Torah Portion: Va’Zot Habracha (And This is the Blessing) D’Varim/Deut. 33-34
HafTorah: Joshua 1:1-9
Tonight we finish the Torah reading cycle for this year. Next week we will be going back to Genesis/B’resheet to begin again. I pray each year as we come to this time you will experience new insights into G-d’s word for it truly is new every morning. It waits for us to go deeper than before. However, tonight we will concentrate on our portion that ends with the death of Moshe up on the mountain.
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: Ha’azinu (Hear) Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32
HafTorah: II Sam. 22:1-51
Tonight we read what is generally called, “The Song of Moses,” which G-d gave him for the people. Remember he delivers this his almost final words to these people whom he has led for forty years through the wilderness. He, according to verse 32:48, gives this song to Israel on the very same day that he dies. He is not to enter the Land. That dream which has been his goal for all these years, G-d said would not happen. Do we hear any anger or harsh words towards G-d who told him he can’t cross over the Jordan? No, instead look at verses 3 and 4 of chapter 32. He calls G-d just, righteous, great and a G-d of truth in which is no injustice. What can we learn from his words? There are times in our lives when we feel G-d has left us or has been unjust in His dealings with us. How can we be able to see G-d as Moses saw Him? Moses had reached a place where he could see that G-d only had his best in mind. The challenges and trials of life that G-d had allowed, Moses understood were to mature him in his faith. They were for good. This is the place that must be our goal. Only by passing through troubled waters can we grow. G-d does not hate us. He has not forsaken us. In our lives His desire is for us to grow, no longer only able to drink milk but to eat meat at His table. This takes effort on our part. It takes perseverance to come to this place where Moses stood.
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.
Torah Portion: Vayishlach (He Sent) B’Resheet (Gen.) 32:4-36:43
HafTorah: Hosea 11:7-12:12, Obadiah 1:1-21
In Genesis 32:12 we read Jacob’s prayer for deliverance from Esau. What is odd about this prayer? In Genesis 28:15 and in Genesis 31:3 we read where G-d promises him that He will return him, bless him and do good for him. Now the blessing in Genesis 28:15 occurs 20 years or so in the past so maybe it had grown dim in Jacob’s memory but here the last blessing where G-d reinforces His blessing is very recent. Jacob surely remembered it. So why was he afraid of Esau? If G-d promises us something what would cause us to doubt it or should doubt ever enter into our spirit? Can a divine promise be canceled?
Torah Portion: Eikev (Following) Deut. 7:12-11:25
HafTorah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Hebrews 11:8-13; Romans 8:31-39
This Torah section could be called one of remembrance, not forgetting. In this section we see over and over Moses calling on the people to remember what G-d had done for them. In fact in Chapter 8 of Deut. Moses goes on about everything G-d did for them and included in the list were also trials that He led them through and why G-d allowed them to be tested. Living life involves challenges. By these we grow and our faith is built up. That is what He tells Israel to remember. For soon they will enter a land where they will be challenged in new ways.
Torah Portion: B’chukotai (In My Statutes) Leviticus 26:3-27:34
HafTorah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Our Torah portion this week is one of two places in the Bible that we read a listing of blessings and curses that hinge on obedience to G-d. Here there are 11 verses that talk about blessings and 36 verses that tell us the consequences of disobedience. I would like to propose that here we read the last line of the story first. I think we now are in and have been in the age of the curses. We see disobedience to G-d’s word on every side.