B’midbar(In the Desert)B’midbar/Numbers 1:1-4:20
Haftorah Reading: Hosea 1:10-2:20
Tonight there is so much to talk about. Shavuot begins tonight at sundown. It is one of the three pilgrimage holidays and comes 50 days after Passover. It is followed by Sukkot in the fall.
I would like to begin with a few words about what I consider one of the main lessons wrapped up in our Torah portion this week. How many times have you heard someone say something like, “but this is just how I am.” Maybe you have even said it yourself. There is good news for those of us who think along those lines. That statement is a false statement. We can change.
B’chukkotai(By My Regulations)Vayikra/Leviticus 26:3-27:34
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Even though we are unable to meet today I want to send you some thoughts on this week’s Torah portion. I would like to concentrate on an extremely important section of this Torah portion. It begins with these words, “If you walk in my statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out” Leviticus 26:3. Isn’t that statement a bit redundant? What is the difference between 1. walking in My statutes and 2. keeping the commandments and 3. carrying them out? I might add this question also applies to Yeshua’s commandments in the Messianic Scriptures.
Tetzaveh(You are to command)Exodus/Sh’mot 27:20-30:10
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 43:10-27
This Sabbath I have a few points I want to cover with you. I believe each of these points are spiritually relevant to our lives today. They should speak to each of us in our personal walk.
To begin, I want to share an example I read this week from a good friend who lives in Jerusalem. It concerned him buying olive oil for lighting his menorah on the Shabbat. According to scripture, pure pressed olive oil was used to light the candles in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. This friend lights his Shabbat candles each Friday at sundown to welcome the Sabbath. As he was shopping for oil he found it would be much cheaper to buy sunflower oil or other substitutes for his menorah than pure pressed olive oil. Olive oil was double the price of sunflower oil. After thinking about it he decided to follow scripture and use what was prescribed there and not use a substitute.
Va’era(I Appeared)Exodus/Sh’mot 6:2-9:35
Tonight we are studying a Torah portion that has so much to say about our life in this world. I want to start with the verse I asked each of you to look at and see where G-d takes us. Our verse in Exodus 8:18 says, “And I will set apart in that day the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, to the end that you may know that I am the L-rd in the midst of the earth.”
Vayigash (And He Approached) B’resheet/Genesis 44:18-47:27
I want us to look at two dominate personalities in this Torah portion. I sent you a question earlier concerning these two men and I hope you have had the opportunity to consider my question?
Torah Portion: Vayetze(History) B’resheet/Genesis 28:10-32:3
Haftorah Reading: Hosea 11:7-13:5
Today we look at a Torah portion that covers a long span of the life of Jacob. It begins when he is leaving the land of Israel and continues until twenty years later when he is returning home from Haran. He left with only the clothes on his back and returned a wealthy man with many cattle, sheep,11 sons and one daughter. Our Torah portion reveals many details of the 20 years he was in exile. He left Israel after a prophetic dream in which G-d promised to protect him and bring him back home to the land. (Genesis 28:13)
: Vayigash (And He Approached) B’resheet/Genesis 44:18-47:27
Haftorah Readings: Ezekiel 37:15-28
This week we read of the reunion of the sons of Jacob with their brother Joseph. We also read of the eventual settling of the people in Egypt. There they would spend hundreds of years as slaves before G-d would send Moshe to bring them out and lead them to Israel.
There are many questions that arise in our reading this week. However, we will look at only a couple. I pray we all can grasp how things unfolded in this family’s story and what we can learn from these events. When we read Genesis 45:5-7 we see how Joseph was able to see the hand of G-d in the things that had happened to him over the last years. He understood G-d had a plan and purpose to what he had suffered. G-d always has a purpose, a plan. That plan may involve discomfort or even suffering on our part. Our challenge is to hold on, to be faithful, to continue on and not give up or lose our faith.
: Vayishlach(And He Sent) B’resheet/Genesis 32:4-36:43
Haftorah Readings: Hosea 11:7-12:12
This week we read of Jacob’s return to Israel and his struggle with an angel (G-d). After this struggle we read where G-d changed his name and gave him a limp that he had for the rest of his life. I want to take a few moments and look at this encounter. What differences do we see in Jacob’s life after this encounter? I want to thank you for your thoughts on my questions each week. It helps me and encourages me as I write and send you teaching each week.
Torah Portion: Vayechi (And He Lived) B’resheet/Genesis 47:28-50:26
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 2:1-12
Tonight, we read the last portion of Genesis. This portion covers the end of Jacob’s life as well as that of his son Joseph. It is interesting that the name of this portion is, “And He Lived,” but then goes into great detail of Jacob’s last days. If you remember we saw this same thing in the portion about the death of Sarah. What point do you think is being made here in our portion and also in the one about Sarah? I believe the important point being made is how have we lived our life; how did we spend our days? I pray for each of us this urgency of living over-rides the death that comes to us all.
Torah Portion: Vayigash(And He came) B’resheet/Genesis 44:18-47:27
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 37:15-28
Tonight’s Torah section begins with one of the most dramatic scenes in Torah. It begins with Judah coming to Joseph and basically whispering in his ear. He relates how he is ready to take his brother Benjamin’s place and become a slave. He goes on to explain how taking Benjamin would be a death blow to their father Ya’akov.