: Vayechi (And He Lived) B’resheet/Genesis 47:28-50:26
Haftorah Readings: I Kings 2:1-12
Tonight we finish the first book of Torah with a portion about the last days of the life of Jacob. As I pointed out in my questions this week there is one other portion that begins with basically the same words. In Genesis 23:1 we read a portion beginning with this verse, when translated to English reads, ”The life of Sarah.” What is scripture telling us in these two portions?
It seems to me scripture is telling us that death is not the end. It is telling us that our lives are measured by what we leave behind, our legacy of children or others that were influenced by us. These are the things that count. These are of lasting value. Death is but a transition between this world and the next. Here in our reading this week we see Jacob coming to the end of his life here on earth. From here the story carries on with his children and their children and the founding of the twelve tribes of Israel. As history unfolds we see Jacob’s life even intersecting our lives, through his lineage, Yeshua the Messiah.
Torah Portion: Nitzavim/Vayelech Deut. 29:10-31:30
HafTorah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
These Torah sections are filled with so many verses that speak to me I hardly know where to start. So I may just cover a few and see what G-d has to say to us. Right from the very beginning in Deut. 29:10-11 we read where Moses speaks to the people about entering into covenant with G-d. What struck me was that we are included in these two verses, “the stranger in your camp.” I think this speaks to those who have come into Israel’s camp. In some degree that is each of us, based on Paul’s words in Romans 11:16-18. We were all grafted into this Jewish olive tree and according to Paul supported by its roots. For some it will go deeper than that. Some of us will go on to be more closely related to Israel. Wherever we are in that process we are all part of the tree.
Torah Portion: Massei Numbers 33:1-36:13
HafTorah: Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4
NT Reading: James 4:1-12
Tonight I would like to look at the verses in this week’s Torah portion from two different standpoints. This will follow closely the questions I sent out this week. Let’s start with the questions about the connections between Yeshua and the cities of refuge. In this time of history murder or the accidental death of someone at another person’s hand carried a death sentence. This sentence was carried out by the next of kin. No trial, no jury, one person was judge and jury. The Torah modified this somewhat by setting up cities of refuge where the person could flee and be protected until there could be a trial. Read Numbers 35:12. If the person was found guilty of murder then they would be punished or if not punished they would be safe from the blood avenger as long as they stayed within the city walls.
Torah Portion: Va’era ( I Appeared) Exodus 6:2-9:35
HafTorah: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
I want us to look at a question that I think has bearing on our Torah portion this week. I have been discussing this subject with some of you this week and have continued to think about it as the week has progressed. I shared with you a few months ago the title of an interesting book I was reading, “Seven Questions You are Asked in Heaven.” This book will provoke you to think, which is always a good thing.