Torah Portion: Tzav (Command) Leviticus 6:1-8:36
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 7:21-44:23
Messianic Scripture Mark 12:28-34, I Cor. 10:14-23
I want to wish each of you a blessed Passover this evening. With G-d’s grace we can soon meet together again in person.
: Lekh L’kha (Get Yourself Out) B’resheet/Genesis 12:1-17:27
Haftorah Readings: Isaiah 40:27-41:16
In this Torah portion we are introduced to Avram. As many as 4.1 billion people of different faiths count him as one of their founders. I want us to look at his life in this portion today and try to understand what drove him in his walk with G-d.
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.
Torah Portion: Vayetze (And He Went Out) B’resheet (Genesis) 28-32
Haftorah Reading: Hosea 11:7-13:5
In this Torah portion we read about Ya’acov/Jacob leaving the Land for the first time in his life to begin a 22 year separation from everything he had known up to this point in his life. I would imagine he was filled with fear and anxiety. I want us to spend a bit of time talking about his journey and the experiences he had that influenced him and I think speak to us in our own lives.
Torah Portion: Shelach L’Kha (Send on your behalf) B’Midbar(Numbers) 13-15
Haftorah Reading: Joshua 2:1-24
This Torah portion opens with the drama of sending the 12 spies into the Land and their return with answers to the questions of Moshe, which he charged them with before they set out. These twelve men were not just anyone but leaders of their tribes.
Torah Portion: Sh’mot Exodus 18-20 Yitro (Jethro)
HafTorah: Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6
Tonight we read a Torah portion that is rare in its name. Why? It is named for a non-Jew and it isn’t just any Torah portion, but it is the one containing the Ten Commandments, the Covenant G-d made with Israel. Yet, it is named after a pagan, a priest of false gods. The Ten Commandments were also not given in the Land of Israel but in a non-descript mountain in the middle of nowhere, a place without a name. It would seem Jethro was a pagan who wanted more. He had been touched by what G-d had done with Israel. In the opening verse of our section is where it says, Jethro had heard what G-d had done for Moshe and the people. This had moved him to the point he wanted to be part of it. He recognized that G-d was G-d and everything else paled before that. He was touched and changed by what he knew. Which causes us to think about our own lives. We can go through our lives and not be touched by anything. We can remain unmoved and uninvolved. We can lose ourselves in our own limited existence. Things such as Facebook, TV and other modern technologies can allow us the ability to live a life of solitude. But is that what G-d wants? I heard an interesting parable this week. We can be like a wheel on the chariot of the King but that would require us to go where He goes. Or we can be our own wheel stuck in our own rut.
Torah Portion: Sh’mot(Names) Exodus 1-6
HafTorah: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
Tonight we read the beginning of the redemption of the people from slavery. We read of the birth of Moshe and the first years of his life. This portion is filled with many spiritual lessons for us and I would like to cover a few of them. I believe these will speak to us about who we are and how we are to live as G-d’s people in today’s world.
Torah Portion: Shelach L’Kha (Send on Your Behalf) (Numbers) B’Midbar 13-15
Haftorah Reading: Joshua 2:1-24
This week we read the story of the scouts who Moshe sent to scout out the Land of Promise. In this story we can see so much that speaks to our own spiritual life. To illustrate I would like to begin with an archeological lesson. If you have been to Israel and toured the Land I am sure you would have noticed what looked like hills but look out of place with the topography of the land. These small, sometimes large hills are called tels. They actually are the remains of ancient cities built one on top of the other and over time rise above the surrounding area. If we take a cross section of one of these hills we would find layer upon layer of past cities, each built on the remains of earlier dreams and expectations. Some were destroyed because of war while others were destroyed by natural disasters or were simply abandoned. However, in every case the newer was built on the remains of the older, using some of the same ideas, some of the same material, each reaching higher than its predecessor. Each one learning from the latter. In many ways our story of the scouts is similar. This episode ended in failure. However, the people moved on and in their search for and cleaving to the hope and promise of the Father, did not give up. They went on to more and more as they moved closer to the dream. So should we in our lives. We all miss the mark from time to time. But we should move on. We learn, we grow closer to the Father. We never give in to discouragement no matter how many times we stumble. We press ahead. We pick ourselves up and G-d leads us on. So it was here in our verses.
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: Shelach L’Kha (Send on your behalf) B’midbar (Numbers) 13:1-15:41
HafTorah: Joshua 2:1-24
Tonight we look at the Torah portion Shelach or send. We read of the mission of the twelve men chosen to go and report back on their findings. You might notice that at the beginning they are called men not spies. That was a role they took on themselves. They saw their mission in a different light than Moses when he gave them their charge. They got ahead of G-d’s instructions. This is something each of us must guard against. When we run ahead of the Father we may become lost and get caught up in what we think He said rather than what He actually revealed to us. It is interesting that the word eretz (land of Israel) has at its root the Hebrew word Ratz or run. So we are to run after Him but not ahead of Him. Here we see obstacles in the way of the conquest. I would imagine we have all encountered obstacles in our lives when our wills are tested. These experiences give us the opportunity to demonstrate our profound desire to go with the “Lover of our soul.” Our battle is to be able to keep a proper perspective on these challenges, not to lose our way and not to be discouraged.