Torah Portion: D’Varim(Deut.) 1:1-3:22
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 1:1-27
Today we begin the final book of Torah, Deuteronomy. The Hebrew name for this book is D’Varim. D’Varim means words and also things. As we go through this final book keep this double meaning in mind.
Also tonight as the Shabbat ends the solemn day of Tishah B’av begins. This day commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple. Both were destroyed on the same day. The first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The Second Temple, the one used by Yeshua and His disciples, was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans.
Torah Portion: Balak Numbers/B’midbar 22:2-25:9
Haftorah Reading: Micah 5:6-6:8
Messianic Scripture II Peter 1:1-22, Jude 11, Rev. 2:14-15
Today we have some very interesting issues to cover in the next hour. I would like to begin with my question of the week and talk about the reading from the prophet Micah found in Micah 5:1-6:8. Does anyone know why we read from the prophets each Shabbat?
: Ekev (Because) D’Varim (Deut.) 7:12-11:25
Haftorah Readings: Isaiah (Yesh’yahu) 49:14-51:3
Today we cover the Parasha Ekev. It is one of the longest passages that we study during the year. However, it is extremely important because it gives us a wonderful look at a something that should encourage us all every day, even in these challenging times.
Torah Portion: B’resheet (In the beginning) B’resheet/Genesis 1:1-6:8
Haftorah Reading Isaiah 42:5-43:10
Tonight, we begin our Torah cycle readings with this section on the story of the creation of the world and the beginning of humans in G-d’s world. To emphasize an important grammatical difference between Hebrew and English, I want to read the first five words in our section. In English we read, “In the beginning G-d created…” In Hebrew a word for word translation would be, “In the beginning created G-d.” You will notice there is a difference. In Hebrew the verb comes first before you read who performed the action. This shows us an important rule for all of us to remember. What we do, how we live, our actions are of supreme importance. How we spend the time G-d grants us on this earth matters. How we go through our days speaks volumes to the world around us.
Torah Portion: Va’etchanan D’varim(Deut.) 3-7
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 40:1-26
Tonight we read a Torah portion that starts with great sadness. Moshe recounts how he pleaded with G-d to allow him to enter the Land. He uses a word that conveys intense emotion – pleaded, beseeched and yet to no avail. G-d did not allow him to cross over to see that good land.
As I considered this verse this week I thought of how our lives each day are not something to be taken lightly. Our actions have consequences. Life is not a game and we get no do over. G-d is a G-d of mercy and compassion but also a G-d of justice. How we live has results that sometimes carry a heavy price. Our prayers for forgiveness for sure are heard but there may also be a price to be paid. King David is one example. G-d loved him and forgave him but there was still a result from his sin. Here in our portion we see the importance of our actions. Life is not a game but is for us to be perfected and bring us to maturity so that we can come to that place of living each moment to its spiritual fullness, that we can be G-d’s agents of showing a world His goodness, mercy and love.
Torah Portion: Naso – Take B’midbar (Numbers) 4:21-7:89
HafTorah: Judges 13:2-25
This week we read the longest Torah portion of the year. It starts by finishing up the counting and setting apart of the tribe of Levi for service in the Mishkan and ends with the offerings of all the Princes of Israel. Between these two subjects we read of many other groups or individuals such as the Nazarite, the woman suspected of adultery and people who were unclean.
Torah Portion: Mishpatim (Rulings) Exodus 21-24
HafTorah: Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26
This week we read a Torah portion that covers the way Israel was to deal with many relationship issues that arose in their daily life. Since some of these no longer concern us we are tempted to skim over them and see them as unrelated to our present life. For this reason I would like us to look at several judgments and see what Torah is saying to us on a deeper spiritual level. What are we to learn from these judgments that will affect how we live our lives as believers?
Torah Portion: Balak B’midbar (Numbers) 22:2-25:9
HafTorah: Micah 5:6-6:8
Tonight we read the Torah portion Balak, which covers mainly the effort of Balak, King of Moab, to enlist the help of a gentile seer named Balaam to curse Israel. Balak fears Israel and wants to use this man, who has a reputation of some spiritual power, to curse G-d’s people. As we read this portion we see a man who is known throughout the region as one who can connect with the spiritual world to bring a curse or blessing upon a person or kingdom. Balaam had the appearance of a spiritual person. This caused me to consider how do we judge spiritualness in a person? Is it by appearance and reputation? Or is it by their actions, how they live from day to day. The Haftorah this week gives us a good guideline for living spiritually. In Micah 6:8 we read, “This is what the L-rd requires of you: to do justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with G-d. G-d hates hypocrisy, a person who pretends to be one thing but inside is an empty shell. Balaam fits this description. He portrays himself as a spiritual giant but G-d shows him that even his donkey has more insight than he does.
Torah Portion: Mishpatim (Rulings) Shemot (Exodus) 21:1-24:18
HafTorah: Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26
New Testament: Matt. 5:38-42, 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23; Acts 23:1-11; Hebrews 9:15-22; 10:28-29
This week we look at the continuation of G-d law. This Torah section begins with two Hebrew words, “ve’elli” which means in English, “and these” indicating that the words following are to be seen as part of the revelation from Sinai. The first verses up until Shemot 21:27 mainly deals with slavery and how to treat slaves. This seems difficult to us today. Why didn’t G-d just say do not have slaves? That would have been it and then go on.
Torah Portion: Shmini (Eight) Leviticus 9:1-11:47
HafTorah: II Samuel 6:1-7:17
Tonight I would like to continue building the spiritual picture we have been working on the last few weeks, that of the physical tabernacle and the priests being a shadow of heavenly spiritual truths. This week we see Aaron and his sons assuming their role as earthly priests and how that gives us insight into Yeshua. Remember on the mountain G-d showed Moses the heavenly tabernacle and told him to build an earthly model of what he had seen in heaven. This is mentioned in Hebrews 11:8. This same idea is expressed in many rabbinic writings. In Christian thought this shadow and copy language has been seen to diminish the earthly structure. While in Hebrew it is simply a way of comparing and contrasting the two. Each was G-d ordained and each had its unique purpose.