Torah Portion: Pinchas B’midbar (Numbers) 25:10-30:1
Haftorah Readings: I Kings 18:46-19:21
Today we cover the Torah portion Pinchas. This portion is named for the man who stopped the plague that had already killed 24,000 people. The plague was a result of Israel’s sin. However, I want to begin with the story of the five daughters of Zelophehad and their request they brought to Moshe.
I would like us to look first at verse 27:4. This verse reads, “Give us a possession in the midst of the brothers of our father.” Remember, at this time in Israel’s history any inheritance a man left when he died went to his sons. If he had no sons then it went to his closest male relative. In effect, if he had no sons, his inheritance would be lost and any daughters he might have would have no inheritance.
Torah Portion: Vayechi (And He Lived) B’Resheet (Gen.) 47-50
HafTorah: I Kings 2:1-12
This Torah portion is the last of the book of Genesis. Interestingly, it is named “And He Lived” while included in this portion we read of the death of both Jacob and Joseph. This brings me to the first point I would like to talk about. Why would a Torah portion named, “He Lived” devote much of its time to the death of these two men? I think it has to do with the way scripture looks at time. For example the Greeks looked at time as cyclical, never reaching an ending point but always starting over again, there will always be another tomorrow. The Jews, and I believe we would be the same, look at time as covenantal. For example, here in Genesis in chapter 12 we read of G-d’s promise to Avraham that his descendants will be as the stars in the heavens. He would be given a Land for his people. Yet by the end of Deut./D’Varim the people have not crossed into the Land. The people did not despair, the promise was always before them.
Torah Portion: B’Har (On the Mount) (Leviticus) Vayikra 25-26:2
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 32:6-27
This week we read the shortest portion of the Year being only one chapter and two verses of the next chapter. Here we read a description of the Shmitah year or a year of solemn rest for the land. In this year the agricultural land lays fallow. No work on the land is permitted. This year happens every 7th year. We can see some similarities between the Shmitah Year and the Sabbath but also some differences.
Torah Portion: Yitro (Jethro)(Sh’mot) Exodus 18:1-20:23
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6
This week we read the Torah portion Yitro. It is one of only two Torah portions named for a non-Jew and for a further point this portion contains the Ten Commandments and the ceremony where Israel agrees to submit to G-d. So why, with all of this, would this section carry the name of a non-Jew? In some ways the answer is part of the correct response to my question of the week.
Torah Portion: Sh’mot (Names) Exodus 1:1-6:1
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
Tonight we begin the second book of the Torah – Sh’mot (Exodus). It begins by listing the seventy people of Jacob’s family who came to Egypt from Israel and begins with introducing the hardships of the people under the rule of Pharaoh. In this section we read of the naming of Moshe and also the introduction of the Holy Name of G-d. I would like to cover several important topics tonight that I believe have a direct impact on our spiritual life.
Torah Portion: Shelach L’Kha (Send on your behalf) B’midbar (Numbers) 13:1-15:41
HafTorah: Joshua 2:1-24
Tonight we look at the Torah portion Shelach or send. We read of the mission of the twelve men chosen to go and report back on their findings. You might notice that at the beginning they are called men not spies. That was a role they took on themselves. They saw their mission in a different light than Moses when he gave them their charge. They got ahead of G-d’s instructions. This is something each of us must guard against. When we run ahead of the Father we may become lost and get caught up in what we think He said rather than what He actually revealed to us. It is interesting that the word eretz (land of Israel) has at its root the Hebrew word Ratz or run. So we are to run after Him but not ahead of Him. Here we see obstacles in the way of the conquest. I would imagine we have all encountered obstacles in our lives when our wills are tested. These experiences give us the opportunity to demonstrate our profound desire to go with the “Lover of our soul.” Our battle is to be able to keep a proper perspective on these challenges, not to lose our way and not to be discouraged.
Torah Portion: Hayei Sarah (Sarah’s Life) B’resheet Genesis 23-25
HafTorah: I Kings 1:1-31
Tonight our Torah section covers the death of both Sarah and of Avraham. In it we will see the biblical description of how they both lived and died. I want us to look for clues about how they dealt with life and for clues that gives us an idea of what G-d requires of each of us in this world. Life is more than surviving it is how we enter each day and how we live those days. In our world, in fact also in the world of Avraham and Sarah, it is easier to just go along. It is easier to not make waves and lose ourselves in work or thinking only of our own lives.
Torah Portion: Re’eh (See) Devarim Deut. 11:26-16:17
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Tonight we read a section of Torah that speaks to many areas of our spiritual life. I pray you see it in that light. It is a guidebook on how to live each day of our walk both practically and spiritually. So let’s look at some things from these verses and see what they say to us.
Torah Portion: Shelach L’Kha (Send on Your Behalf) Numbers 13-15
HafTorah: Joshua 2:1-24
This Torah portion begins with Moses sending out the 12 men to go into Canaan to check out the best way to approach taking the land that G-d had promised them. It ends with the commandment of tzitzit. As we examine this section I believe we can see a common thread going through out.