Torah Portion: Re’eh (See)D’Varim(Deut.) 11:26-16:17
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Today we will look at several crucial topics. These topics should speak to all of us. I would like to start with the first verse of our Torah portion. Deut. 11:26 reads, “Behold (see) I set before you today a blessing and a curse.” Our portion then goes on to tell us the conditions for receiving the blessings and by contrast what the curses will be for not following G-d’s commandments.
Lekh L’Kha (Go to Yourself) B’resheet/Genesis12:1-17:27
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 40:27-41:16
This week we read a portion that should speak to each of us in our spiritual walk. This portion starts in Genesis 12:1 with the word of G-d coming to Abraham telling him to, “Go to yourself.” Oddly, Avraham had already left his home of origin when his father Terah took his family, including Avraham, Sarah and Lot, from Ur of the Chaldeans and traveled to Haran. It is interesting that scripture points out that Terah was headed for Canaan but stopped in Haran and stayed there until his death. (Genesis 11:31-32) There is no mention of Terah hearing from G-d or that being a factor in his decision to leave Ur.
Torah Portion Ekev (Following) D’Varim (Deut.) 7:12-11:25
Haftorah Reading: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 49:14-51:3
Tonight I want us to look at a couple of places in this Torah portion to find what we can hear that will help us in our daily walk with the Father. First, I want to draw your attention to my second question of the week. What is the prominent verb we read over and over in the Book of Devarim/Deut.? In verse 9:1 we hear the Shema in Hebrew. I believe we have talked of this word before but I want us to go over it in some depth today. This word appears over 90 times in this book of the Bible. It can be seen as the key to understanding what Moshe is communicating to the people in his last speech before his death. First, I want us to have a clear understanding of the word Shema. In Hebrew it is used to mean “to hear, to listen, to pay attention, to understand to internalize or to respond.” It is the closest word in biblical Hebrew to express the term, “to obey.” Sometimes for us, as part of the western culture, hearing is not something that we do naturally on a deep level. The sense we us most often is seeing. This is a hold over from the Greek influence in our lives. We see this in our language, I see, foresight, hindsight, insight, vision and phrases such as “it appears.” These are only a few of the ways sight dominates our thoughts and language. By contrast Hebrew the world of Moshe and Yeshua was immersed in hearing, really hearing. It was a culture of the ear more than the eye. We read this word “Shema” or one of its derivatives used to express proof of a certain point like, come and hear, hear from this, he could not hear it.
Torah Portion: Vayera (He Appeared) B’Resheet (Gen.) 18;1-22:22
HafTorah: II Kings 4:1-37
Tonight we read a Torah portion filled with much to say to us about our life of faith. We read in these chapters a great swath of Avraham’s life, the promise of a child, bargaining with G-d over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, the time with Avimelech where the king took Sarah after Avraham told him she was his sister. We also read of the banishing of Hagar and her son and ending with what is known in Hebrew as the “Akedah” or Binding. It is here that I want to spend most of our time this evening. Here we see G-d test Avraham and the result of that test. As we talk about this I ask that each of us put ourselves in his place and consider how we would have replied to this test. In fact, I would say all of us have or will have our faith tested in our walk with G-d through life. It probably will not be as dramatic as Avraham’s test but when it comes it will require us to plum the depth of our faith.
Torah Portion: Vaetchanan (And I pleaded) Deut. 3:23-7:11
HafTorah: Isaiah 40:1-26
Matt. 23:31-39, Mark 12:28-34
In this section of scripture there are many important subjects covered: Mt. Sinai, Ten Commandments, Moses pleading with G-d to enter the Land, the Shema. But tonight I want to start with the question I sent out from Deut. 4:4, “But you who held fast to the L-rd your G-d are alive today, everyone of you.” What does it mean to “hold fast” ? In Hebrew the word is “Had-vachem” included in this word is the root for stick or glue. How do we do it? And how do we keep doing it? What happens if we don’t stay stuck to G-d?