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’Har (On Mount) B’chukkotai (By My Regulations) Leviticus 25-27
HafTorah: Jeremiah 32:6-27
Tonight we finish Vayikra (Leviticus) by looking at these last two Torah portions. In our first portion we read, “And the L-rd spoke to Moshe on Mt Sinai.” In these few words are conveyed a foundational difference between Hebrew and Greek thought. As Western people we have been shaped by Greek logic and thought. When we look at scripture, especially in the Torah, we often come across the underlying Hebrew logic and thought. How do we see this Hebrew thought process here in these first few words? Chronologically where are we in the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt? The Temple or Mishkan has been constructed, priests have been installed, and time has passed. Yet, here our opening words are B’Har or On Mount Sinai. Moshe was on the mountain back in Sh’mot (Exodus). So why here at the end of this third book of Torah do we read the words B’Har? I think from G-d’s perspective time is not the point. Chronological order is never the issue with G-d. To the Father time or its passage is somewhat irrelevant. What really matters is the point G-d is making. We almost exclusively think of order of time. A+B=C. Yet, to the Hebrew mind maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t. What is important is that we grasp the spiritual idea G-d is getting across.
Torah Portion: Vayak’hel (He Assembled) P’Kudei (Accounts) Sh’mot (Exodus) 35:1-40:38
HafTorah: Ezekiel 45:16-46:18
To begin with tonight I want to talk about something I saw this week that really caught my attention. In Sh’mot 38:21 we read, “The tabernacle, the tabernacle of testimony.” Usually when the Torah makes double use of a word it is making a deeper point. The Talmud picks up on this and states that here the point is that Torah is speaking of the earthly Tabernacle as being a shadow of the heavenly. This sounds really similar to Hebrews chapters 8-9, Hebrews 8:4 and 9:24. This brings us to the common argument used by many to say the Torah is finished and of little value to us as believers.