Torah Portion: V’Zot HaBrachah (And this is the blessing) (Deut.) 32:1-34:12
HafTorah: Joshua 1:1-18
Tonight we finish our yearly Torah cycle by finishing the book of Deut. (D’Varim). Next week we begin the cycle again with the book of Genesis. Since we did not do a Torah study last week I wanted to take a moment to look at HaAzinu.
Torah Portion: Nitzavim (Standing) (Deut.) 29:9-30:20
HafTorah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
NT Romans 9:30-10:13; Hebrews 12:14-15
Before we really get into our study, I want to share something with you that I read this week. Israel became a state in May 1948. The Hebrew year when this occurred was 5708. Now to the interesting part: This week we read in Deut. 30:3, “The L-rd our G-d will bring you back from captivity and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where He has scattered you.” The article I read said this is the 5708th verse in Torah. If this is correct, and I didn’t count to see, what an orderly G-d we serve. Thousands of years ago G-d led Moses to speak this verse that would corresponds exactly to when the State of Israel would be formed. He is faithful, He is always faithful to Israel and to us. He is worthy of our trust, our love and faith in Him.
Torah Portion: Ki Tavo (When You Come) (Deut.) 26:1-29:8
HafTorah: Isaiah 60:1-22
NT Matt. 13:1-23; Luke 21:1-4; Acts 28:17-31; Romans 11:1-15
Today before we go on to Ki Tavo I would like to go back to last week’s Torah section to cover something I overlooked. In D’Varim (Deut.) 23 we read you should not abhor or hate an Edomite. You should not abhor an Egyptian. Now think for a minute about this verse. What had the Egyptians done to Israel? Read Shemot (Exodus) 1:22. Yet here we see Moses speaking as if this had never happened, almost saying Israel owed them a debt of gratitude. On the other hand they were to recite the story of Exodus each year commemorated with bitter herbs and unleavened bread so their children would never forget. What is Moses talking about here? To be free you have to let go of hate. If not, Moses might take them out of Egypt but would not be able to take Egypt out of them. Mentally and emotionally they would still be slaves, still in chains – chains of their mind and emotions. We must live with the past but not in the past. If we let our past define who we are we are not truly free of it. Moses tells the people over and over to remember the past not for revenge but so that they would remember to not treat others the way they were treated. They should give to the poor, leave some of their crops in the field to share with others and share their lives with others. Our memory of the past is not to preserve hate but to conquer it and to recall how it felt to be a victim. Remember: not to live in the past but to prevent a repetition of it.
Torah Portion: Ki Titze (When You Go Ou) Devarim (Deut.) 21:10-25:19
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:1-10
NT Matt. 5:31-32; 19:3-12; 22:23-32 Mark 10:2-12; 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38, I Cor 9:3-18; Gal. 3:9-14.
This Torah section takes place on the east bank of the Jordan River before the people cross over. Moses reiterates the commandments to a new generation. More than 70 of the 613 commandments are covered in this section, several of which we see expounded on in the New Testament.
Torah Portion: Shoftim (Judges) Devarim (Deut.) 16:18-21:9
HafTorah: Isaiah 51:12-53:12
NT Matt. 5:38-42; 18:15-20; Acts 3:13-26; 7:35-53; I Cor 5:9-13; I Tim 5:17-22; Hebrews 10:28-31
Today I want us to look at Devarim 16:18 to begin our discussion. This verse says to set up judges and policemen in all your gates. First, I would like to look at this on its surface and see how this was applied in both Judaism and Christianity. In the Land in the time of Yeshua every Jewish town had a panel of at least three people considered to be knowledgeable and honest to handle the legal questions that arose in the town. They were to apply Torah principles in their decisions. On a national level there was the Sanhedrin that dealt with the most difficult questions. One rule observed by the people was to bring their cases only before a Jewish court. To take it elsewhere was seen as a great sin. Why? Other Gentile courts would not hand down rulings based on Torah but based on their own system. In I Cor. 6:1-6 we read where Paul uses the same reasoning when speaking to the church at Corinth admonishing them to not go before unbelievers to decide a matter of justice. Why, for the same reason. So early believers were urged to follow the pattern of their roots on this question of judges.
Torah Portion: Ekev (Because) Devarim (Deut.) 7:12-11:25
HafTorah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
NT Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; James 5:7-11
Ekev: sometimes translated as “because.” Does anyone know where we have seen at least the root of this Hebrew word before? A hint: it is the root of the name of one of the Patriarchs. It is the name of Jacob. Why was he named Jacob? It is because he held his brother’s heel when they were born. So you could translate it as “on the heels of” or following. This opening verse this week really ties what follows from the last verse of last weeks section, Deut. 7:11, linking heart felt obedience to G-d’s blessing. Moses then goes on to point a beautiful picture of what will be the result of their obedience.
Torah Portion: Va’etchanan (I Pleaded) Devarim (Deut.) 3:23-7:11
HafTorah: Isaiah 40:1-26
NT Matt. 4:1-11; 22:33-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 4:1-13; 10:25-37; Acts 13:13-43; Romans 3:27-31; I Tim 2:4-6; James 2:14-26
“I pleaded with the L-rd at that time.” Deut 3:23: Moses asked over and over that G-d allow him to enter the Land. Jewish sages teach that He wished to enter Israel mainly that he could keep all the commandments of G-d. Some could only be kept in Israel – such as first fruits. If they are correct we see Messiah being like Moses teaching His disciples in Matt. 5:17, “I did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill.” What does this mean? Yeshua like Moses sought to fulfill the Law by being able to give us an example of how one was to show his love of G-d by living one’s life completely as G-d intended.
Torah Portion: Devarim (words) Devarim (Deut.) 1:1-3:22
HafTorah: Isaiah 1:1-27
NT John 15:1-11; Hebrews 3:7-4:11
Tonight we read the first Torah portion of the book of Devarim (Deut.). This entire book is somewhat a sermon from Moses to the people. In it we see him sharing and retelling the history of the last 40 years as well as a recounting of the Law from which we get the Greek word that became the common name for the book. We might wonder, why did he spend all this time going back over the Law. Rashi, a great Jewish writer and teacher says, “They (the words of Torah) should be new in your eyes everyday. So we go over the Torah each year and each year find things that speak to us that we never saw before.
Torah Portion: Matot (Tribes) & Masa’ei (Journeys) Numbers (B’Midbar) 30:2-36:13
HafTorah: Jeremiah 1:1-2:28
NT Matthew 5:33-37; James 4:1-12
This week we read a double Torah section, the first Matot is given to the heads of the tribes of Israel and covers some very important material, especially for us as grafted in believers. It begins with a teaching on vows and also the responsibility of the husband in the matter of vows, not only for his own but of special importance to us, also those of his wife. Why should this be of any interest to us? Yeshua is the head or husband of the assembly. (Eph. 5:22-33) Given this, these verses in B’Midbar can give us insight into how Yeshua freed us from our sins and took them upon Himself.
Torah Portion: Pinchas Numbers (B’Midbar) 25:10-30:1
HafTorah: I Kings 18:46-19:21
This week we read the Torah section named Pinchas. In it we read the end of the story from last week where Pinchas stopped the plague of G-d by killing Zimri and Cozbi who were blatantly sinning before G-d. In this weeks section we read where G-d says that Pinchas was zealous with the zeal of G-d. Numbers 25:11. In I Kings 19:10 we see Elijah saying that he was zealous for the L-rd. Because of this use of the word zealous, the Rabbis picked this reading in I Kings 18:46-19:21 to be read along with the Torah portion named Pinchas. What motivated Pinchas to this zeal that he displayed in B’Midbar? I would like to suggest that possibly it could have been his love of G-d and his brothers and sisters who were dying around him because of G-d’s plague.