Va’Zot Habracha (And This is the Blessing) D’Varim/Deut. 33-34

Torah Portion:  Va’Zot Habracha (And This is the Blessing) D’Varim/Deut. 33-34

HafTorah: Joshua 1:1-9

Tonight we finish the Torah reading cycle for this year. Next week we will be going back to Genesis/B’resheet to begin again. I pray each year as we come to this time you will experience new insights into G-d’s word for it truly is new every morning. It waits for us to go deeper than before. However, tonight we will concentrate on our portion that ends with the death of Moshe up on the mountain.

Vayigash (And He Approached) Gen 44-47

Torah Portion: Vayigash (And He Approached)  B’Resheet (Gen.) 44-47

HafTorah:  Ezekiel 37:15-28

This week we read the Torah portion that covers the reunion of Joseph and his brothers and their settling in Egypt. In Genesis 46:1 we read the account of Ya’acov’s vision when G-d called him and Ya’acov used the familiar phrase, “Here am I.”  This is the third time G-d appeared to him. Like the first time, this vision occurred as Ya’acov was about to leave the Land. (chapter 29)  The other vision happened when he returned to the Land in chapter 32 of Genesis. Here in our verses today we see Ya’acov near the end of his days.

Vayeishev (And He Settled) B’Resheet (Gen) 37-40

Torah Portion: Vayeishev (And He Settled)  B’Resheet (Gen.) 37-40

HafTorah:  Amos 2:6-3:8

This Torah portion is taken almost completely with the life of Joseph and his struggles until he become the second in power in the land of Egypt. There are several points that can be made from these verses about how Joseph dealt with his misfortunes. One amazing observation is how he was able to hold onto G-d’s purpose in his life, to not give up, or become discouraged. This trait speaks to me and I hope to each of you.

Acharei Mot (After the Death) Lev 16-18

Torah Portion:  Acharei Mot (After the Death) (Leviticus) Vayikra 16-18

Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 22:1-19

Tonight we look at a Torah portion that covers two main connected points, morality and forgiveness. I want us to look at both of these in some depth. Let’s begin with forgiveness. A large part of this Torah portion has to do with the details of and preparation for the day of Yom Kippur. First, what do the words Yom Kippur mean? Yom is the Hebrew word for day and Kippur is the Hebrew word for covering. This was/is the time to come together as a people and confess their sins and ask G-d to forgive them. This process covered everyone from the greatest to the least. Everyone sought forgiveness on this day. It is mentioned in the New Testament in Acts 27:9 where we see Paul, on his way to Rome, mentioning The Fast which would have been Yom Kippur. So it would seem that the early Jewish believers continued to observe this and the other Biblical holy days.

Vayera (He Appeared) Gen. 18-22

Torah Portion: Vayera (He Appeared) Genesis 18-22

HafTorah: II Kings 4:1-37

Tonight we look at a Torah portion that is truly filled with verses that challenge us on a number of levels. We will pick our way through some of these as well as others you might have questions about. However, I would like to begin with my first question this week – comparing Abraham’s actions with other earlier Biblical characters. For example, how did Adam and Eve handle their sinful actions when confronted by G-d? What did they do? They denied any personal responsibility. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. I asked you to look at Genesis 13:8-9 where a quarrel breaks out between the herdsmen of Lot and those of Abraham over the availability of grazing land for their herds. How does Abraham deal with this? He takes personal responsibility. He does not pass judgment. He does not ask whose fault the argument was. He does not seek to reap any financial rewards. No, He gives Lot his choice of land. He sees the problem and acts to solve it without passing judgment or blame. Many times we are more involved with blaming rather than bringing growth.

Pinchas Bamidbar (Numbers) 25-30

Torah Portion: Pinchas (Bamidbar) Numbers 25:10-30:1

HafTorah: I Kings 18:46-19:21

NT Matt 26:1-30, John 2:13-22, Acts 2:1-21

In this Torah portion we see another census being taken of the men 20 years old and up, who can go to war. In fact this census takes up Numbers 26:1-65, an entire chapter. For your information if we look at the census in Numbers 1 and compare it to this one at the end of their journey we notice the total number stays almost the same. Chapter I total was 603,550 and here in chapter 26 it is 601,730. Not much change in the total. However, when we look closer we see that seven of the 12 tribes went up in population and five went down. But the tribe of Shimon went from 59,300 to 22, 200. This is a drop of over 60%. What could have caused such a drop? Sages believe it may be connected with the sin of Zimri. The story of Zimri precedes this census. He belonged to the tribe of Shimon. Whatever the reason it began the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:7. The tribe of Shimon was eventually be absorbed by the other tribes of Israel.

Korach B’Midbar (Numbers) 16-18

Torah Portion: Korach Numbers (B’Midbar) 16:1-18:32

HafTorah: I Samuel 11:14-12:22

New Testament: Jude; II Tim 2:8-21

This week the Torah section covers the rebellion of Korach, Datan and Aviram as well as the 250 leaders of Israel and finally the congregation of Israel. This progression shows us how rebellion spreads. First it was only three, then 250 and then 14,700 that perished. This paints a great picture for us and should be a word for us about rebellion against G-d.

Ki Tisa (When You Take) Shemot (Exodus) 30

Torah Portion: Ki Tisa (When You Take) Shemot (Exodus) 30:11-34:35

HafTorah: I Kings 18:1-39

New Testament: Luke 11:14-20, Acts 7:35-8:1, I Cor. 10:1-13, II Cor. 3:1-18

This portion of scripture is full of verses to guide us in our lives. We will cover a few which I pray will guide us along the way. To start lets look at Shemot 30:18 where we are told of the bronze laver. What is a laver? It is basically a water container with faucets around it for washing. It was put between the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the altar. Here the priests, on their way to the altar, would stop to wash their feet and hands before approaching the altar. Why would they do this? Part of their daily ritual was to bathe in the mikvah to cleanse themselves. So why would they have to stop again to rewash their feet and hands? Yeshua gives us a clue in John 13:8 where He tells Peter, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in Me.” In the next verse Peter responds with asking Yeshua to wash not only his feet but also his head and hands. Yeshua’s answer to this gives us our answer.

Where to Find Comfort – Naso Numbers 4


Torah Portion: Naso  Numbers 4:22-7:89

HafTorah: Judges 13:2-25

Let us start with a discussion of the two questions I sent out. First lets look at the gifts brought by the Princes of each tribe. In Numbers 7:1-4 we see where six covered carts, led by 12 oxen, were brought before the L-rd.  That means there were two princes for each cart and an ox for each man. Then each prince brought their own gifts but their gifts were identical. Why was each gift listed over and over if they were identical? I think the carts were a good example of cooperation between the leaders. They represented the people and this showed that the people were one before G-d.

Shoftim (Judges) Deut. 16


Torah Portion: Shoftim (Judges) Deut. 16:18-21:9

HafTorah: Isaiah 51:12-52:12

This Torah section occurs in the first Sabbath of the month of Elul each year. What do we know about the month of Elul? It is the month leading up to the High Holy Days of Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur and Succoth. It is devoted to repentance and getting our lives spiritually in order.

Here we read about earthly judges and officers who were to administer justice. They were to administer justice using G-dly principles. Could they be swayed by anything like a person’s position in life, wealth or whom they knew? No, they had to administer Torah with no outside influence.