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)
: Vayeishev(And He Settled) B’resheet/Genesis 37:1-40:23
Haftorah Readings: Amos 2:6-3:8
Our Torah portion today deals with a large swath of Joseph’s life. It also includes one chapter devoted to Judah and an incident involving him and his daughter in law. I want us to spend time on each of these and see what they can teach us and how in some ways they are connected.
Torah Portion: Vayetze (And He Went Out) B’resheet (Genesis) 28-32
Haftorah Reading: Hosea 12:13-14:10
This week our Torah portion covers at least 20 years of Jacob’s life. We read of his journey to the home of Laban, his marriage to Rachel and Leah and the birth of 11 of what would become the tribes of Israel. Finally, at the end of the Torah portion we read of his return to the Land.
Torah Portion: Korach (Numbers) B’Midbar 16-18
Haftorah Reading: I Sam. 11-12
Tonight we read the Torah portion Korach. We read of a rebellion led by the cousin of Moshe. A rebellion led by a talented and gifted orator who could have done so much to help but instead fell into the trap of following his illusions. Rather than clearly seeing G-d’s hand in what was transpiring with the people of Israel, he believed his own hype. I want us to look at this Torah portion and find G-d’s direction for our own life and discover ways to not fall into the trap of Korach and his followers.
Torah Portion: Vayetze (And He Went Out) (B’resheet) Genesis 28-32
Haftorah Reading: Hosea 12:13-14:10
This Torah section is filled with spiritual lessons for us form beginning to end. From these verses we can learn much from Ya’acov and his approach to his relationship with the Father. I would like to begin at the beginning of this section where we see Ya’acov leaving Israel and going to Haran. He was leaving the place where scripture says, “G-d’s eyes are on it from the beginning of the day until its end”, and travel to a place which had no thought of G-d, a place of deception and trickery. He came to a certain place near what would later become Jerusalem and laid down to sleep, putting a rock down for his head.
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: Vayeshev Genesis 37:1-40:23
HafTorah: Amos 2:6-3:8
Matthew 1:1-6, 16-25
A principle of Torah is that it is concise and not given to superfluous wording. So whenever we see that principle suspended we can be sure a deeper principle is at work. Such is found in Genesis 40. This chapter could have been told in a few verses rather than the 23 that we read here.
Torah Portion: Meketz (At the end) Genesis 41:1-44:17
HafTorah: I Kings 3:15 – 4:1
The number seven plays a big part in Biblical reckoning of days and years. Seven days in a week, the Sabbath falls on the seventh day and each seventh year is a sabbatical. In Daniel chapter 9 years are numbered in sets of seven. In Genesis 41 Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream as referring to seven-year periods. Both in Judaism and in Christianity the number seven is important to the years before Messiah’s coming. In both it is seen as a time of famine, plagues and disasters. Revelation 12: 6-14 refers to this seven-year period.
Torah Portion: Vayishlach Genesis 32:4-36:43
HafTorah: Hosea 11:7-12:12
Over twenty years have come and gone since Jacob left Israel. His leaving and return are marked with encounters with angels. It is also marked by a Hebrew word that appears in both his going and coming. In Genesis 28:11 we read, “So he came to a certain place.” The word for “he came” is vayifga in Hebrew. In Hebrew today you hear the negative form of this word used frequently by children when they want to say, “don’t touch me.” So when Jacob left he encounters or touches a place. That place is where he has his dream.