Torah Portion: Mishpatim(Rulings)Ex./Sh’mot 21:1-24:18 Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 34:8-22 In our time together tonight we will be looking at the Torah portion that follows Yitro. In Yitro we read the 10 Words or Commandments. This week’s portion is often looked at as rather anti-climactic after the fire and smoke coming down on Mt. Sinai in last week’s portion. […]
Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (You shall command) Sh’mot/Ex. 27:20-30:10
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 43:10-27
Much of this Torah portion is concerned with the installation and anointing of Aaron as high priest and his children as priests. Their purpose being to serve G-d and the people in the Mishkan or Tabernacle and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. They served the people as their go between with G-d. The office of high priest was passed down through Aaron’s family and descendants over the years. Here in our portion, great care and attention to details were given to everything the priest wore and how Aaron and his sons served the people of Israel.
Torah Portion Kedoshim (Holy People) Leviticus/Vayikra 19:1-20:27
Haftorah Reading Ezekiel 20:2-20
Tonight, we study, by most accounts, the most important Torah portion. The reason is very simple. Parashat Kedoshim actually tells us in practical terms what it means to be holy.
Torah portion: Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1
Haftorah Reading I Kings 18:46-19:21
In this Torah portion we read the conclusion of the activities of the Israelites following their interaction with the Midianite women. In Numbers 25: 16-18 we read an interesting explanation of how G-d looked at the sins of immorality and idol worship. In these verses we read that these sins were viewed by G-d as being equally responsible for the plague G-d sent on the Israelites that took the lives of 24,000 people. As we have studied the Torah we have seen on many occasions that idol worship was the father of all sins. Nothing was looked at as being on the level of idol worship. I would like to share an explanation with you that might give us some answers to how here immorality and idol worship were looked at as being both responsible for Israel’s punishment. To do this I will draw from an article that I read this week by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin who serves as the chief Rabbi of the town of Efrat in Israel. In our society today we hear over and over that as long as we do not harm another person pretty much anything we do in okay if it brings us pleasure. The verses above give us an important insight that refutes that idea.
Torah Portion: Kedoshim (Holy People) (Leviticus) Vayikra 19-20
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 20:2-20
Today I want us to talk for a bit about holiness. Here in our opening verse the Father says to Moshe call all of Israel together and share with them these words of how they should live and conduct their lives to be holy, for I am holy. Right away this verse puts the question to us, “What is holy, what does it mean and how does it impact our lives as people of G-d.”
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: 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: Tzav (Give an Order) Leviticus 6:1-8:36
HafTorah: Jeremiah 7:21-9:24
In our Torah portion today we continue with the instructions to the priests on what to do and how to do it when kindling the fire on the altar and how to prepare the offerings brought by the people to the Mishkan and later to the Temple. In my last question for this week I asked you to compare Vayikra (Leviticus) 6:28 and II Corinthians 4:7 to see if you could see any connection between the two and any spiritual implications for us today.
Torah Portion: Emor, Say,Vayikra Lev. 21:1-24:23
HafTorah: Ezekiel 44:15-31
This week we read first about the commandments to the priests, the high priests and their service in the Mishkan or Temple. We see again that they were held to a higher level of holiness than the average person. This should cause us again to think of ourselves as priests. As the New Testament says in I Peter 1:16, “Be holy for I am holy.” This brings me to my last question I sent out this week. In the verses 22:32 the Torah tells us to not profane the name of G-d, but He should be sanctified in our midst. In the L-rd’s prayer in Matt. 6:9 we read , “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.” What does this phrase hallowed be Your Name mean to us and what do we have to do with it?