B’chukkotai(By My Regulations)Vayikra/Leviticus 26:3-27:34
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Even though we are unable to meet today I want to send you some thoughts on this week’s Torah portion. I would like to concentrate on an extremely important section of this Torah portion. It begins with these words, “If you walk in my statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out” Leviticus 26:3. Isn’t that statement a bit redundant? What is the difference between 1. walking in My statutes and 2. keeping the commandments and 3. carrying them out? I might add this question also applies to Yeshua’s commandments in the Messianic Scriptures.
Acharei Mot (After the death)Vayikra/Leviticus 16:1-18:30
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 22:1-19
I want us to talk about a very serious issue that is all around us. Even in our religious institutions we see things condoned that we would have never dreamed of a few years ago. In our Torah portion today we read of a remedy for the sin sweeping our world.
My question this week centered on two verses, one in our reading and one from the Messianic scriptures. Both of these verses lay out a path for G-d’s people to rise above the situations we encounter each day. We see how to resist becoming numb to the sins we encounter.
Torah Portion: Korach B’midbar (Numbers) 16:1-18:32
Haftorah Readings: I Samuel 11:14-12:22
Today we look at a Torah portion that covers an incident that takes place following the report of the 12 men sent to check out the Land. As a result of their negative report G-d sent Israel back into the desert and everyone over 20 years old were told they would not enter the Land. Only their children would receive the promise of G-d.
Torah Portion: Acharei Mot (After the death) Leviticus 16:1-18:30 Kedoshim (Holy People) Leviticus 19:1-20:27
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 22:1-19
This week we again read two portions of Torah. The first, coming after the death of Aaron’s two sons, and the next addressed to the holy ones, which at the time, was the Jewish people who had just come out of Egypt. Both of these sections are filled with many commandments of how G-d’s people are to live their daily life after being taken out of slavery and beginning their journey to the Promised Land.
Torah Portion: B’midbar (In the desert) B’midbar/Numbers 1:1-4:20
Haftorah Reading Hosea 1:10-2:20
Tonight, I have several topics I want to cover. I would like to begin with my question of the week. When we start this book of Torah I think it is worthwhile to compare it to the second book of Torah called Sh’mot/Exodus. In both, the people commit a terrible sin. In Exodus it was the golden calf and here in Numbers it was the sin of the bad report of the spies. In both situations G-d threatened to destroy them and start over with Moshe. Both times Moshe appealed to G-d and G-d relented.
Torah Portion Acharei Mot (After the Death) Leviticus/Vayikra 16:1-18:30
Haftorah Reading Ezekiel 22:1-19
Tonight, our Torah portion covers basically two subjects. One is Yom Kippur and the other is sexual relationship that are forbidden for G-d’s people. I want to cover both of these topics tonight.
To begin, I want us to look at Yom Kippur and see what G-d is saying to us in Leviticus/Vayikra 16. I asked you this week to come up with your own definition of the word atonement. In English, this word atonement, comes from the Hebrew word Kippur. This week I read an article that helped me understand this on a deeper level. If we take this word in English and break it apart you will get “at onement.” Looking at this might help us in our quest for a definition. Atonement puts us at “onement” with G-d. It clears the slate between us and the Father. It allows us to come close to Him by having our sins taken away. Does this remind you of any scripture? John 1:29 says, “Behold the lamb of G-d who takes away the sins of the world.” So, it should help us understand more fully what Yeshua has done and is doing for us.
Torah Portion: Vayishlach (And He Sent) B’resheet (Genesis) 32:4-36:43
Haftorah Reading: Obadiah 1:1-21
Tonight we read one of the pivotal moments of Yaakov’s life. It involves his meeting with his twin brother, Esau, after a separation of at least 20 years. If you remember, his mother Rebekah/Rivka sent him away to stay with her family and promised to send for him when Esau’s anger cooled. He never received that word from his mother. Rather, G-d instructed him to return home. So, we find him here in the night before meeting his brother Esau.
Think back through Yaakov’s life. How did he deal with sin, in the past and now including this meeting? What can we learn from this pattern of Yaakovs? It seems he mainly dealt with sin by running away from it rather than actually dealing with the issue. Is that a constructive way to deal with a problem?
Torah Portion Balak (B’Midbar) Numbers 22-25
Haftorah Reading: Micah 5:6-6:8
Tonight’s Torah portion is somewhat unusual in that it deals mainly with an idol-worshipping magician, Bilaam, ad his failed attempts to curse the Jewish people. First, to put things into a geographical perspective, Moav, where these verses take place, was on the southwestern side of the Promised Land. The people of Moav were the descendants of Lot. Because of this we read in Deuteronomy (D’Varim) 2:9 where G-d told the people, through Moses, to not distress the people of Moav or provoke them to war because their land was not part of the Promise Land. However, from Balak’s reaction we can assume he was unaware of this and feared the coming Israelites. He thought he needed more help than an army so he turned to Bilaam, apparently a famous person in the ancient world, known for his ability to bring curses down on people and nations. Something to keep in mind, Bilaam lived in what is now Iraq which was a long journey for the messengers of Balak to travel. This distance also speaks of his fame and gives us some idea of how much time it took to bring Bilaam to Moav.
Torah portion: Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1
Haftorah Reading I Kings 18:46-19:21
In this Torah portion we read the conclusion of the activities of the Israelites following their interaction with the Midianite women. In Numbers 25: 16-18 we read an interesting explanation of how G-d looked at the sins of immorality and idol worship. In these verses we read that these sins were viewed by G-d as being equally responsible for the plague G-d sent on the Israelites that took the lives of 24,000 people. As we have studied the Torah we have seen on many occasions that idol worship was the father of all sins. Nothing was looked at as being on the level of idol worship. I would like to share an explanation with you that might give us some answers to how here immorality and idol worship were looked at as being both responsible for Israel’s punishment. To do this I will draw from an article that I read this week by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin who serves as the chief Rabbi of the town of Efrat in Israel. In our society today we hear over and over that as long as we do not harm another person pretty much anything we do in okay if it brings us pleasure. The verses above give us an important insight that refutes that idea.