Torah Portion: Acharei Mot (After the Death) Lev. 16:1-18:30 Kedoshim (Holy People) Lev.19:1-20:27
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 22:1-19, Ezekiel 20:2-20
Messianic Scripture Galatians 3:10-14, Hebrews 7:23-10:25, Matt. 5;33-37, Romans 13:8-10
This week we again look at two Torah portions. The first portion is called Acharei Mot and deals with a long list of things G-d warns the people not to do when they cross over into the Land. Remember, they came out of Egypt where, for the last four hundred years, they were surrounded by a pagan culture. Now they would be entering the Promised Land and again would be encountering pagan people.
Torah Portion: Re’eh (See) D’varim(Deut.) 11-16
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Tonight we read a Torah portion that has as its theme the creation of a central place of worship that G-d chooses. We see this in the warnings about idolatry, the holidays mentioned, the sacrifices to be brought and food to be eaten – all things that guard the people against idolatry. Israel was to be different, a people reflecting G-d, not themselves. An unseen G-d, who had no form, was to be the goal of everything they did. The emphasis was on rejecting the easy path and being about building a close relationship with Him.
Torah Portion: Pinchas B’midbar (Numbers) 25:10-30:1
HafTorah: I Kings 18:46-19:21
Tonight we read the Torah portion Pinchas. The incident which began last week ends in the opening verses of this week’s portion. We read where Pinchas is rewarded for his actions with a covenant of peace and an everlasting priesthood. All of this brings up questions. How would you describe Pinchas? Fanatic might come to mind. How do we normally look at fanatics? We don’t think positively of them especially when they are religious fanatics. We have all heard or been taught that religious fanaticism is to blame for much of the evil in the world today, and is the underlying cause of many or even every conflict around the globe. Think of ISIS, Boko HaRam, Al Quida to name but a few. And yet here we see it rewarded. How do we reconcile the two? Now think for a bit about Zimri and Kosbi. They may not seem all that strange today. We live in a time when boundaries are being constantly re-examined and changed, sometimes publicly. In the 60’s we had free love, today marriage is fast becoming old fashion or no longer needed.
Weekly Torah Section: Tetzaveh Exodus 27:20-30:10, Haftorah: Ezekiel 43:10-27
The story of Purim is told through the scroll of Esther. First, as most of you know, there was much discussion when the cannon was being formed as to whether to include the book of Esther or not. Do you know why? The name of G-d is never mentioned in the book. It is implied but not specifically mentioned.
What I want to talk about concerning the book of Esther is connected with our present world and how good and evil are perceived. We live in a world that okays the killing of the unborn, suicide bombers are looked at and praised as heroes and martyrs. Israel’s fence is condemned but the one built on our border with Mexico is a good idea. Situational ethics holds sway in our world. The line between good and evil has become blurred or erased all together. I think the story of Purim has something to teach us on this.