Torah Portion: Shemini (Eighth) Leviticus 9:1-11:47
Haftorah Reading: II Sam 6:1-7:17
Messianic Scripture II Cor. 6:14-7:1, Galatians 2:11-16
In our portion this week we see the name given to this section of Leviticus, “Shemini.” It is translated as the eighth day. This was the day when the Tabernacle was to be commissioned as G-d’s house among the people. In chapter 8:35 we read where Aaron and his sons had been preparing for this event for the previous seven days. In Lev. 8:36 we read, “Aaron and his sons did all things which the L-rd had commanded by the hand of Moshe.”
Torah Portion: Hayei Sarah (Life of Sarah) B’resheet/Genesis 23:1-25:18
HafTorah: I Kings 1:1-31
Tonight we read a Torah portion mainly made up of two events in the life of Avraham. The first event here in Genesis 23 and the second being the search for a wife for Yitzach. When we think of these two subjects it should remind us of G-d’s promise of a land and a people to Avraham.
Concerning the first promise we read of it in these verses: B’resheet/Genesis 12:7, 13:14-17, 15:7 and 15:18-21. Five times G-d affirms His promise of land to Avraham. Also, we can find in 5 places in scripture G-d speaking of Avraham’s descendents as the stars in heaven. This promise he affirms in B’resheet/Genesis 12:2, 13:16, 15:5, 17:4-5 and lastly 22:17.
Torah Portion: Lekh L’kha (Go) B’resheet/Genesis 12-17
HafTorah: Isaiah 40:27-41:16
Tonight we study one of the most pivotal Torah portions in scripture. It is a portion with insights into how we as G-d’s people are to live our life. It is also a portion that speaks to our relationship to the Jewish people.
In this Torah portion we read of G-d’s call to Avraham and Sarah. Interestingly we see today that almost half of the world’s population holds Avraham as the beginning of their faith. Jews, Muslims and Christians regard him as the spiritual ancestor of their 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: Kedoshim (Holy People) (Leviticus) Vayikra 19-20
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 20:2-20
Today I want us to talk for a bit about holiness. Here in our opening verse the Father says to Moshe call all of Israel together and share with them these words of how they should live and conduct their lives to be holy, for I am holy. Right away this verse puts the question to us, “What is holy, what does it mean and how does it impact our lives as people of G-d.”
Torah Portion: Vayetze (And He Went Out) (B’resheet) Genesis 28-32
Haftorah Reading: Hosea 12:13-14:10
This Torah section is filled with spiritual lessons for us form beginning to end. From these verses we can learn much from Ya’acov and his approach to his relationship with the Father. I would like to begin at the beginning of this section where we see Ya’acov leaving Israel and going to Haran. He was leaving the place where scripture says, “G-d’s eyes are on it from the beginning of the day until its end”, and travel to a place which had no thought of G-d, a place of deception and trickery. He came to a certain place near what would later become Jerusalem and laid down to sleep, putting a rock down for his head.
Torah Portion: Hayei Sarah (Sarah’s Life) B’resheet Genesis 23-25
HafTorah: I Kings 1:1-31
Tonight our Torah section covers the death of both Sarah and of Avraham. In it we will see the biblical description of how they both lived and died. I want us to look for clues about how they dealt with life and for clues that gives us an idea of what G-d requires of each of us in this world. Life is more than surviving it is how we enter each day and how we live those days. In our world, in fact also in the world of Avraham and Sarah, it is easier to just go along. It is easier to not make waves and lose ourselves in work or thinking only of our own lives.
Torah Portion: Pinchas B’midbar (Numbers) 25:10-30:1
HafTorah: I Kings 18:46-19:21
Tonight we read the Torah portion Pinchas. The incident which began last week ends in the opening verses of this week’s portion. We read where Pinchas is rewarded for his actions with a covenant of peace and an everlasting priesthood. All of this brings up questions. How would you describe Pinchas? Fanatic might come to mind. How do we normally look at fanatics? We don’t think positively of them especially when they are religious fanatics. We have all heard or been taught that religious fanaticism is to blame for much of the evil in the world today, and is the underlying cause of many or even every conflict around the globe. Think of ISIS, Boko HaRam, Al Quida to name but a few. And yet here we see it rewarded. How do we reconcile the two? Now think for a bit about Zimri and Kosbi. They may not seem all that strange today. We live in a time when boundaries are being constantly re-examined and changed, sometimes publicly. In the 60’s we had free love, today marriage is fast becoming old fashion or no longer needed.
Torah Portion: Kedoshim Leviticus 19-20:27
HafTorah: Amos 9:7-15; Ezekiel 20:2-20
This week we read the Torah portion Kedoshim or Holy. In Lev. 19:2 we read where G-d is speaking to Moses telling him to relate to the people of Israel these words, “you shall be holy for I the L-rd your G-d am holy.” In I Peter 1:15-16 we read almost the exact same words written to the First Century believers. No doubt the author of I Peter had in mind these words from Leviticus that we are reading tonight. So then how would the people of Peter’s day put these words into action? I would think they would again look to Leviticus, in this Torah section, as a guide. When we read these verses a common thread holds them together. That thread for the most part has to do with how we relate to other people as we navigate the days of our lives. These verses speak to us about how to live each day as a holy person, a person who does not withdraw from the world but one who infuses each day with the holiness of G-d. They show us how to be set apart but not withdrawn from the world. When we deal with people we are to be honest, compassionate and loving, not react as others might but bring holiness into every part of our lives.
Torah Portion: Mikketz (At The End) Genesis 41:-44:17
HafTorah: I Kings 3:15-4:1
This week we read about Joseph from his release from prison until his reunion with his brothers after many years apart. They do not recognize him. Why? What they saw was an Egyptian ruler second only to Pharaoh. What had changed with Joseph? What had not?