Torah Portion: Ki Tisa (When You Take) Sh’mot/Ex. 30:11-34:35
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 18:1-39
This week we read the Torah portion concerning the rules for taking a census. If not followed, as in the time when King David took his own census, it caused disastrous consequences for the people of Israel. The result of King David’s actions 70,000 souls died. (II Samuel 24)
Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (You are to order) Exodus 27-30
HafTorah: Ezekiel 43:10-27
This week’s Torah portion begins by giving instructions about the oil to be used in lighting the Ner Tamid or the eternal flame, and then the next chapter speaks of the clothing for Aaron and his sons as they minister to G-d in the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
Emor or Speak, found in Va’Ikrah(Lev.) 21-24.
In this Torah portion we read in chapter 23 the listing and explanation of G-d’s calendar for each year. In it we read of all the appointed times when G-d expects to meet His people. We read about the three appointed times when all males are required to appear before the L-rd in Jerusalem. These three appointed times are Passover, Shavuot(Pentecost) and Sukkoth(Tabernacles). In both Passover and Shavuot we can relate great miracles performed by G-d for the people. In Passover we see the redemption of the people by the splitting of the Reed Sea. In Shavuot we read of an entire nation seeing and hearing the words of G-d as He comes down on the mountain. Yet for Sukkoth we are hard pressed to identify a miracle that relates specifically to this appointed time.
Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (You Shall Command) Shemot (Exodus) 27:20-30:10
HafTorah: Ezekiel 43:10-27
New Testament: Philippians 4:10-20
This Torah portion covers the clothing of Aaron and his sons as well as offerings to be offered for their consecration as priests. First, let’s look at Exodus 28:3 where we read G-d’s instructions on who to pick to make the priestly items. In my English translation it reads, “gifted artisans.” However, in Hebrew the words are, “wise of heart.” So the question comes to mind, what does wisdom have to do with the heart? I think the Torah is saying that if our wisdom does not affect our hearts it is meaningless. I think Romans 12:2 might help us as believers to come to an answer for this. Our minds, the repository of our wisdom, must play itself out in our heart and in our actions. We may know the scripture by heart and be able to debate a plethora of religious topics but if all that wisdom makes no impact on our lives and actions then we are like a donkey carrying around sacks of knowledge but it is still a donkey. Our minds have been renewed. That renewal must be evident in our lives as we go about our daily walk with the L-rd. I Cor. 13, the chapter on love, lays this out very well. Our renewed minds must make a difference.
Torah Portion: בוא Bo Exodus 10:1-13:16
HafTorah: Jeremiah 46:13-28
This Torah portion is called “Bo” in Hebrew or “Come” in English. What does the name of a Torah portion usually tell us? It is usually the main thought or idea or maybe the name of one of the main characters. So here, in one of the most important portions in the Torah, the name is “come” rather than freedom, or Exodus, which would seem more fitting. Why? I would like to take a few minutes before we get to the Passover implementation to answer the question of why. Last year I think we touched on this to some degree so some of you may remember that discussion. Why did G-d use the word “come?” Moses had met with Pharaoh a few times already. But in each of those cases G-d says “Go to Pharaoh” but here He says “Come to Pharaoh.” I think we see Moses about to enter into Pharaoh’s inner sanctum rather than meeting him in a somewhat neutral place such as by the river. Here Moses is coming into the “belly of the beast” so to speak and G-d is saying, “Come with Me to Pharaoh.” Remember in Ezekiel 29:3 how Pharaoh is described as a great serpent who crouches in the river and says, “My river is my own, I have made it or ‘made myself.’” What was Pharaoh’s biggest sin? Was it the enslavement of the Jewish people or killing of infants? No, everything he did sprung from his unbridled ego. He lived his life saying, “I am god. What is good is what helps me. What is bad hinders me.” So Moses was about to come face to face with the heart of evil. G-d assures him He will be with him. Is our ego bad? It is only bad when it is separated from G-d. Our ego should be a reflection of G-d and as such should lead us to do those things which brings glory and honor to G-d, not to ourselves. If not, then we become god in or own eyes and the world revolves around us. Right and wrong becomes perverted.
Weekly Torah Section: Tetzaveh Exodus 27:20-30:10, Haftorah: Ezekiel 43:10-27
The story of Purim is told through the scroll of Esther. First, as most of you know, there was much discussion when the cannon was being formed as to whether to include the book of Esther or not. Do you know why? The name of G-d is never mentioned in the book. It is implied but not specifically mentioned.
What I want to talk about concerning the book of Esther is connected with our present world and how good and evil are perceived. We live in a world that okays the killing of the unborn, suicide bombers are looked at and praised as heroes and martyrs. Israel’s fence is condemned but the one built on our border with Mexico is a good idea. Situational ethics holds sway in our world. The line between good and evil has become blurred or erased all together. I think the story of Purim has something to teach us on this.