V’Zot HaBracha (And This Blessing) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 33-34

Torah Portion:  V’Zot HaBracha (And This Blessing) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 33-34

Tonight we study the last Torah Portion of the year. It is the final speech of Moshe to the people before he goes up on the mountain to die.  When we read his words it is touching to see that even in this last hour before his death his main concern is for the people and their new leader, not of himself.

Vayelech (And He Went) D’Varim (Deut.) 31

Torah Portion:  Vayelech (And He Went) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 31

HafTorah: Hosea 14:1-10, Micah 7:18-20, Joel 2:15-27

Today I want us to look at this chapter and see what it teaches us about “doing.” This Sabbath is called, “Shabbat Shura.” Shuvah is the word for repentance.  Moshe speaks here on the last day of his life to a people he has led for the last 40 years. These are his parting words. We have seen him over the course of this last book of Torah recount the forty years of wandering.  Here he is telling the people to come together every seven years and hear the story again.

Ki Tavo (When You Come) Deut. 26-29

Torah Portion:  Ki Tavo (When You Come) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 26-29

HafTorah: Isaiah 60:1-22

Today we read the Torah portion, “When You Come.” It begins with Moshe speaking of when they come into the Land of Promise, their inheritance.  I would like us to begin by looking at this first verse for a moment and see if it might apply to us. I want to look especially at the verbs following inheritance, possess it and live in it.

Ki Tetze (When You Go Out) D’varim (Deut.) 21-25

Torah Portion:  Ki Tetze (When You Go Out) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 21-25

HafTorah: Isaiah 54:1-10

What would you say would be the theme of this Torah portion? In my opinion it is describing how we are to live our lives each day and how we are to relate to people.  How are we to act toward our spouse, our children or others whom we have dealings with during the day? One of the principles our nation operates on is individualism, looking out for our self, no one can tell me what to do or how to live my life. How does this square with both the New Testament and the Hebrew Scriptures? Not very well. As we read this section of Torah we see over and over that we are part of a community and have responsibility for each other.  Our world is to be bigger than just us. So how are we to know what G-d’s Word says? We are to study, really dig it out everyday. By this we know what He says to us about the decisions we make. Even today, and from before the time of Messiah, Jews have been taught how to live by each day reading, memorizing and internalizing G-d’s Word. Music and poetry are two of the most effective ways to get information to remain in our memory. When we are filled with the Word of G-d we are better equipped to meet the world. ( II Timothy 2:15)

Shoftim (Judges) D’Varim (Deut) 16-21

Torah Portion:  Shoftim (Judges) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 16-21

HafTorah: Isaiah 51:12-53:12

This week we read the Torah portion Shoftim. This portion continues Moshe’s instructions to the people about how they were to live and carry on their lives in the Land of Promise. We will look at several scriptures that will give us insight into our own lives and how we are to live and relate to our world today. I think we will see a common thread worked through these verses. We will see that we have a responsibility as believers in this world to ourselves and to those around us to live our lives with the will and word of G-d always on our lips and in our hearts.

Re’eh (See) D’Varim (Deut.) 11-16

Torah Portion:  Re’eh (See) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 11-16

HafTorah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5

The opening word of this Torah portion is Re’eh or See or Behold. The first word Moshe utters in his speech to the people is See, signifying that was is to follow is important. Pay attention! It is imperative that they not only see or listen but grasp the importance of what he is about to say. The inhabitants of the land are about to be displaced, defeated by Israel. Why? Because they are sinful, idol worshippers and they must be removed from the Land. It is like G-d is saying see what is about to happen to these nations because they have been living under the curse. They are an example for the people of Israel and for us of how not to live.

Ekev (Because) Deut 7-11

Torah Portion:  Ekev (Because) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 7:12-11:25

HafTorah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3

This week we read a Torah portion that contains many spiritual lessons like the second paragraph of the Shema as well as Moshe’s speech about what G-d expects of the people when they cross over into the Land.

One glaring difference is in the personal pronoun used mainly in this portion as compared to last week. For example, the first part of the Shema from last week’s portion was written with the singular pronoun, “you.”  This week we read the second paragraph and see it written with the plural pronoun, “you.” I would like us to explore this and see what it might say to us spiritually. This is especially important given what happened in Israel this past week and what is going on in our country and communities each day. Deut. 7:12-13 is an example of this, when Israel as a nation kept G-d’s Torah He would bless them and multiply them.

D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 1-3

Torah Portion:  D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 1:1-3:22

HafTorah: Isaiah 1:1-27

This section begins with Moshe speaking to the people before they enter the Land. What do you think was the purpose of G-d freeing them from Egypt and bringing them here to claim their inheritance? Why did He reach out and bring us to Him? Here I think G-d brought the people of Israel for the purpose of being an example of how His people could live life as a G-dly people. A people who were concerned with righteousness and justice, a people who would be a light to the world around them, that it was/is possible to live life, work, marry, raise a family and still be a people who cared for the poor, the widow and orphan. He wanted them to be a people who treated everyone with respect and dignity, so is His wish for us. A people who were able to reflect their Father in the everyday life they lived.  I believe this is the purpose of Moshe’s speech to them.

Matot and Masa’ei B’Midbar (Num) 30-36

Torah Portion:  B’Midbar (Numbers) 30:2-36:13

HafTorah: Jeremiah 1:1-2:28

Tonight we finish the book of B’Midbar or Numbers by reading a double portion of the book. These two sections cover a wide range of topics from the giving of a vow, the division of the Land, the victory over the Midianites where we read of the death of Bi’lam, all the journeys of Israel and the death of Aaron.

Pinchas B’Midbar (Num) 25-30

Torah Portion:  Pinchas B’Midbar (Numbers) 25:10-30:1

HafTorah: I Kings 18:46-19:21

Tonight we read the portion Pinchas, which brings light to the ending of last week’s Torah portion. This section of scripture ranges from the blessing given to Pinchas, to the census of the people, to the request of the daughters who’s father had died with no male heirs, to Moshe praying for the new leader of Israel and ending with the description of the holidays and offerings.  Is there anything that ties this all together for us?  Maybe it begins and ends with the priesthood and covenant of Shalom given to Pinchas.