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: Shoftim (Judges) Devarim (Deut.) 16:18-21:9
HafTorah: Isaiah 51:12-53:12
NT Matt. 5:38-42; 18:15-20; Acts 3:13-26; 7:35-53; I Cor 5:9-13; I Tim 5:17-22; Hebrews 10:28-31
Today I want us to look at Devarim 16:18 to begin our discussion. This verse says to set up judges and policemen in all your gates. First, I would like to look at this on its surface and see how this was applied in both Judaism and Christianity. In the Land in the time of Yeshua every Jewish town had a panel of at least three people considered to be knowledgeable and honest to handle the legal questions that arose in the town. They were to apply Torah principles in their decisions. On a national level there was the Sanhedrin that dealt with the most difficult questions. One rule observed by the people was to bring their cases only before a Jewish court. To take it elsewhere was seen as a great sin. Why? Other Gentile courts would not hand down rulings based on Torah but based on their own system. In I Cor. 6:1-6 we read where Paul uses the same reasoning when speaking to the church at Corinth admonishing them to not go before unbelievers to decide a matter of justice. Why, for the same reason. So early believers were urged to follow the pattern of their roots on this question of judges.
Torah Portion: Ki Tavo (When You Come) Deut. 26:1-29:8
HafTorah: Isaiah 60:1-22
In the days of the Temple farmers were to set aside the first of the seven things mentioned in Torah in Deut. 8:8. How did they do this? The farmer went out into the fields at the first sign of blossoms or heads of grain and marked them with a ribbon on the stems. When they reached maturity he would harvest them and take them to the Temple in Jerusalem during Shavuot. He would give them to the priest and recite the words of Deut 26:5-11. What was the purpose of this ritual to the farmer? It kept it in his mind and spirit that all things come from the Father, and gave him an opportunity to show his gratitude for G-d’s provisions.