Torah Portion Acharei Mot (After the Death) Leviticus/Vayikra 16:1-18:30
Haftorah Reading Ezekiel 22:1-19
Tonight, our Torah portion covers basically two subjects. One is Yom Kippur and the other is sexual relationship that are forbidden for G-d’s people. I want to cover both of these topics tonight.
To begin, I want us to look at Yom Kippur and see what G-d is saying to us in Leviticus/Vayikra 16. I asked you this week to come up with your own definition of the word atonement. In English, this word atonement, comes from the Hebrew word Kippur. This week I read an article that helped me understand this on a deeper level. If we take this word in English and break it apart you will get “at onement.” Looking at this might help us in our quest for a definition. Atonement puts us at “onement” with G-d. It clears the slate between us and the Father. It allows us to come close to Him by having our sins taken away. Does this remind you of any scripture? John 1:29 says, “Behold the lamb of G-d who takes away the sins of the world.” So, it should help us understand more fully what Yeshua has done and is doing for us.
Torah Portion: Ki Tisa (When You Take) Exodus(Sh’mot) 30:11-34:35
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 18:1-39
Tonight, we study the sin of the golden calf. This is a pivotal Torah portion from which I pray we can grasp what G-d is saying to us in our own life. However, before we get to the verses about the golden calf there are a couple of other points I also see as important to us and should help us in our understanding of verses we will look at in the Messianic scriptures.
We start our portion with the taking of a census of G-d’s people. In Exodus/Sh’mot 30:11-15 we read the instructions on how this census was to be taken. We also read of the consequences that would follow if it was not done according to the guidelines set out here. Later in II Samuel 24:1-17 we read where King David took a census of the people without following G-d’s guidelines set out in our portion. As a result of that action by David 70,000 people died of a plague that is mentioned in our portion as one of the results of not following G-d’s guidelines. So, it would seem there is an important lesson for us in this directive to take a census.
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: Acharei Mot Leviticus 16-18:30
HafTorah: Ezekiel 22:1-19
Tonight in this Torah section I want us to look at a couple of spiritual points that I think G-d has for us to consider. First, I would like us to look at the Yom Kippur service as set out here in our opening chapter. As part of that service two goats were brought before the High Priest, one for a sacrifice and one to be sent away to “Azazel.” Just a word about Azazel. This is the only place in scripture where this word is used. There is much discussion as to the meaning of Azazel. Maybe the best explanation is found in the word itself. It is made up of two Hebrew words. One word is Az or goat. The other word, azal means that which was sent away.
Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (You are to Order) Exodus 27-30
HafTorah: Ezekiel; 43:10-27
I would like us to look at those things that G-d commanded to be made for Aaron, the High Priest, and his sons, to be used in the service of G-d in the Mishkan (tabernacle). We also read of the oil to be used in the Holy Menorah that stood in the Mishkan.
Torah Portion: Acharei Mot, Kedoshim,Vayikra Lev. 16:1-20:27
HafTorah: Ezekiel 22:1-19
Tonight we have read two sections of Torah. The first covers the ceremonial duties of the priests, the Day of Atonement and personal relationships, what is forbidden and what we can and can’t eat.
It leads directly into the second section of Holiness. This is the issue I want us to look at closely tonight. Holy – what makes something holy? It is separated out for service or use in the service to G-d, for example Sabbath. At the end of Sabbath we read a prayer and included in that prayer G-d is referred to as “Ha Mavdil” , “The One who Separates.” G-d separates things or people out for His service. We are separated out by our faith in Messiah. In Lev. 20:7-8 we read, “be holy.” We also read the same words in I Peter 1:13-16. What does it mean to be holy? If G-d has separated us to Himself how are we to be holy? How does how we live affect our holiness or does it? We are separated by our faith in Messiah. That faith has boundaries, things we can do, things we can’t do. When we cross those boundaries, think of a shepherd and his sheep. He builds a pen for them. As long as they stay within the boundaries of the pen they are safe from wolves and attacks but if they get out, cross over the boundaries, they are open to those things that can harm them. The boundaries are those guidelines set out in scripture for us to live our lives by daily. In Lev. Torah portions of today we see many of those boundaries and also in the New Testament we see boundaries set for us.
Torah Portion: Vayikra (And He Called) Leviticus 1:1-6:7
HafTorah: Isaiah 43:21-44:23
G-d’s presence had moved from the mountain to the Tent of Meeting and called to Moses from the Tent. This is the third time we see G-d calling to Moses. The first time at the bush, G-d says Moses, Moses. -Exodus 3:4. Here he called Jacob twice Genesis 46:2, and here he called Samuel twice 1 Samuel 3:10. In the New Testament Acts 9:4 we see Yeshua use this same pattern with Shaul. Usually when a name is repeated like this in scripture it is a sign of special affection.
Torah Portion: Ki Tisa (To Take) Exodus 30:11-34:35
HafTorah: I Kings 18:1-39
Tonight I want to start right off with the question I sent out to you. Moses takes a census of the people and as a result of this census every person age 20 and older had to pay ½ shekel for an atonement for their soul. (Exodus 30:12) How can money count as an atonement. Leviticus 17:11 tells us that only the shedding of innocent blood of an animal can atonement come. So how do we reconcile this? Another meaning for the word atonement is ransom. And if we use that word it gives us a clearer understanding of what Moses is saying here. In battle they would be shedding blood and in the Torah when you shed blood a ransom must be paid for the taking of a life.
Weekly Torah Section: Ki Tisa (When You Take) Exodus 30:11-34:35, Haftorah: I Kings 18:1-39
We begin with the Haftorah reading in I Kings 18. To orient ourselves these events happened in the 9th century BCE during the reign of King Ahab. Ahab married a princess of Tyre named Jezebel. She introduced the worship of her god, Baal to Israel. Baal was supposed to be the god of rain and storms. She also sought to kill all the prophets of the L-rd. Many of the people in Israel followed both Baal and the true G-d of Israel. Deut. 11:16-17 says that if the people turn to other gods, G-d will shut the heavens and there will be no rain and crops will fail. So here G-d sends Elijah with this message, a direct challenge to this so called god of rain.