Haftorah Reading: I Kings 5:12-6:13
I want us to concentrate our study today on one particular verse. I want us to look at Exodus 25:2. I am sure we have looked at this verse before, however, today I want us to look at it from a viewpoint we may not have considered before.
In this verse we read the offering brought to the L-rd was to come from only those people who were moved to give willingly. It could come from both male and female Israelites. This offering was for the specific purpose of constructing the Mishkan. So this offering was to include all the people not a select few. The purpose of the offering is clearly stated in Exodus 25:8. There we read, “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell in their midst.” The Mishkan was to be constructed in such a way that it was mobile and could be moved. It would need to be transported wherever the people journeyed. It was used for the duration of the exodus and for many years once the people arrived in the Promised Land. Most importantly the Mishkan was to be a visible, tangible reminder that the L-rd was dwelling among them. The very word for the structure has at its root, neighbor or neighborhood. I would pray each of us can feel that same assurance that G-d is always with us. He abides in our heart.
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: Re’eh (See) D’varim (Deut) 11-16
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
This week our Torah portion is Re’eh or See. If you remember last week we read Ekev which contained part of the Shema or “Hear.” Today I want us to look at these two words and discern what G-d is saying to us through them.
However, first there are some other points I would like us to explore as well. I would like to start with the introduction of a specific place of worship that G-d would choose once the people crossed over the Jordan River. We see this thought spoken about in Deut. 12:5. As we know from our readings of the Ten Commandments all forms of idol worship were looked at as a grave sin. This choice of a central place of worship was to help the people guard against idol worship. Only service of the one true G-d would be permitted. In Re’eh we also read where three holidays are talked about in chapter 16. Why did Moshe pick out only these three, Pesach, Shavuot and Succot? I think again to stress the centrality of Jerusalem to the people. These three holidays are the three that involved an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
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: Lekh L’kha (B’resheet) Genesis 12:1-17:27
HafTorah: Isaiah 40:27-41:16
Today we are introduced to Avram, later to become Avraham. He is person who is revered by well over half the world’s population. Think about it, he never became a ruler of a nation, wandered much of his life, yet he is looked at as the foundational person in the spiritual life of billions. Why is this? I think the answer lies in this Torah portion.
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.
Torah Portion: Ki Tisa (When You Take) Exodus 30-34
HafTorah: I Kings 18:1-39
“When you take the head of the of the sons of Israel.” This is so important here in that it shows the importance of each person. They were to be counted by going to each one and counting them for service to the L-rd. Let us never think that we are unimportant or that G-d only cares for the good ones, or for the important ones. He loves us all equally. He knows each of us. We matter to Him. When you feel G-d does not care remember this verse. Moses was to go to each person, not just give an estimate but to touch each one – to show they mattered and they counted.
Torah Portion: Metzora Leviticus 14:1-15:33
HafTorah: II Kings 7:3-20
This is the second Torah Portion devoted to leprosy. Four chapters given to a disease and all the details of how to tell if a person has it and if so what to do about it and how to be declared clean. Seems odd doesn’t it – until we look at the New Testament and how leprosy was used as a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven. I sent you some verses that I think give us a good view of this. Luke 17:12-14, Matthew 10:7-8, Matthew 11:4-5 and Matthew 26:6. What can we see from all these? Cleansing of leprosy was seen as a sign that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. But why was this? Think about the disease. What did it do? It spread through the body slowly killing it and also easily spread to others. Sin also is at work in our body to bring death physically and spiritually. Leprosy separated the person from being part of the Temple worship, separated them from family and friends. Anyone who had it had to live outside the camp. Which brings me to Matthew 26:6 about Simon the leper. How can we tell he had been healed and cleansed? He lived in town and people came and went in his house. Maybe he was one who had been healed by Yeshua. Yeshua also raised Lazarus from the dead in this same town, which gives us a further insight into leprosy. It was viewed as a death sentence. The person with it had to tear his clothes, leave his head uncovered and cry, “unclean, unclean.” Sin makes us spiritually unclean and separates us from G-d. To enter into His presence we must be made clean by Messiah.