Torah Portion: Va’Zot Habracha (And This is the Blessing) D’Varim/Deut. 33-34
HafTorah: Joshua 1:1-9
Tonight we finish the Torah reading cycle for this year. Next week we will be going back to Genesis/B’resheet to begin again. I pray each year as we come to this time you will experience new insights into G-d’s word for it truly is new every morning. It waits for us to go deeper than before. However, tonight we will concentrate on our portion that ends with the death of Moshe up on the mountain.
Torah Portion: Shelach L’Kha (Send on Your Behalf) (Numbers) B’Midbar 13-15
Haftorah Reading: Joshua 2:1-24
This week we read the story of the scouts who Moshe sent to scout out the Land of Promise. In this story we can see so much that speaks to our own spiritual life. To illustrate I would like to begin with an archeological lesson. If you have been to Israel and toured the Land I am sure you would have noticed what looked like hills but look out of place with the topography of the land. These small, sometimes large hills are called tels. They actually are the remains of ancient cities built one on top of the other and over time rise above the surrounding area. If we take a cross section of one of these hills we would find layer upon layer of past cities, each built on the remains of earlier dreams and expectations. Some were destroyed because of war while others were destroyed by natural disasters or were simply abandoned. However, in every case the newer was built on the remains of the older, using some of the same ideas, some of the same material, each reaching higher than its predecessor. Each one learning from the latter. In many ways our story of the scouts is similar. This episode ended in failure. However, the people moved on and in their search for and cleaving to the hope and promise of the Father, did not give up. They went on to more and more as they moved closer to the dream. So should we in our lives. We all miss the mark from time to time. But we should move on. We learn, we grow closer to the Father. We never give in to discouragement no matter how many times we stumble. We press ahead. We pick ourselves up and G-d leads us on. So it was here in our verses.
Torah Portion: Ha’azinu (Hear) Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32
HafTorah: II Sam. 22:1-51
Tonight we read what is generally called, “The Song of Moses,” which G-d gave him for the people. Remember he delivers this his almost final words to these people whom he has led for forty years through the wilderness. He, according to verse 32:48, gives this song to Israel on the very same day that he dies. He is not to enter the Land. That dream which has been his goal for all these years, G-d said would not happen. Do we hear any anger or harsh words towards G-d who told him he can’t cross over the Jordan? No, instead look at verses 3 and 4 of chapter 32. He calls G-d just, righteous, great and a G-d of truth in which is no injustice. What can we learn from his words? There are times in our lives when we feel G-d has left us or has been unjust in His dealings with us. How can we be able to see G-d as Moses saw Him? Moses had reached a place where he could see that G-d only had his best in mind. The challenges and trials of life that G-d had allowed, Moses understood were to mature him in his faith. They were for good. This is the place that must be our goal. Only by passing through troubled waters can we grow. G-d does not hate us. He has not forsaken us. In our lives His desire is for us to grow, no longer only able to drink milk but to eat meat at His table. This takes effort on our part. It takes perseverance to come to this place where Moses stood.