Torah Portion: Ha’azinu (Hear) D’varim (Deut) 32
Tonight we read the Torah portion known as Ha’azinu, translated as “Give ear.” This portion is almost entirely composed of the “Song of Moshe.” In this song Moshe speaks of Israel’s falling away from G-d in the years following his death. He called all of Israel together to hear his words. He also commanded them to teach the words to their children and pass this song down through the generations to come. This song is given as witness to the falling away of G-d’s people and the suffering they would undergo because of their wanderings. However, it ends on a note of hope as the Father reminds Israel of who He is and who they are. They are His people and He would provide atonement for them. Deut. 32:43.
Torah Portion: Nitzavim (Standing) Vayelekh (And He Went) D’varim (Deut) 29:9-31:30
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 61:10-63:9, Hosea 14:1-10, Micah 7:18-20, Joel 2:15-27
This week we read a double portion leading up to Rosh Hashanah. These two Torah portions come at the end of Moshe’s life. In them he presents many challenges and goals for his people and for us.
At the beginning of our reading Moshe speaks to the people about entering into the covenant with G-d. He makes a point that this covenant is to include not just the leaders or the elite of the tribes but is for everyone, the wives, the children and even the strangers in the camp. The word used here in Hebrew for stranger is, “ger.” This word indicates someone who was not Jewish but had attached himself or herself to Israel. They were people living among the Israelites. I think this is important for us to look at on a deeper level, especially in light of what Paul says in Romans 11:16 that we non- Jewish believers have been grafted in to the Jewish olive tree. We have, like the ger, become part of Israel, not becoming Jewish but sharing in the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As that occurred we then became partakers of their olive tree. Yeshua became our guide as to what that means in our life. So for us as believers this verse should bring joy to us. As we celebrate Rosh Hashanah this coming Wednesday evening we are gathering with Israel to come before the L-rd at His appointed time to worship Him as these people were doing as Moshe spoke these words to them.
Torah Portion: Ki Tavo (When You Come) D’varim (Deut) 26-29
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 60:1-22
“When You Come In” is our Torah portion this week. It speaks of when Israel came into their inheritance and how they were to live their lives. It also covers the blessings and curses that would come as a result of how they lived each day. I would like to look at this Torah section in how it relates to us as G-d’s children who have come into our inheritance and what impact that should have on our lives daily.
Torah Portion: Ki Tetze (When You Go Out) D’varim (Deut) 21-25
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:1-10
This week we read a Torah portion packed with commandments. As you read through this portion you will find most of the commandments have to do with how we treat people as well as how we relate to G-d. To begin, let’s look at the first verse of our reading, Deut. 21:10. “When you go out to war.” How can this apply to us? Look at the first word, “when.” The verse says when we go out to war, not if we go out to war. We go out to war everyday of our lives. Our war is the battle between flesh and spirit, our will verses the will of the Father. So think for a moment. How many battles did you fight just today? Maybe you fought the battle of whether to come here to study G-d’s word or not. We fight battles of fatigue, the daily rush of life, the demands made on us each day by work, family, friends and sometimes even laziness. We face battles each day. The question is how do we deal with those wars? Do we live our days relying on our own will and flesh or do we take our thoughts and flesh captive? II Corinthians 10:5.
Torah Portion: Shoftim (Judges) D’varim (Deut) 16-21
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 51:12-53:12
This Torah portion holds a special place in my memory. I know I have told you before but bear with me while I share with you what causes me to remember this portion each year.
In September 1996, during the week leading up to this Torah portion, I was sitting at my desk in a school where I worked in downtown Jerusalem. The school occupied the second and third floor of a building. A little past noon I was on my way down the stairs to go to the dorm to check on some needed repairs when the secretary called me back upstairs to answer a phone call. Just as I sat down to take the call there was an enormous explosion that shook the building, blowing out windows. I sat stunned for a second. Then realizing what had occurred I ran down the stairs to a scene from a horror movie. Three terrorists had blown themselves up. I believe 10 people died in the explosion, mainly children who had come downtown to buy school supplies. Each year as I read this portion about the man found dead in the field I remember that day.
Torah Portion: Re’eh (See) D’varim (Deut) 11-16
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
This week our Torah portion is Re’eh or See. If you remember last week we read Ekev which contained part of the Shema or “Hear.” Today I want us to look at these two words and discern what G-d is saying to us through them.
However, first there are some other points I would like us to explore as well. I would like to start with the introduction of a specific place of worship that G-d would choose once the people crossed over the Jordan River. We see this thought spoken about in Deut. 12:5. As we know from our readings of the Ten Commandments all forms of idol worship were looked at as a grave sin. This choice of a central place of worship was to help the people guard against idol worship. Only service of the one true G-d would be permitted. In Re’eh we also read where three holidays are talked about in chapter 16. Why did Moshe pick out only these three, Pesach, Shavuot and Succot? I think again to stress the centrality of Jerusalem to the people. These three holidays are the three that involved an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Torah Portion: Ekev(Because) D’varim (Deut) 7:12-11:25
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
The Torah portion this week contains so many issues that should inspire us in our walk with the Father. Here we find the second paragraph of the Shema in Deut. 11:13-21, the description of the Land of Israel and G-d’s presence always looking after it in Deut. 11:10 through chapter 12.
Torah Portion: Va’etchanan (And I Pleaded) D’varim (Deut) 3:23-7:11
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 40:1-26
This week we read one of the most heart wrenching segments of scripture in the Torah. This portion begins with the words of Moshe, “And I pleaded.” We know the story, Moshe stood on the brink of his life’s dream. He stood on the bank of the Jordan as he prepared the people to cross over into the Promised Land. Something he has prepared for for over 40 years. Yet, as he pleads to cross over G-d answers him that he will not go over but will soon die. Not only that but he must prepare and encourage another for the job of taking over his role and lead the people. What was Moshe’s response after hearing these words? Did he argue with G-d? Did he sulk, get angry, stop speaking to G-d? In his response I think we can learn much that will help us in our own life.
Torah Portion: D’varim (Deut) 1:1-3:22
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 1:1-27
This week we read the first Torah portion of D’Varim, known in English as Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is a Greek word meaning Second Torah. This meaning is misleading since there are many commandments that do not appear here but are found in other books of Torah. The name in Hebrew, however, has a much deeper meaning. In Hebrew the root of the word, d’var, can mean both thing and word. It was by the Word of G-d that all things came into being.
Torah Portion: Mattot (Tribes) & Masa’ei (Stages) B’Midbar (Numbers) 30-36
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 1:1-2:28
Today we finish our study of Numbers (B’Midbar) by reading a double portion of Torah. My question this week comes from the second portion but before I get to that I want to talk about several other points that I believe will give us a clear understanding of G-d’s love for us and our ability to express our love for Him.