Vayikra(And He called)Vayikra/Leviticus 1:1-5:26
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 43:21-44:23
Today we will talk about a Torah portion that on its face seems to have little to say to us in our modern world, but that is not correct. It begins with the duties of the priests in the offering of animal sacrifices for a variety of issues. In Leviticus 2:13 we read, “and all your offerings you shall offer salt.” Why did G-d make this stipulation? The Torah went so far as to require this rule concerning every offering. Salt and sometimes the absence of leaven were used to avoid corruption and to keep the holy things in an imperishable state. We could say these two requirements represented a never ending covenant relationship.
: Vayera (And He Appeared) B’resheet/Genesis 18:1-22:24
Haftorah Readings: II Kings 4:1-37
This week we read a Torah portion that presents us with many situations that bear looking at in depth. Genesis 22:1-19 tells us about G-d coming to Avraham and telling him to take his only son Isaac and sacrifice him on Mt. Moriah. Let’s look at this and see what we can learn from it. I must admit these verses have always been difficult for me to grasp. Remember, this was the son of Promise. He was the son of Avraham and Sarah that G-d had promised and was the product of a miracle birth. Avraham was 99 years old and Sarah was long passed child bearing years. Yet G-d intervened and brought this boy into their lives. And now He commanded Avraham to sacrifice him to G-d.
Torah Portion: Vayikra (And He Called) Vayikra/Leviticus 1:1-5:26
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 43:21-44:23
Today we begin the third book of the Torah. It is sometimes called, “The Torah of the priests,” due to its many commandments concerning the duties of the priests in their service in the Mishkan or Tabernacle. Here we read much about the sacrifices brought to the Mishkan by the people of Israel. Interestingly when we think of this we often associate the bringing of sacrifices with some sin the person has committed. However, actually of the sacrifices brought, only one or two had to do with sins.
Torah Portion: Chukat (Regulations) B’midbar(Numbers) 19:1-22:1
Haftorah Reading Judges 11:1-33
This Torah portion is one of the more difficult portions to understand on several levels. The name, chukat, gives us a hint to its difficulty. The word, when used as it is here, can mean regulations. The root of the word means to engrave, as in stone or metal, something that is meant to endure. Chok, the singular form of the word always means something that, on the surface, seems to be illogical or impossible to grasp. In our portion we read where the people involved in preparing the ashes of the red heifer became unclean. However, when those ashes were applied to a person, who was unclean from being in contact with a dead body, that person became clean again. For an Israelite, being unclean by contact with death meant they were excluded from worshiping G-d in the Temple. That person could not come into the confines of the Temple until they were cleansed by the ashes of the red heifer.
Torah Portion: Vayikra (He Called) Leviticus/Vayikra 1:1-5:26
Haftorah Reading Isaiah 43:21-44:23
This week we begin a new book of the Torah by studying the first portion of Vayikra. In the English Bible we know it by its Greek name of Leviticus, meaning the work of the priests. I want us to look at the opening word of our section and see what we can learn from the way G-d spoke to Moshe.
Torah Portion Chukat (Ordinances) Numbers (B’Midbar) 19-22
Haftorah Reading: Judges 11:1-33
Today we read a Torah portion about the death of both of Moshe’s siblings, Aaron and Miriam. We also read of the remedy for being ritually unclean. You could become ritually unclean by being with or in the house of someone who had died. The only remedy for this level of uncleanness was to be sprinkled with water that contained the ashes of a red heifer.
Torah Portion: Vayera (And He Appeared) B’resheet (Genesis) 18-22
Haftorah Reading: II Kings 4:1-37
Our Torah portion today covers a large swath of the life of Avraham, beginning with the appearance of G-d to him as he was sitting in the door of his tent. In this meeting G-d told Avraham His plan to give Avraham and Sarah a child in their old age and also of the coming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In this meeting we read of Avraham’s intercession for these cities, ending in their ultimate destruction after even 10 righteous people could not be found there.
Torah Portion: Shoftim (Judges) D’varim (Deut) 16-21
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 51:12-53:12
This Torah portion holds a special place in my memory. I know I have told you before but bear with me while I share with you what causes me to remember this portion each year.
In September 1996, during the week leading up to this Torah portion, I was sitting at my desk in a school where I worked in downtown Jerusalem. The school occupied the second and third floor of a building. A little past noon I was on my way down the stairs to go to the dorm to check on some needed repairs when the secretary called me back upstairs to answer a phone call. Just as I sat down to take the call there was an enormous explosion that shook the building, blowing out windows. I sat stunned for a second. Then realizing what had occurred I ran down the stairs to a scene from a horror movie. Three terrorists had blown themselves up. I believe 10 people died in the explosion, mainly children who had come downtown to buy school supplies. Each year as I read this portion about the man found dead in the field I remember that day.
Torah Portion: Tzav (Command) (Leviticus) Vayikra 6-8
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 7:21-9:24
Tonight we read the Torah portion Tzav or Command. This Torah portion continues with the details of sacrifice and ends with the setting apart of Aaron and his sons for their ministry in the Mishkan.