Tazria(She Conceives)Vayikra/Leviticus 12:1-13:59
Haftorah Reading: II Kings 4:42-5:19
This Torah portion may seem at first glance to have little to do with us or our world. However, as we go over it tonight I pray each of us will see the biblical truths within these verses, truths that will give us a far better understanding of how it speaks exactly to us today.
Torah Portion: Mikketz (At The End) (B’resheet) Genesis 41-44
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 3:15-4:1
Tonight we read the Torah portion Mikketz and we celebrate the seventh night of Chanukkah. I would like to explore the connection between the two by using a Hebrew word, “bitachon,” which means trust. But first a few words about the holiday. Chanukkah does not appear in the Hebrew scriptures. The events that serve as the foundation of the holiday take place in the 160’s BCE. The Greek king Antiochus ruled over Israel at the time. He suffered defeat in a war against Egypt and as a result dealt severely with Israel on his way back home.
Torah Portion: Va’etchanan (I Pleaded) Devarim Deut. 3:23-7:11
HafTorah: Isaiah 40:1-26
This Torah portion is filled with things that would take a life time to study. We will look at several in the minutes ahead. This Shabbat is known as the Sabbath of Comfort based on the prophet reading of Isaiah 40:1-26. It begins with, “Comfort, Comfort My people.” Tell me how we can comfort Israel, how we can comfort the Jewish people? There is no doubt this is required of us. Yeshua alluded to this in the New Testament where He tells us in Matt. 25:31-36 to comfort His people by feeding, clothing and visiting them in prison. In fact this is one of the reasons for the founding of Road to Zion Ministries. This is vitally important to us as believers. Is it enough to talk about how much we love Israel and the Jewish people or does it require us to do something, to take some action? Evangelism is not the only thing we should be doing. Yeshua says here He judges us by our actions toward His people. His people are the Jewish people. They are his brothers and sisters. For far too long we Christians have been the main source of pain and persecution rather than comfort. The time is drawing close at hand when our response to our Jewish neighbors will be called for. We are required to comfort. How will we respond?
Torah Portion: Vayakhel (And He Assembled) Exodus 35:1-38:20
HafTorah: I Kings 7:40-7:50
II Cor 9:6-11; I Cor 3:11-18
Tonight we look at the Torah section, “And He Assembled.” The root word in Hebrew Khal is the word usually translated as assembly. In the Hebrew Scriptures this word often refers to the people in the tabernacle or temple as the assembly. You have heard me often refer to the group here as the kehila which is the assembly. When the Hebrew Scriptures were translated to Greek, in the 2nd or 3rd century BCE, this word passed over into Greek as ekklesia. It appears throughout the Septuagint in place of khal. However, when this same Greek word appears in the New Testament it is almost always translated by the English word “church.” What does it matter? A recent letter to the editor in the Pensacola News Journal highlights this problem by stating, “The Old Testament is Jewish scriptures; those living under it are living under the law. Although it is our history, for Christians it has been replaced with the New Testament. Those living under the New Testament are living in the age of grace, which was ushered in by the resurrection of our Lord….” This gives the impression that the church is an exclusive New Testament term and draws a stark boundary between the two sections of the Bible. It is a way of disconnecting us from our Jewish roots as believers. Another even more striking example is the Hebrew word “eda” translated in Exodus 35:1 as congregation. When it came into the Septuagint it was translated with the Greek word “sunagogay”, it was usually linked to the place the “eda” met. However in places like James 2:2 the Greek again was translated into English as assembly. Paul uses the same word in I Cor. 11:16. The effect of such translation biases has been to hide any connection between Judaism, from which we sprung and Christianity. We as believers are the worse for it. We have to a large extent been deprived of the sweetness and spiritual food of the Hebrew Scriptures because of these sort of deceptions. And I for one count us most blessed that we have begun to restore some of what has been lost for almost 2000 years.