: Vayigash (And He Approached) B’resheet/Genesis 44:18-47:27
Haftorah Readings: Ezekiel 37:15-28
This week we read of the reunion of the sons of Jacob with their brother Joseph. We also read of the eventual settling of the people in Egypt. There they would spend hundreds of years as slaves before G-d would send Moshe to bring them out and lead them to Israel.
There are many questions that arise in our reading this week. However, we will look at only a couple. I pray we all can grasp how things unfolded in this family’s story and what we can learn from these events. When we read Genesis 45:5-7 we see how Joseph was able to see the hand of G-d in the things that had happened to him over the last years. He understood G-d had a plan and purpose to what he had suffered. G-d always has a purpose, a plan. That plan may involve discomfort or even suffering on our part. Our challenge is to hold on, to be faithful, to continue on and not give up or lose our faith.
Torah Portion: Vayechi (And He Lived) B’resheet (Genesis) 47-50
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 2:1-12
This Torah portion begins with a word that should be familiar to us all. It is “chai” or live/life. When we see this word in scripture it is usually followed by the death of the person mentioned. Here in our portion we see that play out. The point of the word then is not to dwell on the death of a person but rather to look at his life. Here in our portion we see this in Jacob’s life as he talked to Joseph and reviewed his life where G-d had appeared to him and his connection to the Land of Israel. In a way, telling Joseph and his sons that they too were part of that lineage, not Egyptian, but Hebrews with roots in the mountains of Israel. When we look at the names Joseph gave his sons we can see that this may have been a struggle for him earlier. In Genesis 41:51-52 we read where he named his first son Manasseh, meaning, “It is because G-d has made one forget all my troubles and my father’s household.” When we read these words we can read the hurt in the words and him looking forward to his new life. However in verse 52 we read the name of the second son Ephraim, meaning, “G-d has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” So in this name we can see that now Joseph sees Egypt as the land of affliction. What happened between the births of these two sons? Maybe Joseph remembered or began to realize that he was truly a stranger in a strange land and it would never be his home. This also speaks volumes to us. We must not become comfortable in the land of our affliction. We as G-d’s people have more to live for than the physical things of life. We are in the world but not of the world. John 17:14-16. We are to live life but life is so much more than things. Here in our portion today we see Jacob lay that out to his sons and also to his grandsons. It should also be clear to our spiritual mind as well. What will we leave behind as our legacy when we die? What will we pass on to our children, friends, even strangers we meet along the path of life?
Torah Portion: Korach Numbers 16-18
HafTorah: I Sam. 11:14-12:22
This week’s Torah section is full of spiritual lessons for us. The main part of this Parasha concerns Korach and the rebellion led by him against Moses and Aaron. I want us to look at this rebellion in some detail and see what life spiritual lessons we can draw from it.
Torah Portion: B’chukkotai (By My regulations) Vayikra (Leviticus) 26:3-27:34
HafTorah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
New Testament: John 14:15-21; 15:10-12; I John
Today I want us to look at a difficult passage where G-d outlines the blessings and curses associated with obedience and disobedience. I want us to look at these on a personal level. But before we get to that we must realize that these verses were written on a national and a personal basis.