Torah Portion: Mattot (Tribes) Masa’ei (Stages) B’midbar(Numbers) 30:2-36:13
Tonight, we finish the book of B’Midbar/Numbers by reading the last two Torah portions, Mattot and Masa’ei. In these sections Moshe covers a variety of topics with the people before they enter the Land without him.
Interestingly, the first subject he talked about was the issue of vows. Our words are important and carry power. In Proverbs 18:21 we read the tongue has the power of life and death. In Matthew 5:33-37 we read the words of Yeshua concerning vows. He said, “Just let your yes be yes and your no be no.” Think a moment on how we see words used in scripture. We can start with Genesis chapter one. G-d created the world by His words. It is through speech that we pray, that we ask for forgiveness for our sins. Words spoken cannot be taken back. All of this should move us to speak only when we have thought through what we are about to say and the effect it will have on the hearer. Too often we let our mouth get in front of our mind. G-d looks at this seriously. So here we see Moshe warning the people about vows. What is a vow? Anytime we begin by saying, “I will never…” or “I will always…”, we are making a vow. My point is that G-d takes this seriously and once the words are out there we are bound by them. Think before you speak, will my words bring life or will they bring death?
Torah Portion: Devarim (Words) Deut. 1:1-3:11
HafTorah: Isaiah 1:1-27
First a few words about this fifth book of the Torah. It is the last book of the Torah. It is introduced with, “These are the words of Moses.” So in this book Moses speaks in the first person. In all the other books the pattern was, “G-d said.” Here it is, “I spoke.” Moses recounts the last 40 years in the desert. Remember all of those people were either not born yet or very young at the time of leaving Egypt. So Moses recounts some of the things that transpired in the wilderness. There were some things he does not mention which we may talk about in a few minutes. It took Moses over a month to deliver this farewell speech to the people. (remember he can see his own death here and senses the importance of what he is saying.)
Torah Portion: Toldot Genesis 25:19-28:9
HafTorah: Malachi 1:1-2:7
Again tonight I would like for us to look mainly at the Torah portion concerning Isaac’s life. I want to especially look at the last days of his life. Let us begin by looking at Genesis 25:21 where it says Isaac pleaded with G-d for his wife because she was barren. They had been married for 20 years. What effect do problems have in our life? It depends on how we look at them. We can worry, become angry, or just give up. All these are ways we can react to issues in our lives. Here we learn a good lesson. What really brings peace to us and answers to what we are dealing with? Prayer. The Hebrew in this verse is quite strong. The verb would be to plead, entreat, urge. Isaac was pouring all he had into this prayer ad not just for a day or two but years. The Talmud gives an explanation for this barren condition. “Because the Holy One blessed be He longs to hear the prayer of the righteous.” Isaac and others in the Bible were drawn to prayer for their barren wives. What effect can prayer have on us? On G-d? For sure it develops that closeness between us and the Father such as nothing else can.