Torah Portion: Mikketz (And Then It Came to Pass) B’resheet/Genesis 41:1-44:17
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 3:15-4:1
Tonight, we celebrate the 7th night of Chanukah as well as study our Torah portion called Mikketz. I think as we go through this we will see some connections between the two subjects. After our study we will do Havdalah to mark the end of the Sabbath and then light the 7th candle of the holiday.
First let’s look at Chanukah and see what spiritual insight we gain from this holiday. To begin, let’s look at a little history about this holiday. The setting is Israel about 2200 years ago. Israel at the time was under the rule of the Greek Empire. Alexander the Great had conquered the known world years before. As a result, Greek culture was introduced across the known world. Part of the Greek culture was to introduce their own religious faith and life, both centered on the worship of the physical body and philosophy. The Greek system of religion was basically based on the worship of mankind and this was the focus of their culture. They promoted intellect and the beauty of the human body as ideals to be held up for admiration and even worship.
Torah Portion B’Shallach (He Sent) Sh’mot (Exodus) 13-17
Haftorah Reading Judges 4:4-5:31
This week’s Torah portion begins with Pharaoh sending out the people of Israel and their beginning of the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. During this trek we also see their journey from slavery to freedom. In this portion we begin to see that both of these journeys will be a process, not an immediate transition.
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.
Chol Hamoed Intermediate Days of Passover
Tonight there is no Torah portion read. We are in the Chol HaMoed days of Passover, which means the intermediate days. Two biblical holidays have intermediate days. Passover is one. What is the other? The answer is Sukkot. Both of these holidays extend for a full week. So tonight we are in the Shabbath of the intermediate days of Passover.
Torah Portion: Sh’mot Exodus 10-13 B’shallach (He Sent)
HafTorah: Judges 4:4-5:31
Tonight we read about the crossing of the Reed Sea, the provision of manna and the attack of the Amalikites. I believe G-d has much to say to us about faith and how to live that faith out everyday of our lives.
Maybe it would be good to start with my second question of the week. What is the connection between manna and Sabbath, if anything? We will end with my first question, How do we glorify G-d? As we look at the connection between manna and the Sabbath, remember the people had been slaves for hundreds of years. Their lives had been lived in a strange land far from the fulfillment of G-d’s promises. So, as they left Egypt, we wonder, what did they know if anything about who they were and what connection did they have with the promises of G-d to Avraham, Yitzak and Ya’acove?
Torah Portion: Metzora (Leper) (Leviticus) Vayikra 14-15
Haftorah Reading: II Kings 7:3-20
This week our Torah portion continues with the discussion of clean and unclean issues dealing with people. In last weeks section in verses 13:1-4 we read where the word used for man was “adam” rather than the more common word, “ish.” This shows the connection between this disease and the fall of mankind in the garden. Then death, disease and sin entered the world and we still suffer from the effects of the actions of Adam and Eve. Here again we read where one of the effects of the illness of leprosy is rooted in our spiritual nature, in that this disease, as well as other things, can separate us spiritually from G-d. Yeshua and His blood can cleanse us from this separation. However, it is very important for us to do what we can to not come under the influence of the issues we read about this week. Remember, this is at least 3 chapters devoted mainly to one ailment and its effect on our connection with G-d.
Torah Portion: Va’etchanan (I Pleaded) Devarim (Deuteronomy) 3:23-7:11
HafTorah: Isaiah 40:1-26
Since we did not meet last week, I would like to say a few words about the last book of Torah. Deuteronomy comes from the Greek word meaning repetition of the Law. Remember, all the people to whom Moses was speaking had been children or were born during the 40 years in the desert. Here they hear the story again. They hear the commandments for themselves. Moses knows his death is close at hand so he sets about to give his last sermon to these who will be the ones to inherit the land He wants them to be well prepared to take their inheritance. They had grown up as free men and women, not as their parents, slaves to Pharaoh.
Torah Portion: Bo (Come) Exodus 10:1-13:16
HafTorah: Jeremiah 46:13-28
Tonight we look at the Torah section Bo, meaning come. It covers the last three plagues brought on Egypt and the setting up of the holiday of Pesach. To begin with I would like to share with you something I read this week that I feel is very important to each of us. What determines the greatness of a people, family or nation? I would like us to consider this hypothetical situation. Suppose you are the head of a group of people, like your family or your nation. You call them together as they are about to go free after a long time as slaves. What do you say? What do you speak to them about, freedom, or the vision before them or do you warn them of the dangers ahead?
Torah Portion: Va’era (I appeared) Exodus 6:2-9:35
HafTorah: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
This week we see Moses and Aaron go before Pharaoh to demand he let the people go. As the verses progress we read of the increasing severity of the plagues yet Pharaoh does not relent.
If you remember last week in Exodus 5:2 we read where Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh the first time and Pharaoh says, “Who is the L-rd? I do not know the L-rd.” In this verse Pharaoh uses the Holy name of G-d, so apparently he had never heard of this name and so there was no reason to obey the command of the G-d who he had no knowledge.