Torah Portion: Mishpatim (Judgments) Exodus(Sh’mot) 21:1-24:18
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26
This is one of those Torah portions that sometimes gets pushed to the back of our minds. These judgments seem to be mostly outside of our more enlightened way of viewing our faith. Do we really need to consider these judgments as having any place in our modern world view?
Torah Portion: Mikketz(At the End) B’resheet (Genesis) 41-44
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 3:15-4:1
In this Torah portion we read of Joseph’s release from prison, his rise to power in Egypt and the reunion between him and his brothers. I would like to begin with my question this week that covered the reunion of Joseph and his brothers.
Torah Portion Va’etchanan (I Pleaded) D’Varim (Deut.) 3:23-7:11
Haftorah Reading: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 40:1-26
Tonight in our Torah reading we cover two major statements that should speak to us. In the first one we read of Moshe going over the Ten Commandments again. I think he did this, at least partially, for the people who had not been there when G-d first spoke these words back in the book of Shemot/Exodus. He also delivered the Shema in D’Varim/Deut. 6:4-9. These verses teach us that G-d should be present in our conversations, thoughts and actions thru out the day, while we are home with our families and when we are out in the work world.
Torah Portion Shelach (Send) Numbers (B’Midbar) 13-15 Haftorah Reading: Joshua 2:1-24 Tonight we will concentrate on verses covering the sin of the spies. First, just a word about several Hebrew words that may add some understanding to our story, in Numbers 13:2 we read in English that the mission of the 12 men was to […]
Torah Portion Mishpatim (Judgments ) Sh’mot (Exodus) 21-24
Haftorah Reading Jeremiah 34:8-22, 33:25-26
If you could summarize this Torah portion what would you say is the over-riding theme of these verses? As we start I want to say a word about the very first word of our section of scripture. In Hebrew it is actually two words, Va’eleh, which means, “And these.” These words, “and these” link what we just finished reading in last week’s portion to what we are about to read following these words. They should be understood in the same way as what proceeded. Last week we read the Ten Commandments that many would say, is the peak of G-d’s message to the people at the mountain. Therefore the words of our section tonight are to be read and understood in the same light. From our understanding of the Messianic scriptures we also see the same idea stressed over and over. James 1:27 says it plainly, ”Pure and undefiled religion before G-d and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble.” It stresses what should be the conduct of us all. The true test of a civilization is how it treats its elderly, poor and orphaned.
Torah Portion: Sh’mot (Names) Sh’mot (Exodus) 1-6
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
This week we start a new book of Torah named Sh’mot, after the first word of the book. This name Sh’mot in Hebrew, translates as Names in English. Let’s talk about this a bit and see if there is a lesson for us here. The book begins with the names of Jacob and his sons. Names we have heard before, names that we can remember from the person being a follower of G-d, persons having a relationship with G-d. We read of no other name until we come to the midwives who were known by their refusal of Pharaoh’s order to kill the newborn baby boys of the Hebrew women. Interestingly, one name we do not know is that of Pharaoh. Why is that do you think? Maybe it is because he mocked G-d and burdened the people in their bondage.
Torah Portion: Balak B’Midbar(Numbers) 22-25
Haftorah Reading: Micah 5:6-6:8
Today we read a Torah Portion that covers a single event in the account leading up to Israel approaching the border of the Land. There are two main characters in this drama. We read of one of the characters, Balak, who was the King of Moab. If you remember, Moab was the son of one of Lot’s daughters. He was born after the two daughters of Lot became pregnant when they slept with their father after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the book of Ruth we also learn that she was a Moabite. So Balak was a distant cousin of the Jewish people who now stood at his borders seeking passage on to the Land. Balak was overcome with fear and sought the help of a well-known seer, Bilaam, to help him repel the Jews by invoking a curse. We can hear the fear in his words in Numbers 22:4,6. He knew his only help lay in the occult.
Torah Portion: Va’etchanan D’varim(Deut.) 3-7
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 40:1-26
Tonight we read a Torah portion that starts with great sadness. Moshe recounts how he pleaded with G-d to allow him to enter the Land. He uses a word that conveys intense emotion – pleaded, beseeched and yet to no avail. G-d did not allow him to cross over to see that good land.
As I considered this verse this week I thought of how our lives each day are not something to be taken lightly. Our actions have consequences. Life is not a game and we get no do over. G-d is a G-d of mercy and compassion but also a G-d of justice. How we live has results that sometimes carry a heavy price. Our prayers for forgiveness for sure are heard but there may also be a price to be paid. King David is one example. G-d loved him and forgave him but there was still a result from his sin. Here in our portion we see the importance of our actions. Life is not a game but is for us to be perfected and bring us to maturity so that we can come to that place of living each moment to its spiritual fullness, that we can be G-d’s agents of showing a world His goodness, mercy and love.
Torah Portion: Vayera (He Appeared) Genesis 18-22
HafTorah: II Kings 4:1-37
Tonight we look at a Torah portion that is truly filled with verses that challenge us on a number of levels. We will pick our way through some of these as well as others you might have questions about. However, I would like to begin with my first question this week – comparing Abraham’s actions with other earlier Biblical characters. For example, how did Adam and Eve handle their sinful actions when confronted by G-d? What did they do? They denied any personal responsibility. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. I asked you to look at Genesis 13:8-9 where a quarrel breaks out between the herdsmen of Lot and those of Abraham over the availability of grazing land for their herds. How does Abraham deal with this? He takes personal responsibility. He does not pass judgment. He does not ask whose fault the argument was. He does not seek to reap any financial rewards. No, He gives Lot his choice of land. He sees the problem and acts to solve it without passing judgment or blame. Many times we are more involved with blaming rather than bringing growth.