Torah Portion Yitro (Jethro) Sh’mot (Exodus) 18-20
Haftorah Reading Isaiah 6:1-13
Tonight we read one of the most moving sections in all of Torah. In this portion we read of the covenant between G-d and the people of Israel. This covenantal relationship set out here should also give each of us a good picture of who G-d is and what He requires of us in our lives as His people.
This covenant was entirely at His initiation. All He asked was that His people agree to its terms. I expect we all have had this experience with the Father. We come to understand how much He cares for us and how He has carried us up on eagles wing, called us to Himself and gave us a frame work to live by each day.
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.
Torah Portion: Yitro (Jethro)(Sh’mot) Exodus 18:1-20:23
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6
This week we read the Torah portion Yitro. It is one of only two Torah portions named for a non-Jew and for a further point this portion contains the Ten Commandments and the ceremony where Israel agrees to submit to G-d. So why, with all of this, would this section carry the name of a non-Jew? In some ways the answer is part of the correct response to my question of the week.
Torah Portion: B’Midbar (Numbers) 30:2-36:13
HafTorah: Jeremiah 1:1-2:28
Tonight we finish the book of B’Midbar or Numbers by reading a double portion of the book. These two sections cover a wide range of topics from the giving of a vow, the division of the Land, the victory over the Midianites where we read of the death of Bi’lam, all the journeys of Israel and the death of Aaron.
Torah Portion: Emor (Speak) Leviticus 21:1-24:23
HafTorah: Ezekiel 44:15-31
We have the opportunity to cover a lot of subjects tonight. I will try to keep it to just a few. Much of this portion has to do with holiness and the importance of being a holy people. I would like to begin by saying a few words about the name of this Torah Portion. The name is Emor, which is taken from the first verses of Leviticus chapter 21. In Hebrew the word emor comes from the root meaning to “say.” The word deber is more often used when describing a setting of talking to someone. However, this word, emor, is used when describing a more personal conversation where the feelings behind the words are easily conveyed. We see this word used in the creation verses in Genesis. Here it shows G-d speaking in a quieter more personal way as He calls out for creation to respond to Him. This shows us G-d’s intimate relationship to His creation. Here in our portion we see Him urging the priests that minister before Him to be gentle as they go about their tasks of representing Him before the people. What does this have to do with us? As priests (I Peter 2:9) it teaches us how to communicate with our family and the world. Here G-d is showing His heart as a Father or Abba. It is that same quality that we use while instructing our own children and grandchildren. A calm loving way will make an impression that will be heard and will last. A still small voice can accomplish more than a loud strong voice. It is how Yeshua related to people and how we are called to relate. Even our disagreements need not be shouted.
Torah Portion: Kedoshim Leviticus 19-20:27
HafTorah: Amos 9:7-15; Ezekiel 20:2-20
This week we read the Torah portion Kedoshim or Holy. In Lev. 19:2 we read where G-d is speaking to Moses telling him to relate to the people of Israel these words, “you shall be holy for I the L-rd your G-d am holy.” In I Peter 1:15-16 we read almost the exact same words written to the First Century believers. No doubt the author of I Peter had in mind these words from Leviticus that we are reading tonight. So then how would the people of Peter’s day put these words into action? I would think they would again look to Leviticus, in this Torah section, as a guide. When we read these verses a common thread holds them together. That thread for the most part has to do with how we relate to other people as we navigate the days of our lives. These verses speak to us about how to live each day as a holy person, a person who does not withdraw from the world but one who infuses each day with the holiness of G-d. They show us how to be set apart but not withdrawn from the world. When we deal with people we are to be honest, compassionate and loving, not react as others might but bring holiness into every part of our lives.
Torah Portion: Tazria Vayikra Lev. 12-13
HafTorah: II Kings 4:42-5:19
NT Matt 8:1-4, 11:2-6
This week we continue on with the laws of clean and unclean which began in chapter 11 with clean and unclean animals. I want us to begin our time with what it means to be clean or unclean. The word in Hebrew, tahor, can also be found in Psalms 51:10 where David prays to G-d to, “create in me a pure/clean heart.” So clean denotes something pure and unblemished. Tami, in Hebrew would be the opposite. If you will notice this is the same word used for the sacrifices. They had to be tahor, no blemish or spot could be found. In Torah this term is used to denote if a person would be able to take part in the Sanctuary worship or to come in contact with any holy object. It had nothing to do with sin but rather was a physical issue. It was usually dealt with by the passage of time (usually until evening) and passing through the waters of mikvah. It in effect excluded a person from experiencing the presence of G-d in the Mishkan or Temple. So these laws pertained to the things of the Sanctuary. which is here being used for the first time. These laws had nothing to do with the person’s heart condition, yet they are used in both Hebrew scripture and the New Testament to symbolically refer to issues of morality. So we hear David speak of a Tahor heart. In the New Testament, Yeshua does the same in Matt. 5:8. So as we go on I want us to keep these things in mind as we explore clean and unclean.
Torah Portion: T’rumah (Contribution) Sh’mot (Exodus) 25-27
HafTorah: I Kings 5:26-6:13
New Testament: Hebrews 8:1-6
This week we read of the details of the Miskan (tabernacle). The materials are donated from the people as a free will offering. The offering had to be given with a willing heart. It was not a tithe but an offering. Why did G-d command the building of a Mishkan? In Exodus 25:8 we read so that He could dwell in them. In I Cor. 3:16 we read where we are the Temple of G-d, the Temple being patterned after the Miskan.
Torah Portion: Ekev (Because) Devarim (Deut.) 7:12-11:25
HafTorah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
NT Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; James 5:7-11
Ekev: sometimes translated as “because.” Does anyone know where we have seen at least the root of this Hebrew word before? A hint: it is the root of the name of one of the Patriarchs. It is the name of Jacob. Why was he named Jacob? It is because he held his brother’s heel when they were born. So you could translate it as “on the heels of” or following. This opening verse this week really ties what follows from the last verse of last weeks section, Deut. 7:11, linking heart felt obedience to G-d’s blessing. Moses then goes on to point a beautiful picture of what will be the result of their obedience.