽי׃ אֲבִיעֶ֙זֶר֙ הָעַנְּתֹתִ֔י מְבֻנַּ֖י הַחֻשָׁתִֽי׃ צַלְמוֹן֙ הָאֲחֹחִ֔י מַהְרַ֖י הַנְּטֹפָתִֽי׃ חֵ֥לֶב בֶּֽן־בַּעֲנָ֖ה הַנְּטֹפָתִ֑י אִתַּי֙ בֶּן־רִיבַ֔י מִגִּבְעַ֖ת בְּנֵ֥י בִנְיָמִֽן׃ בְּנָיָ֙הוּ֙ פִּרְעָ֣תֹנִ֔י הִדַּ֖י מִנַּ֥חֲלֵי גָֽעַשׁ׃ אֲבִֽי־עַלְבוֹן֙ הָעַרְבָתִ֔י עַזְמָ֖וֶת הַבַּרְחֻמִֽי׃ אֶלְיַחְבָּא֙ הַשַּׁ֣עַלְבֹנִ֔י בְּנֵ֥י יָשֵׁ֖ן יְהוֹנָתָֽן׃ שַׁמָּה֙ הַהֲרָרִ֔י אֲחִיאָ֥ם בֶּן־שָׁרָ֖ר הָארָרִֽי׃ אֱלִיפֶ֥לֶט בֶּן־אֲחַסְבַּ֖י בֶּן־הַמַּעֲכָתִ֑י אֱלִיעָ֥ם בֶּן־אֲחִיתֹ֖פֶל הַגִּלֹנִֽי׃ חצרו חֶצְרַי֙ הַֽכַּרְמְלִ֔י פַּעֲרַ֖י הָאַרְבִּֽי׃ יִגְאָ֤ל בֶּן־נָתָן֙ מִצֹּבָ֔ה בָּנִ֖י הַגָּדִֽי׃ צֶ֖לֶק הָעַמֹּנִ֑י נַחְרַי֙ הַבְּאֵ֣רֹתִ֔י נשאי נֹשֵׂ֕א כְּלֵ֖י יוֹאָ֥ב בֶּן־צְרֻיָֽה׃ עִירָא֙ הַיִּתְרִ֔י גָּרֵ֖ב הַיִּתְרִֽי׃ אוּרִיָּה֙ הַחִתִּ֔י כֹּ֖ל שְׁלֹשִׁ֥ים וְשִׁבְעָֽה׃ 
Asahel brother of Joab was in the Thirty, Elḥanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem. Shamma the Ḥarodite, Eliqa the Ḥarodite, Ḥeletṣ the Palṭite, Ira son of Iqesh the Teqoite, Aviezer the Annathothite, Mevunnai the Ḥushathite, Tṣalmon the Aḥoḥite, Mahrai the Neṭophathite, Ḥeilev son of Baanah the Neṭophathite, Itai son of Rivai from Gibeah of the Benjaminites, Benaiahu Pirathonite, Hidai from the Ga’ash wadis, Avi-alvon the Arvathite, Azmawet the Barḥumite, Eliaḥba the Sha’alvonite, the sons of Sleeping Jonathan, Shamma the Hararite, Aḥiam son of Sarar the Ararite, Elipheleṭ son of Aḥasbai son of the Maacathite, Eliam son of Aḥitophel the Gilonite, Ḥetṣrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, Yigal son of Nathan of Tṣova, Bani the Gadite, Tṣeleq the Ammonite, Naḥrai the Beerothite (armsbearer of Joab son of Tṣeruiah), Ira the Ithrite, Garev the Ithrite, Uriah the Ḥittite, all in all thirty-seven.

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