Torah Portion: Ekev (Because/Heed) Devarim (Deuteronomy) 7:12-11:25
HafTorah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Tonight we read the Torah portion Ekev. This is an interesting word to be used in that its literal meaning is heel. If you remember the Patriarch Jacob, his name comes from this word because he held on to Esau’s heel at birth. He was tenacious and would not let go, a quality that we see later in his life when he struggles with the angel at the brook. Maybe this gives us insight into what Moses is telling us in this Torah portion. I feel G-d is telling us to not give up but to hold on to those things of G-d. We need to make an effort in maintaining our relationship with Him. I think you will see this through out this section.
Torah Portion: Beha’alotcha (To Raise Up) B’midbar (Numbers) 8:1-12:16
HafTorah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
Tonight we talk about Beha’alotcha or “raise up.” This Torah portion covers many subjects from the dedication of the Levis to the sin of Aaron and Miriam, when they spoke against Moses. Fire also seems to play a large part in this Torah section. We see it at the beginning and also as a guide of the people later on.
Tonight I want to take this symbol of fire and see what we can glean from G-d’s word. In fact the very name of the section Beha’alotcha is usually translated as kindle, as here where the Torah speaks of the duty to light the Menorah in the Mishkan and later in the Temple. To help us in our quest for the spiritual lesson let us look at a couple of things. First, the word itself means kindle as it is usually translated, but another meaning is to, “raise up.” In this meaning it would speak to the priest to raise up the flame of the Menorah.
Torah Portion: Tzav(Give an Order)
Vayikra (Leviticus) 6:1-8:36
HafTorah: Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-23
New Testament: Mark 12:28-34; Romans 12:1-2; I Cor. 10:14-23
Tonight we look at the second Torah section from Leviticus. It begins with the word Tzav or command. Here Moses relates G-d’s commands for the various sacrifices starting with the Tamid offering. This word Tamid means always or continuously. This burnt offering was given every morning and evening, every day. What did we learn last week about a burnt offering? It was completely consumed on the altar. Nothing was kept for use by the person or the priest. It was completely given to G-d. So what was the purpose of doing this every day, morning and evening as a national offering? It was an earthly way of showing that Israel, as a nation, was to be completely given over to G-d’s will and use every day all day.
Sh’mini (The Eighth) Leviticus 9:1-11:47 and II Samuel 6:1-7:17
I would like us to look first at II Samuel and then move to the Torah portion for tonight. First a touch of background: the Philistines had captured the ark from Israel in battle and took it to their territory. However, pretty quickly they saw that was not working out for them so they took it from Gath and returned it to Beith Shemesh. In I Samuel 6:19 it tells us the people of Beth Shemesh opened the ark and because of that 50,070 people died. Then they sent it on to Kirjath Jearim where it stayed in the house of Abinadab for twenty years.
Weekly Torah Section: Tzav (Command) Leviticus 6:8-8:36, Haftorah: Malachi 3:1-4:6
I would like to start with the Torah section, Leviticus 6:8-8:36 and then finish with Malachi 3:1-4:6. The first verse of the Torah section begins with the word, Tzav. In English this word means “Command.” What is interesting is that this word is used rather than some other Hebrew word that would mean to tell or to speak. These words are often used when the person wishes to get across a sense of urgency. Command, on the other hand, seems to say do it now and keep on doing it. So, the question arises why did G-d feel He had to use this word here? Would G-d have doubted the commitment of Aaron and his sons? After all, they were at the top of the religious hierarchy. One thought that carries a hint was that maybe G-d wasn’t worried about the immediate future but as time went on would their attentiveness wane. It is one thing to be excited and committed early in our walk with G-d and another to hold on to that zeal as time goes on. So like Aaron and his sons we are challenged to not lose our fire but to stay close to G-d no matter what we experience in life.