Rejoicing with the King – V’zot Haberacha (And This is the Blessing) D’Varim (Deut.) 33:1-34:12 and Shemini Atzeret
: V’zot Haberacha (And This is the Blessing) D’Varim (Deut.) 33:1-34:12 and Shemini Atzeret
Haftorah Readings: Joshua 1:1-18
Today and tomorrow are both holidays. Today is Shemini Atzeret and tomorrow will be Simchat HaTorah. The celebration today is seen as the beginning of the rainy season in Israel. Tomorrow, Simchat HaTorah is not found in scripture but has been developing over the millennium to be a day to celebrate both the ending of the yearly cycle of Torah readings and the beginning of a new year.
Today is the first day of the seven day holiday of Sukkot. It marks the end of the biblical holidays of the year. It is also the last of the three festival holidays that required Jews to go to Jerusalem to offer their offerings and worship G-d. Sukkot is mentioned in John 7. There it describes Yeshua going up to Jerusalem and teaching. The biblical cycle of holidays begins with Passover, followed by Shavuot and ending with sukkot.
Torah Portion: Ha’azinu (Hear) D’Varim (Deut.) 32:1-52
Haftorah Readings: II Samuel 22:1-51
Before we get to the Torah section I would like to remind us all that Yom Kippur begins at sundown tomorrow and ends on Monday evening. As you know, this is the most holy day of G-d’s calendar. I would ask you all to pay attention to this day. It is a day to rededicate your lives to the Father, to clear out any sins that have not been confessed over the years. It is also a time to reflect on all G-d has done for us.
Today is the Biblical holiday of Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year). This holiday begins the weeks of the High Holy Days. In ten days we will observe Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement. Exactly two weeks from today we will celebrate Sukkot or Tabernacles. I pray each of you have the opportunity to participate in at least one of these three appointed times.
: Nitzavim (Standing) D’Varim (Deut.) 29:9-30:20, Vayelekh (He Went) D’Varim (Deut.) 31:1-30
Haftorah Readings: Isaiah (Yesh’yahu) 61:10-63:9; Hosea 14:1-10, Micah 7:18-20, Joel 2:15-27
This week we read a double portion of scripture. Remember, this was Moshe’s last day alive, yet he was still speaking G-d’s word to the people. This will be covered a bit more later. However, it does raise the question, how do we spend our days especially when we are near the end of life? I read a quote this week from a book about Sherlock Holmes. It was, “I draw your attention, Watson, to the curious incident of the dog at night.” “But the dog did nothing at night,” said Watson. “That is the curious incident,” said Holmes. Sometimes to truly understand a book’s point you need to pay attention to not only what it says, but also to what it does not say.
: Ki Tavo (When You Come) D’Varim (Deut.) 26:1-29:8
Haftorah Readings: Isaiah (Yesh’yahu) 60:1-22
This Shabbat marks exactly one week until Rosh Hashana, which begins next Friday evening at sundown. Our portion today begins with Moshe instructing the people concerning the bringing of first fruits to the temple in Jerusalem. As you may remember, G-d’s calendar begins with Passover, next comes First Fruits, followed by Rosh Hashana next week, then Yom Kippur and ending with Sukkot. I pray all of you take the time to study these coming holidays and see how they apply to your daily life and how they give an order to the year every year. Take the time to listen to what the Father is saying to each of you concerning these holidays.
: Ki Tetze (When You Go Out) D’Varim (Deut.) 21:10-25:19
Haftorah Readings: Isaiah (Yesh’yahu) 54:1-10
Our Torah portion this week contains more commandments than other portions. It seems like Moshe, knowing his time was limited, was trying to do all he could to prepare these people before they crossed over the Jordan and entered their inheritance. These commandments cover a wide range of subjects starting with how to deal with a captive woman and how to handle a rebellious son.
: Shoftim (Judges) D’Varim (Deut.) 16:18-21:9
Haftorah Readings: Isaiah (Yesh’yahu) 51:12-53:12
This Torah portion is always read on the first Shabbat of the Hebrew month of Elul. This year, this month of Elul began last evening. Today is the first day of a forty day period of repentance and soul searching leading up to Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the High Holy Days. These days of repentance should give all of us the push to look back over our life and deal with those sins that have been forgotten or just swept under the rug. It is a time to be completely honest with ourselves and with G-d. It is a time to set our spiritual house in order. I would urge you to spend time during these days to ask the Heavenly Father to shed His light on anything that needs to be dealt with.
Re’eh (See) D’Varim (Deut.) 11:26-16:17
Haftorah Readings: Isaiah (Yesh’yahu) 54:11-55:5
Today we read the Torah portion Re’eh. In the opening few verses, D’Varim/Deut. 11:26-28 we read these words, “Behold I set before you this day, a blessing and a curse. A blessing if you obey the commandments of the L-rd your G-d, which I command you this day. And a curse if you will not obey the commandments of the L-rd your G-d, but turn aside from the way I command you this day, to go after other gods, which you have not known.”
: Ekev (Because) D’Varim (Deut.) 7:12-11:25
Haftorah Readings: Isaiah (Yesh’yahu) 49:14-51:3
Today we cover the Parasha Ekev. It is one of the longest passages that we study during the year. However, it is extremely important because it gives us a wonderful look at a something that should encourage us all every day, even in these challenging times.