Vayechi(And He Lived)B’resheet/Genesis 47:28-50:26
Today I would like us to look at the last Torah portion of Genesis. In this portion we read of the death of both Jacob and Joseph. This portion, like Chayai Sarah in Genesis 23:1, follows an interesting thought. Even though both are called by a name meaning life, they include the death of the main character.
Torah Portion: Sh’mot (Names) Exodus (Sh’mot) 1:1-6:1
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
Tonight, we begin a new book of Torah. The name of this first portion is Sh’mot in Hebrew. If you translate this word to English it is, “Names” but the book, in English is called Exodus. This book begins by listing the names of the Israelites who went down to Egypt.
Torah Portion: Ekev (Heel) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 7:12-11:25
Haftorah Reading Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 49:14-51:3
This afternoon our Torah section begins with the Hebrew word Ekev. It has many translations in English. It can mean, come to pass or because, it can also mean heel. It comes from the same root word as Isaac’s son Jacob. This comes from the fact he was holding on to the heel of Esau as they were being born. Tonight, I want us to major on the translation of heel for this word.
Torah Portion: T’rumah(Offering) Exodus(Sh’mot) 25:1-27:19
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 5:26-6:13
This week we read the Torah section covering the accumulation of items to be used in the building of the Mishkan or Tabernacle. I would like to start with the Hebrew meaning of two words we will see in this Torah portion. I believe this will give us a more complete understanding of what is being said to us.
Torah Portion: D’varim(Deut.) 1-3
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 1
Tonight we start the Book of D’Varim or “Words.” This is Moshe’s final address to the people before his exit from the world stage. It was delivered over a 37 day period, just before Israel began the settlement of the Land of Promise. Remember this is the same man who told G-d, back in Exodus 4:10 he was heavy of tongue and needed someone to speak for him. Here we see no need of another person to speak for Him. What brought about this change? It would seem to me, in the beginning, Moshe was not able to trust G-d completely. He saw himself as inadequate. He focused on that instead of what G-d wanted to do through him. At the end of his life he had changed. His focus was on G-d, on taking care of G-d’s chosen and speaking G-d’s truth to them while he still had the time to do it. His main concern was for their future. He did not do this in arrogance but in faith that what G-d was asking was his destiny and until his last day he could accomplish what G-d asked of him. This is an important lesson for all of us. When we know G-d has a walk for us we are to put our feet on the path, even though we may believe we are not capable of accomplishing it in our own strength or talents. Faith calls us to trust Him. In Deut. 2:31 we read where G-d spoke to Moshe about delivering the land of Sihon into the hands of the Israelites. It is interesting that the verse says the people are to begin to possess the land. G-d tells the people to take the first step, to begin the process, to trust Him to follow through. He calls us each day to trust Him. We are to have our faith in Him for the process. We are only to “begin” to possess what He has said. Our walk with G-d is a daily matter of trust for that day, believing and knowing that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. Philippians 1:6. Our life is built on that faith. Even though we do not know what tomorrow will bring our faith is in Him who does know and is always there to guide us and keep us. So, here in this verse we see G-d’s faithfulness to Israel even when they sin and fall. He is always there to pick them up and set them back on the path. He does the same for us. We may take a wrong turn or get off the path but if we come to Him, repent and ask, He is faithful to lead us on. We see this over and over in the life of the nation of Israel in this portion as Moshe goes back over their sins and also their victories. G-d’s love was always constant for His people and is for us.
Torah Portion: Re’eh (See) Devarim (Deuteronomy) 11:26-16:17
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
This week we read a Torah section whose main theme is the future Temple and singular place of worship for Jewish people. As you go through this section you will see time and again the distinctiveness of this place of worship. We see it in the food laws, in that only kosher animals can be brought for sacrifice. We see that only Passover, Shavout and Sukkot are mentioned among the holidays. These are the three holidays where Israel, as a people, were called to come to Jerusalem to celebrate together. We also see it in the setting up of Jerusalem as different from the customs of the local inhabitants, who had a multitude of places to worship. All of this points to the fact that the people of G-d were to be different from those around them.