Torah Portion: Tazria (She Conceives) (Leviticus) Vayikra 12-13
Haftorah Reading: II Kings 4:42-5:19
Last week we read in Leviticus 10:10 where we are to be able to put a difference between holy and unholy and between clean and unclean. This week we see this idea of clean and unclean carried on from almost the first verse of chapter 12. We see where a woman who gives birth is considered unclean for a period of time. To rectify her state of uncleanness she is to bring a sin offering to the Mishkan. We see this process played out in Luke 2:24 where the mother of Yeshua brought an offering to the Temple in Jerusalem. She brought a sin offering even though there was no evidence of sin mentioned. Naturally the question arises why? I would think it harkens back to the first birth in scripture when Eve, as a result of her sin and Adam’s sin, was told the birth process would be painful and bloody as a reminder of their sin. It also helps us to understand the verse in Psalms 51:5. There David says he was, “brought forth in iniquity and in sin did his mother conceive me.” We all live in a world that is under this same dilemma. As such our lives are lived with this world’s sinfulness around us. Thankfully Yeshua and His blood has given us refuge from the sin of the world but it takes action on our part to accept that gift of redemption and then walk in G-d’s leading in our life. G-d expects us to be part of the fixing of this world as His people. This is a choice we all are faced with, the choice of holy or profane, clean or unclean. Even in our spiritual lives there are times when we as G-d’s people are faced with this choice. We must be able to choose wisely.
Torah Portion: Vayechi (And He Lived) Genesis 47-50
HafTorah: I Kings 2:1-12
Tonight we finish the first book of Torah, Genesis. Fitting that it is named, “And He Lived.” As we look forward to next week we read Exodus where we see after hundreds of years of captivity the people of Israel still live.
Before we get to the Torah section for tonight I have a couple of other things to cover. First one is the Fast of the Tenth of Tevet which began last night and ends with the ending of Shabbat tonight. (The only fast that supersedes the Sabbath is Yom Kippur) It is to remember the day when the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem. This would end with much of Jerusalem being carried away into captivity and the destruction of the Temple of Solomon. Most see this siege of Jerusalem as a sign for the Jewish people to repent for having drifted away from G-d. If they had repented G-d might have saved them. But they did not repent therefore they were faced with this siege. I bring this up to remind us that we are under siege every time we go out into the world, a siege that can lull us into becoming complacent and forgetting who and what we are. This brings me to the point. It is our responsibility to teach what we know. We must pass on the truth that G-d has given us to our children, family, and to other people when the opportunity arises. Ignorance leads to wasted lives. It is evident all around us both within the circle of faith and outside. G-d calls on each of us to be diligent in teaching truth that G-d has shown us. The clock is ticking. I pray each of us take every opportunity to pass on what we know and help those who do not know.
Weekly Torah Section: Balak Numbers 22:2-25:9, HafTorah Micah 5:1-6:8
Micah was a prophet from the flat country in Judea and prophesied for over half a century. He was a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea. He prophesied during the reign of three Judean kings, the last being Hezekiah. Jeremiah refers to Micah in Jeremiah 26:18-19. In Micah 5:1-5 he speaks of the coming Messianic age, where the Messiah will be born, about his role as the Good Shepherd and the one who brings peace. I want us to look mainly at verse 8 in chapter 6. What does the L-rd require of us? He requires us to “do justice,” “love kindness” and to “walk humbly with G-d.”
Weekly Torah Section: Vayeshev Genesis 37:1-40:23, Haftorah: Amos 2:6-3:8
Amos lived in the mid 8th century BCE in a small village near Bethlehem named Teoka. There is a modern Jewish settlement by the same name on the site of this ancient village. He delivered his message at Beit El. What importance does Beit El have and who have we read about that also used this place as a platform? Beit El was the place of Jacob’s dream. It was also used by many prophets including Obadiah.