Torah Portion: B’shallach(After he had let go)Ex./Sh’mot 13:17-17:16 Haftorah Reading: Judges 4:4-5:31 To begin tonight I have a question for you. In our Torah portion in Exodus 15:23 we see the second place the children of Israel stopped was at a place called Marah and they could not drink the water there because it was bitter. An […]
Today we study what may be the most important Torah portion of the year. In the very first verse we read where G-d told Moshe to, “Come” to Pharaoh. Here Moshe was to relate to Pharaoh G-d’s final three plagues, locust, darkness and death of the first born. Sh’mot 10:1 reads, “And the L-rd said to Moshe, Come to Pharaoh.” In all other times G-d told Moshe to go to Pharaoh. Why was the word “come” used here? I believe this gives all of us an important clues to the character of the Father. G-d was telling Moshe that no matter what we face G-d will be with us. He will already be there before us. Our faith should be strengthened by the use of this small word in this verse.
Torah Portion: Ki Tetze (When You Go Out) Devarim (Deuteronomy) 21-25
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:1-10
What would you say the over-riding theme of this Torah portion is? It is our responsibility to reach outside ourselves. Do we see this carried on in the New Testament? Look at Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31. In both segments of the Bible we see this over arching theme of helping others and doing the right thing for our fellowman. In this Torah portion we see this worked out in each chapter, whether it is in the respect of women, helping out when a man’s donkey has fallen, respect for a mother bird on a nest, interest not charged, or leaving food in your field for the poor. Over and over again we see G-d’s call for us to be involved with people. In the New Testament Matthew 5:42 talks about lending or giving to people in need and of course Matthew 25:35-40 speaks of how we are specifically called to minister to the Jewish people. Luke 3:10-11 talks about sharing with the poor. James 2:14-17 and James 1:17 says it is the very definition of religion.
Torah Portion: Ha’azinu Deut. 32:1-52
HafTorah: II Samuel 22:1-51
In Deut. 32:1 Moses uses two different verbs when addressing Heaven and Earth. I want us to start by looking at these verses and what it might mean to us spiritually. First, Ha’azinu means to give ear or listen closely, like when you might share something with a close friend. The other verb is a general term for listen. What can we learn from this? The rabbis say the first word signifies the closeness Moses felt to Heaven. I was thinking about this and about what it means for us. First Judaism sees life both spiritual and physical made up of a dichotomy, light and dark, days of the week, Sabbath, Heaven and earth. Given this, we live somewhat in the tension between these divisions. We, like Moses, should have a close connection to the divine. We should be so close we only have to whisper and the world should not have the power over us that the spiritual has. We should be able to impact the physical world because of our closeness to the spiritual. We need only to whisper and G-d hears us.
Torah Portion: Beshalach Exodus 13:17-17:16
HafTorah: Judges 4:4-5:31
Tonight we look at a Torah section that is packed with spiritual lessons. We can’t cover them all but I would like to look at a couple. The people complain four times in this portion. The second time is at the bitter waters of Marah. Do any of you remember where you have heard this word before? Ruth’s Mother in law said to call her Marah after her husband and sons had died.
Weekly Torah Section: Tazria (Conceived) and Metzora (Leper) Leviticus 12:1-15:33,
Haftorah: II Kings 7:3-20
What binds these Torah sections and II Kings 7:3-20 together? Leprosy and Lepers are the common themes. What is leprosy? Today it is known as Hanson’s Disease. But what the scripture talks about is probably something else. In scripture when people had leprosy it was usually different types of skin problems, boils, rashes or psoriasis.
In II Kings we read of Elisha and how he followed Elijah as the prophet to the northern kingdom. The events here happened during the reign of King Joram, son of Ahab, the king of Syria. Ben Hadad had laid siege to the city and people had been reduced to eating their own children as prophesied in Deut. 28:53. In chapter 6 verse 25, it tells how bad it had become. We pick up the story in II Kings 7:3 where we see four lepers talking at the entrance to the city. Why were they outside the city? The answer can be found in Leviticus 13:46. Because of their leprosy they were not allowed inside the city.