Vayechi(And He Lived)B’resheet/Genesis 47:28-50:26
Today I would like us to look at the last Torah portion of Genesis. In this portion we read of the death of both Jacob and Joseph. This portion, like Chayai Sarah in Genesis 23:1, follows an interesting thought. Even though both are called by a name meaning life, they include the death of the main character.
Vayishlach(He Sent) B’resheet/Genesis 32:4-36:43
Haftorah Reading: Hosea 11:7-12:12
Today we study a Torah portion with many twists and turns. We read of Jacob’s return to the land after being gone more than 20 years. We also read of the death of Rachel and her burial. I would first like us to start our discussion talking about Rachel.
Nitzavim(Standing) D’Varim (Deut.) 29:9-30:20
Haftorah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
I read a very interesting essay about our Torah portion this week. I would like to share with you some of the thoughts that arose from this reading.
What do you believe is the point of our faith? Is it life on earth or death and being in heaven? There is a famous quote from a book about Sherlock Holmes that might help us find an answer to my question. “I draw your attention”, he said to Dr. Watson, “to the curious incident of the dog at night.” “But the dog did nothing at night,” said Watson. “That,” said Holmes, “is the curious incident.” Sometimes to know what a book is about you need to focus on what it does not say, not just on what it does say.
: Vayechi (And He Lived) B’resheet/Genesis 47:28-50:26
Haftorah Readings: I Kings 2:1-12
Tonight we finish the first book of Torah with a portion about the last days of the life of Jacob. As I pointed out in my questions this week there is one other portion that begins with basically the same words. In Genesis 23:1 we read a portion beginning with this verse, when translated to English reads, ”The life of Sarah.” What is scripture telling us in these two portions?
It seems to me scripture is telling us that death is not the end. It is telling us that our lives are measured by what we leave behind, our legacy of children or others that were influenced by us. These are the things that count. These are of lasting value. Death is but a transition between this world and the next. Here in our reading this week we see Jacob coming to the end of his life here on earth. From here the story carries on with his children and their children and the founding of the twelve tribes of Israel. As history unfolds we see Jacob’s life even intersecting our lives, through his lineage, Yeshua the Messiah.
: Nitzavim (Standing) D’Varim (Deut.) 29:9-30:20, Vayelekh (He Went) D’Varim (Deut.) 31:1-30
Haftorah Readings: Isaiah (Yesh’yahu) 61:10-63:9; Hosea 14:1-10, Micah 7:18-20, Joel 2:15-27
This week we read a double portion of scripture. Remember, this was Moshe’s last day alive, yet he was still speaking G-d’s word to the people. This will be covered a bit more later. However, it does raise the question, how do we spend our days especially when we are near the end of life? I read a quote this week from a book about Sherlock Holmes. It was, “I draw your attention, Watson, to the curious incident of the dog at night.” “But the dog did nothing at night,” said Watson. “That is the curious incident,” said Holmes. Sometimes to truly understand a book’s point you need to pay attention to not only what it says, but also to what it does not say.
Torah Portion: Chukat (Statute) B’midbar (Numbers) 19:1-22:1; Balak (Numbers) 22:2-25:9
Haftorah Readings: Judges 11:1-33, Micah 5:6-6:8
Last week we read and studied the Torah portion Korach. Tonight, we look at Chukat and Balak. What is easily overlooked is the time passing between Korach and Chukat. Korach occurred about two years after the crossing of the Reed Sea. Now, here in Chukat, we see the people standing at the doorway to the Promised Land. So our Torah portion takes place 38 years after we last read of the incident of Korach. These people are the children, who are now adults, of the people we last read about. However, as we read this portion we see they had not changed much. Here in our portion we read of the death of Aaron and again of the lack of water. We see a people who rebelled and rose up against Moshe and were punished by the venomous snakes that G-d brought among them. We also see G-d’s provision for them when He instructed Moshe to make a bronze snake. He held the bronze snake up before the people and whomever was bitten could look upon it and be saved. We also see the snake mentioned in John 3:14-15, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the Son of man be lifted up so that whoever believes in Him has eternal life.” Just as the serpent in the desert brought physical salvation from death, whomever looks upon the Messiah and believes in Him receives eternal salvation.
Torah Portion: Chukat (Regulations) B’midbar(Numbers) 19:1-22:1
Haftorah Reading Judges 11:1-33
This Torah portion is one of the more difficult portions to understand on several levels. The name, chukat, gives us a hint to its difficulty. The word, when used as it is here, can mean regulations. The root of the word means to engrave, as in stone or metal, something that is meant to endure. Chok, the singular form of the word always means something that, on the surface, seems to be illogical or impossible to grasp. In our portion we read where the people involved in preparing the ashes of the red heifer became unclean. However, when those ashes were applied to a person, who was unclean from being in contact with a dead body, that person became clean again. For an Israelite, being unclean by contact with death meant they were excluded from worshiping G-d in the Temple. That person could not come into the confines of the Temple until they were cleansed by the ashes of the red heifer.
Torah Portion: Vayechi (And He Lived) B’resheet (Genesis) 47-50
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 2:1-12
Our Torah portion begins with the words “And he lived,” found in B’resheet/Genesis 47:28. However, as we read further, we see in a few verses later that Ya’acov died in this portion. His son, Joseph, died also. What can we make of these first few words, “And he lived?” I think scripture is making a point important to us all. Ya’acov’s body died but he lived on through the lives of his descendants, as do we. This opens up a few issues I want us to give some thought to. How do each of us live on after our physical passing? If we look at verse 48:15 we read what Ya’acov attributed his life to as he faced death. In this verse we read where he made the statement that he and his forefathers spent their life walking with G-d. I believe each of us should look at our life and consider how we have spent our days. In this same verse he went on to say G-d had been his Shepherd for his life.