Today we finish the book of Numbers or B’Midbar by reading two portions of scripture. In these readings we will see many things that still speak to us today. In Masa’ei we read about the setting of boundaries for each tribe. G-d laid out exactly where each tribe would settle and told them they were responsible to cleanse to the land of its former inhabitants. They were told to destroy the idols and high places of the former inhabitants.
Torah Portion: Korach B’midbar/Numbers 16:1-18:32
Haftorah Reading: I Samuel 11:14-12:22
Today we are looking at a very important Torah portion. I realize I say that quite often but in this portion I believe we are looking at verses that speak directly to our times today.
Let me begin by looking at another verse that has Hebrew – English translation issues. In Numbers 16:1 we read in English, “Korah took men.” However in Hebrew the word men does not appear. It reads, “Korach took.” This leaves us with an interesting question, what did Korach take?
Torah Portion: Vayera(He Appeared) B’resheet/Genesis18:1-22:24
Haftorah Reading: II Kings 4:1-37
This week we read a very challenging portion, In my question for the week I used the word challenge to frame the meeting between G-d and Avraham. My purpose was to get us all to consider those times when we have an encounter with the Father concerning some issue we may be facing. I got some good responses to my question and appreciate them very much.
Vayetze(And He Went Out) B’resheet/Genesis 28:10-32:3
Haftorah Readings: Hosea 11:7-13:5
Today we read a Torah portion that covers a wide swath of Jacob’s life. It begins with Jacob leaving the Land and encountering angels going up and down a ladder between heaven and earth. It also ends with another incident of an encounter between angels and Jacob. The intervening years of Jacob’s life, between these two encounters, are filled with ups and downs.
Torah Portion: Va’etchanan (And I Pleaded) D’Varim (Deut.) 3:23-7:11
Haftorah Reading Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 40:1-26
This Torah portion covers a myriad of subjects and we could talk for hours about each one but I would like us to spend our time talking about two topics. However, as we begin I would like us to talk about our reading from Isaiah 40:1-26 that accompanies this Torah portion. If you are not familiar with this passage I would encourage you to take the time to read it. The beginning verse says, “Nahamu” which means comfort. This reading always follows the destruction of both temples on Tisha B’Av. This day of mourning was last Shabbat. These verses reminds us of our duty to comfort the people of G-d, the Jewish people. In Matthew 25:35-40 we read the words of Yeshua where He said the same thing. So, let us not take lightly our responsibility to Yeshua’s brothers and sisters, the Jewish people and by extension, all people.
Torah Portion: Mishpatim (Judgments) Sh’mot Exodus 21-24
HafTorah: Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26
Tonight we read the Torah portion Mishpatim or Judgments. This portion follows immediately after the giving of the Ten Commandments in last weeks Torah reading. The Jewish people had been in Egypt for hundreds of years, most of that time serving as slaves to the country of Egypt. They had little or no experience living as a free people, a people that had to deal with how to live as a free society. Here in this portion we read the beginning of G-d’s instructions on how a society should operate.
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: Chukat (Regulation) Numbers 19-22
HafTorah: Judges 11:1-33
NT John 3:9-21, 4:3-30, 12:27-50
In this Torah section we cover many things that will give us the opportunity to grow in our spiritual understanding. We see the death of two people who were two of only a few still left alive from the original ones who left Egypt. One of those who died was Moses’ sister Miriam. In D’Varim (Deut) 24:9 we read a curious statement concerning her, “remember what G-d did to her on the way from Egypt.” This is one of only six things Torah commands us to remember each day. So what did G-d do to her? She complained about Moses and G-d struck her with leprosy. So what was her sin? Her sin was lashon harah or gossip. This should tell us something of how the Father sees this sin. If we remember it daily it should impress us and remind us how G-d sees a loose tongue. Even her punishment is connected with the sin. Leprosy is looked at as a slow death. When we speak evil of someone it can have the same effect. It can slowly destroy them. When we gossip it usually does not stop with the person with whom we shared our story. It takes on a life of its own and like a disease, spreads from person to person infecting them all with the words we spoke. I pray each of us remember Miriam each day and with G-d’s help we will not be a part of this sin of lashon harah.
Torah Portion: Ki Tisa (When You Take) Shemot (Exodus) 30:11-34:35
HafTorah: I Kings 18:1-39
New Testament: Luke 11:14-20, Acts 7:35-8:1, I Cor. 10:1-13, II Cor. 3:1-18
This portion of scripture is full of verses to guide us in our lives. We will cover a few which I pray will guide us along the way. To start lets look at Shemot 30:18 where we are told of the bronze laver. What is a laver? It is basically a water container with faucets around it for washing. It was put between the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the altar. Here the priests, on their way to the altar, would stop to wash their feet and hands before approaching the altar. Why would they do this? Part of their daily ritual was to bathe in the mikvah to cleanse themselves. So why would they have to stop again to rewash their feet and hands? Yeshua gives us a clue in John 13:8 where He tells Peter, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in Me.” In the next verse Peter responds with asking Yeshua to wash not only his feet but also his head and hands. Yeshua’s answer to this gives us our answer.
Sukkot Reading: Levitcus 23:39-44, Exodus 33:12-34:26
As we go through this teaching think of someone in your life that would be a good example of a person that lives with joy in their life no matter their circumstances.
I want us to look more closely at Sukkot and the aspect of joy as well as New Testament references to the holiday. We have mentioned before the water drawing ceremony that took place each day during Sukkot. This is when the priests would go and bring water from Shiloach Springs and pour it over the altar as they prayed for the blessing of G-d in the form of abundant rain in the coming year. There is a striking New Testament reference to this water in John 7:37-38. See John 7:2 where the holiday is specifically mentioned. In 7:37 He makes reference to water and the spiritual truth that His water satisfies completely. He goes on to say that from us will also flow rivers of living water. How does this happen in our lives? G-d tabernacles with us, He becomes that Sukkah in which we dwell until we reach heaven. So how does water flow from us? It must flow daily as we live our lives here in this world. This happens I think, as we live a joyful life daily. Not just when everything is going well and we grow fat. But especially when things might not be going so well as the world measures well. How else can we read in James 1:2, “Count it all joy or pure joy whenever you fall into various trials.” How are we to do that?