Torah Portion: Re’eh (See)D’Varim(Deut.) 11:26-16:17
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Today we will look at several crucial topics. These topics should speak to all of us. I would like to start with the first verse of our Torah portion. Deut. 11:26 reads, “Behold (see) I set before you today a blessing and a curse.” Our portion then goes on to tell us the conditions for receiving the blessings and by contrast what the curses will be for not following G-d’s commandments.
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 7:40-8:21
Tonight we finish the book of Exodus. Let’s take just a moment and think of how far this book has taken us. We began this book seeing Jacob and his children going down to Egypt. Then we read tonight about the people leaving Egypt behind and beginning their forty year boot camp in the desert. This forty years was school for these former slaves. This time of learning was not just for them but for us as well. Even with all their failures G-d never gave up on them nor does He give up on us. He called them His prized possession. Think of that whenever you fall. Our G-d is a loving G-d and wants the best for each of us. All He requires is our faith and our obedience to follow Him each day.
Torah Portion: Va’era (And I Appeared) Exodus (Sh’mot) 6:2-9:35
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
Tonight, we read of G-d sending Moshe and Aaron on their mission to bring the people out of Egypt and take them to the Land of Promise. To begin, I want to just mention verse 6:9. I have probably mentioned this every year but I consider it important for us to remember. In this verse we read where the people did not listen to Moshe because of their anguished spirit. The word in Hebrew is better translated as shortness of spirit. The people, after 400 years of slavery, had been beaten down to the point of accepting their plight as slaves.
Torah Portion: Ki Tetze (When You Go Out) D’varim (Deut) 21-25
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:1-10
This week we read a Torah portion packed with commandments. As you read through this portion you will find most of the commandments have to do with how we treat people as well as how we relate to G-d. To begin, let’s look at the first verse of our reading, Deut. 21:10. “When you go out to war.” How can this apply to us? Look at the first word, “when.” The verse says when we go out to war, not if we go out to war. We go out to war everyday of our lives. Our war is the battle between flesh and spirit, our will verses the will of the Father. So think for a moment. How many battles did you fight just today? Maybe you fought the battle of whether to come here to study G-d’s word or not. We fight battles of fatigue, the daily rush of life, the demands made on us each day by work, family, friends and sometimes even laziness. We face battles each day. The question is how do we deal with those wars? Do we live our days relying on our own will and flesh or do we take our thoughts and flesh captive? II Corinthians 10:5.
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.
Torah Portion: P’kudei (Accounts)(Sh’mot) Exodus 38-40
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 7:40-8:21
Tonight we read the last section of the book of Shemot/Exodus. The book reaches it climax here with the setting up of the Mishkan and the filling of it with the Presence of G-d. We have followed the people from their exit from Egypt and hundreds of years as slaves to Pharaoh to this point where they, having done all that G-d commanded, became in every sense the people of G-d with His presence dwelling in them. We have seen them at their lowest making the golden calf to here where scripture says that they have done everything G-d has commanded. They are G-d’s segula or treasured possession.
Torah Portion: Pinchas B’Midbar (Numbers) 25:10-30:1
HafTorah: I Kings 18:46-19:21
Tonight we read the portion Pinchas, which brings light to the ending of last week’s Torah portion. This section of scripture ranges from the blessing given to Pinchas, to the census of the people, to the request of the daughters who’s father had died with no male heirs, to Moshe praying for the new leader of Israel and ending with the description of the holidays and offerings. Is there anything that ties this all together for us? Maybe it begins and ends with the priesthood and covenant of Shalom given to Pinchas.
Torah Portion: Vayak’hel (He Assembled) P’kudei (Accounts) Exodus 35-40
HafTorah: I Kings 7:13-26; 7:40-8:21
Tonight we read the last two Torah portions of Shemot. They cover the setting up of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the accounting of the materials used in its construction. It is interesting in that just a few chapters back we covered the materials used and the gathering of those items. In our earlier reading the words are, “And you shall make,” was used in each item to become part of the Mishkan, while here in our present Torah portion the wording is changed to, “And he made.” If we take a moment I think by this change we are told of more than just the passage of time, but we are told of completion of a task set out by G-d for His people. We see follow through. I think this is really important for each of us to contemplate. G-d has a task for each of us in this world. What ever that task is, our job or mission is to carry it out to completion. It is easy to become tired or discouraged along the way. That is when we refresh ourselves by going back and recalling the original call of G-d and be encouraged to carry it through. This also applies to a group as well as an individual. Road to Zion has as one of its major tasks the reclamation of our roots to our faith, to get back to what we see as essential in being who we are as a people – grafted into the House of Israel. For 2,000 years we have drifted away. Now it is time to return. So here Torah shows us the beginning and the end of this mission to build the Mishkan. May it be with us in our day.
Torah Portion: V’Zot HaBrachah (And this is the blessing) (Deut.) 32:1-34:12
HafTorah: Joshua 1:1-18
Tonight we finish our yearly Torah cycle by finishing the book of Deut. (D’Varim). Next week we begin the cycle again with the book of Genesis. Since we did not do a Torah study last week I wanted to take a moment to look at HaAzinu.
Torah Portion: Ki Tavo (When You Come) Deut. 26:1-29:8
HafTorah: Isaiah 60:1-22
In the days of the Temple farmers were to set aside the first of the seven things mentioned in Torah in Deut. 8:8. How did they do this? The farmer went out into the fields at the first sign of blossoms or heads of grain and marked them with a ribbon on the stems. When they reached maturity he would harvest them and take them to the Temple in Jerusalem during Shavuot. He would give them to the priest and recite the words of Deut 26:5-11. What was the purpose of this ritual to the farmer? It kept it in his mind and spirit that all things come from the Father, and gave him an opportunity to show his gratitude for G-d’s provisions.