D’Varim (Deut.) 1:1-3:22
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 1:1-27
Messianic Scripture Hebrews 3:7-4:11
Today I would like to mention a few things concerning the Fast day of Tisha B’Av that begins this evening as Shabbat ends. In English this is the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. This is one of the most solemn days of the year. What gives it this name? On this day over 2,500 years ago the Babylonians destroyed the first temple in Jerusalem. Exactly five hundred years later the Romans destroyed the second temple. On that same day, in 1492 Queen Isabella decreed that all Jews in Spain must convert to Christianity or be expelled from Spain. During Tisha B’Av we are encouraged to read the book of Lamentations. This book lays out a very vivid picture of the lamenting and mourning that took place over the destruction of the city of G-d.
Torah Portion: B’Har (On Mount) Lev.25:1-26:2 and B’chukkotai (By My Regulations) Leviticus 26:3-27:34
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 32:6-27 and 16:19-17:14
Messianic Scripture Luke 4:16-21 and I Cor. 7:21-24
Today we finish studying the book of Leviticus for this cycle of Torah. In chapter 26:3-6 we read of G-d’s promise to Israel, “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield it’s increase. I will give you peace in the land.”
Torah Portion: B’chukkotai (By My Statutes) Leviticus/Vayikra 26:3-27:34
Haftorah Reading Jeremiah 16:19-34
Tonigh,t we will finish the book of Vayikra or Leviticus by looking at chapters 26 and 27. Chapter 26 covers G-d’s blessings and curses that will come upon Israel for either their faithfulness or their disobedience. I would ask you to look at these chapters in light of Romans 11:11-27. In Romans we see Shaul speaking to the believers in Rome, many of which were not Jewish. Shaul apparently was battling an idea that is still popular today, replacement theology.
Torah Portion: P’kudei(Accounts) Exodus(Sh’mot) 38:21-40:38
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 7:40-8:38
Tonight, we finish the book of Sh’mot/Exodus as we read of the listing of all the material used in the construction of the Mishkan or Tabernacle and of the setting up of the structure. As we come to the end of this Torah portion we read of the glory of G-d settling on the Mishkan. In Exodus 38:34-35 we read where even Moshe could not enter the Mishkan because of the cloud that covered it and the glory of the L-rd filled it. In II Chronicles7:1-3 we again read of the Spirit of G-d falling when the first Temple was dedicated on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Torah Portion: Ki Tavo(When You Come) D’Varim/Deut. 26:1-29:8
HafTorah: Isaiah 60:1-22
Today we read the Torah section Ki Tavo. This portion has much to say about the blessings and curses that follow obedience or disobedience to the Word of G-d.
Torah Portion D’Varim (Deut.) 1:1-3:22
Haftorah Reading: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 1:1-27
Today we study the first portion of the last book of the Torah. This book is mainly made up of the last words of Moshe to his people before he ascends the mountain and dies there. Also, tonight, at 7:30, the day of Tisha B’Av begins. On this day Jewish people remember the destruction of both the First and the Second Temple. It also harkens back to the day of the bad report of the spies and the people refusing to enter the Land. It is note worthy to know that many other tragedies occurred on this day. The Spanish Inquisition and the Night of Broken Glass, which signaled the beginning of the Holocaust, are two such events. On this day the book of Lamentations is read to remember the penalty of not taking action in going up to settle the Land.
Torah Portion: T’rumah (Offering)(Sh’mot) Exodus 25:1-27:19
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 5:26-6:13
This week we read of the gathering of materials to build the Mishkan or Tabernacle. In the opening verses there are several interesting points to ponder. For example, in Exodus 25:8-9 we read where after listing the things to be brought in verse 8, G-d says, ”And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” In verse 9 we read, “that is the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishing, just so shall you make it.” The interesting part of these two verses is that in verse 8 the word used for sanctuary is Mikdash, which actually is the word used later for the Temple in Jerusalem. Verse 9 speaks of the Mishkan or Tabernacle that they are about to build. So what, if anything, are we to make of this difference? I expect it was the quality of G-d that knows no yesterday, or tomorrow. Everything with G-d is already – there are no limitations of time. So maybe it was G-d’s way of encouraging the people by saying that He would always be with them and whether it was a Tabernacle or Temple He was there. Either of these buildings were just a means or symbol of their faith in Him who in this portion says He will always be there no matter where they are. I think this should encourage us as we go through our life as believers. Our faith does not rest on a place but on the indwelling presence of G-d and knowing no matter what He is with us.
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: Re’eh (See) Devarim (Deuteronomy) 11:26-16:17
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
This week we read a Torah section whose main theme is the future Temple and singular place of worship for Jewish people. As you go through this section you will see time and again the distinctiveness of this place of worship. We see it in the food laws, in that only kosher animals can be brought for sacrifice. We see that only Passover, Shavout and Sukkot are mentioned among the holidays. These are the three holidays where Israel, as a people, were called to come to Jerusalem to celebrate together. We also see it in the setting up of Jerusalem as different from the customs of the local inhabitants, who had a multitude of places to worship. All of this points to the fact that the people of G-d were to be different from those around them.