Vayechi (And He Lived) B’resheet (Genesis) 47-50

Torah Portion:  Vayechi (And He Lived) B’resheet (Genesis) 47-50

Haftorah Reading: I Kings 2:1-12


Our Torah portion begins with the words “And he lived,” found in B’resheet/Genesis 47:28. However, as we read further, we see in a few verses later that Ya’acov died in this portion. His son, Joseph, died also. What can we make of these first few words, “And he lived?” I think scripture is making a point important to us all. Ya’acov’s body died but he lived on through the lives of his descendants, as do we. This opens up a few issues I want us to give some thought to. How do each of us live on after our physical passing? If we look at verse 48:15 we read what Ya’acov attributed his life to as he faced death. In this verse we read where he made the statement that he and his forefathers spent their life walking with G-d. I believe each of us should look at our life and consider how we have spent our days. In this same verse he went on to say G-d had been his Shepherd for his life.

Acharei Mot (After the death) & Kedoshim (Holy) (Leviticus) Vayikra 16-20

Torah Portion:  Acharei Mot (After the death) & Kedoshim (Holy) (Leviticus) Vayikra 16-20

Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 22:1-19 & 20:2-20

Tonight we read two Torah Sections again. These sections cover the laws governing Yom Kippur, the commandments dealing with inter-personal relationships, sexual sins and other issues that have to do with leading a holy life in our world today. Often we read these words and have difficulty seeing a connection to our life today in our modern enlightened society. I pray by the end of tonight we will be able to grasp what these two portions say to us personally.

Shoftim (Judges) Deut. D’varim 16-21

Torah Portion:  Shoftim (Judges) D’varim(Deut.) 16:18-21:9

Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 51:12-52:12

Tonight we read a Torah portion filled with many different commandments and situations. I want us to take a few minutes and see what we might discern from several of these verses. I also want us to remember these scriptures form the foundation to what we read in the New Testament and should give us a deeper, more complete understanding of what we read there.  My goal as a teacher is to always better equip each of us to grow deeper in our faith as G-d’s grafted in ones.

Chukat (Ordinance) B’Midbar (Numbers) 19-22

Torah Portion:  Chukat (Ordinance) B’Midbar 19-22

Haftorah Reading: Judges 11:1-33

Tonight we read a Torah section that includes two passages that are difficult to completely understand.  The first is the “Red Heifer.” When we read the verses about the preparation and use of the ashes of the red heifer we see a process that cleanses one person from ritual impurity, because of contact with a dead body, while at the same time causing the priest, who is involved, to become unclean in the process. How can this be? I think we will be able to answer this riddle over the next few minutes.

Yitro (Jethro Sh’mot Exodus 18-23

Torah Portion:  Yitro (Jethro)(Sh’mot)  Exodus 18:1-20:23

Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6

This week we read the Torah portion Yitro. It is one of only two Torah portions named for a non-Jew and for a further point this portion contains the Ten Commandments and the ceremony where Israel agrees to submit to G-d. So why, with all of this, would this section carry the name of a non-Jew? In some ways the answer is part of the correct response to my question of the week.

Shelach L’Kha (Send on your behalf) B’midbar (Num) 13-15

Torah Portion:  Shelach L’Kha (Send on your behalf) B’midbar (Numbers) 13:1-15:41

HafTorah: Joshua 2:1-24

Tonight we look at the Torah portion Shelach or send. We read of the mission of the twelve men chosen to go and report back on their findings. You might notice that at the beginning they are called men not spies. That was a role they took on themselves. They saw their mission in a different light than Moses when he gave them their charge.  They got ahead of G-d’s instructions. This is something each of us must guard against. When we run ahead of the Father we may become lost and get caught up in what we think He said rather than what He actually revealed to us. It is interesting that the word eretz (land of Israel) has at its root the Hebrew word Ratz or run. So we are to run after Him but not ahead of Him. Here we see obstacles in the way of the conquest. I would imagine we have all encountered obstacles in our lives when our wills are tested. These experiences give us the opportunity to demonstrate our profound desire to go with the “Lover of our soul.” Our battle is to be able to keep a proper perspective on these challenges, not to lose our way and not to be discouraged.

Vayikra (He Called) Lev 1-5

Torah Portion:  Vayikra (And He Called) Leviticus 1:1-5:26

HafTorah: Isaiah 43:21-44:23

Tonight we begin the third book of Torah. In English we call it Leviticus, a word coming from Greek and Latin and meaning, “Pertaining to the Levites.” By contrast, in Hebrew it is named Vayikra or “And He called.” Interestingly, this is the first book studied in religious elementary schools. In fact, even in Yeshua’s day, this would have been His first book of study.

Shoftim (Judges) Devarim (Deut.) 16-21

Torah Portion: Shoftim (Judges) Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:18-21:9

HafTorah: Isaiah 51:12-53:12

Tonight we read the first Torah portion of the Hebrew month of Elul. This month is devoted to repentance and soul searching. We take the time to look at ourselves and our relationship with G-d. We set our spiritual life in order. Interestingly Elul can be looked at as an acronym for, “Ani le-dodi vadodi li.” Which in English is, I am my beloved and my beloved is mine. This month can be an opportunity to renew our romance with G-d.