Sunday, July 14, 2024

Balak - Reading #1

Balak בָּלָק - Balak

Numbers 22:2-25:9

Reading #1 - Numbers 22:2–12

My Thoughts:

Balaam is consulted to go and “curse” the Israelites. Balak seems to think this will help his cause. We may be appalled that he has been asked to do this, and it seems like he refuses to do so. But, then it made me think about our lives. We will be talking about someone and then we have this conviction that we may be gossiping. We try to repair what we have said. And even then stop to pray for that person. In all reality have we really “cursed” that person? If we were speaking negative words into the air, then it is like a curse. Like if we say, “That was awful that she/he did that. They ought to be hanged.” Or if we say something like, “She is dependent on the government just like generations before her. She will never amount to anything.” On and on. Gossip is destructive and can be just like a “curse”. So, think about it next time you find yourself talking about someone and the language you or the people around you are speaking. Are you speaking “life” into someone’s situation or are you speaking curses (death) -- just like Balaam was asked to do!


Who is Balaam? I challenge you today to do some research. At first glance, he seems to be some sort of believer because he says he will consult Adonai. And as we continue to read this week, he refuses to curse Israel. However, in future writings he is said to have enticed Israel to sin through sexual immorality. Do some research and see what you find. I think this story is important because it is a description of being “double-minded”. We act like we are one way, but then really in our hearts we are another. Look at your own life and see if there are any areas in which you are double minded. If so, clean it up, and become single minded -- only with one focus, on one Elohim.

Reading #1 - Numbers 22:2–12

22:2 Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 Moab was very afraid of the people, because they were many. Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. 4 Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this multitude will lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.”

Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. 5 He sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, to Pethor, which is by the River, to the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, “Behold, there is a people who came out of Egypt. Behold, they cover the surface of the earth, and they are staying opposite me. 6 Please come now therefore, and curse this people for me; for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall prevail, that we may strike them, and that I may drive them out of the land; for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

7 The elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand. They came to Balaam, and spoke to him the words of Balak.

8 He said to them, “Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as Hashem shall speak to me.” The princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.

9 Elohim came to Balaam, and said, “Who are these men with you?”

10 Balaam said to Elohim, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has said to me, 11 ‘Behold, the people that has come out of Egypt covers the surface of the earth. Now, come curse them for me. Perhaps I shall be able to fight against them, and shall drive them out.’”

12 Elohim said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

Balak - Week #8

Balak בָּלָק

Numbers 22:2-25:9

Micah 5:6-6:8

Matthew 21:1-11

1.1 First reading — Numbers 22:2–12

1.2 Second reading — Numbers 22:13–20

1.3 Third reading — Numbers 22:21–38

1.4 Fourth reading — Numbers 22:39–23:12

1.5 Fifth reading — Numbers 23:13–26

1.6 Sixth reading — Numbers 23:27–24:13

1.7 Seventh reading — Numbers 24:14–25:9

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Chukat - Reading #7

Chukat חֻקַּת - Law

Numbers 19:1-22:1

Haftarah: Judges 11:1-33

Apostolic Writing: John 19:38-42

Reading #7 - Numbers 21:21–22:1

My Thoughts:

Today we read how the battles are continuing as the Israelites wander through the wilderness. But one thing that they know for sure is that Hashem will go with them. Verse 34 says, “Don’t fear him, for I have delivered him into your hand, with all his people, and his land.”  Hashem is literally telling them not to fear -- that He has delivered them and they will have victory! We must remember this as we go through “battles” in our lives. If we are living a righteous life or at least trying to, we can trust that Hashem will go before us and clear the way to victory. Amen!


Interesting in verse 21 that Moses is sending messengers to the enemy to try to work things out before attacking. Sometimes people that do not believe in Torah -- think that Hashem just ruthlessly attacks and kills people. Many times we see that is just not true. There are people that go ahead and try to establish an agreement. And the times we don’t see that, it just may not have been written down. My point is -- in our lives we must do the same. Go to the person(s) you are having a disagreement with and try to work it out, before having a battle! Go with peace and solutions. Pray ahead of time. See how many “battles” can be avoided. Do this at home too with your spouse and kids. If we start this today, we will begin to mend our broken world. It starts with us. That is today’s challenge.

Reading #7 - Numbers 21:21–22:1

21 Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn away into field or vineyard. We will not drink of the water of the wells. We will go by the king’s highway, until we have passed your border.”

23 Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his border, but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness, and came to Jahaz. He fought against Israel. 24 Israel struck him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, even to the children of Ammon; for the border of the children of Ammon was fortified. 25 Israel took all these cities. Israel lived in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even to the Arnon. 27 Therefore those who speak in proverbs say,

“Come to Heshbon.

    Let the city of Sihon be built and established;

28 for a fire has gone out of Heshbon,

    a flame from the city of Sihon.

It has devoured Ar of Moab,

    The lords of the high places of the Arnon.

29 Woe to you, Moab!

    You are undone, people of Chemosh!

He has given his sons as fugitives,

    and his daughters into captivity,

    to Sihon king of the Amorites.

30 We have shot at them.

    Heshbon has perished even to Dibon.

We have laid waste even to Nophah,

    Which reaches to Medeba.”

31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32 Moses sent to spy out Jazer. They took its villages, and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 They turned and went up by the way of Bashan. Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.

34 Hashem said to Moses, “Don’t fear him, for I have delivered him into your hand, with all his people, and his land. You shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.”

35 So they struck him, with his sons and all his people, until there were no survivors; and they possessed his land.

22 The children of Israel traveled, and encamped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho.

Haftarah Reading

My Thoughts:

Jephthah is believing just what Moses believed centuries before. That Hashem would deliver the Ammonites into their hands. That is why Torah is so important. It lays down not only Hashem’s commandments about how to live, but gives examples of how He will defend and protect you in times of need. Jephthah recalls Hashem’s faithfulness and this instills faith in him and the people. Hashem once again delivers, just as he has before. We can depend on Hashem’s faithfulness in our lives too. But, we must know Torah and it’s messages to do this. Amen.


In verse 30 Jephthat makes a very important vow with Hashem, which later turns out to be quite challenging (the first out of his door is his daughter!). We need to take making vows with Hashem very, very seriously. I made a vow once with Hashem because I need immediate help in a situation. Hashem gave me the help and I have kept my vow for over 30 years! Recently, I had a talk with Hashem about trying to end the “deal” or vow I had made with Him. He reminded me about the seriousness of vows and I saw clearly I was to continue this vow until death. This vow was a big one -- I vowed never to drink alcohol again. There have been times it has been difficult to keep this vow. But, Hashem has miraculously provided a way. Every time I have thought of breaking this vow, I am reminded of His faithfulness to me and the importance of being faithful to Him. Review your life and the “vows” or promises you have made to Hashem. Be sure you are keeping them. Repent and go back to them if you must. This is serious to Hashem. Amen.

Haftarah: Judges 11:1-33

11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor. He was the son of a prostitute. Gilead became the father of Jephthah. 2 Gilead’s wife bore him sons. When his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You will not inherit in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Outlaws joined up with Jephthah, and they went out with him.

4 After a while, the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5 When the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah out of the land of Tob. 6 They said to Jephthah, “Come and be our chief, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.”

7 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Didn’t you hate me, and drive me out of my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?”

8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Therefore we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us and fight with the children of Ammon. You will be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

9 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me home again to fight with the children of Ammon, and Hashem delivers them before me, will I be your head?”

10 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Hashem will be witness between us. Surely we will do what you say.”

11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them. Jephthah spoke all his words before Hashem in Mizpah.

12 Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, saying, “What do you have to do with me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?”

13 The king of the children of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel took away my land when he came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore restore that territory again peaceably.”

14 Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon; 15 and he said to him, “Jephthah says: Israel didn’t take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon; 16 but when they came up from Egypt, and Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea, and came to Kadesh, 17 then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please let me pass through your land;’ but the king of Edom didn’t listen. In the same way, he sent to the king of Moab, but he refused; so Israel stayed in Kadesh. 18 Then they went through the wilderness, and went around the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and they encamped on the other side of the Arnon; but they didn’t come within the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. 19 Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to my place.’ 20 But Sihon didn’t trust Israel to pass through his border; but Sihon gathered all his people together, and encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 21 Hashem, the Elohim of Israel, delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they struck them. So Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22 They possessed all the border of the Amorites, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and from the wilderness even to the Jordan. 23 So now Hashem, Adonai of Israel, has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and should you possess them? 24 Won’t you possess that which Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whoever Hashem our Elohim has dispossessed from before us, them will we possess. 25 Now are you anything better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26 Israel lived in Heshbon and its towns, and in Aroer and its towns, and in all the cities that are along the side of the Arnon for three hundred years! Why didn’t you recover them within that time? 27 Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you do me wrong to war against me. May Hashem the Judge be judge today between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.”

28 However, the king of the children of Ammon didn’t listen to the words of Jephthah which he sent him. 29 Then Hashem’s Spirit came on Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed over to the children of Ammon.

30 Jephthah vowed a vow to Hashem, and said, “If you will indeed deliver the children of Ammon into my hand, 31 then it shall be, that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, it shall be Hashem’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”

32 So Jephthah passed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them; and Hashem delivered them into his hand. 33 He struck them from Aroer until you come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and to Abelcheramim, with a very great slaughter. So the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

Apostolic Writing

My Thoughts:

I’m not sure why this verse was chosen with this week’s portion except you have two prominent Jews taking care of the body of Yeshua after His crucifixion. Remember this is the week of unleavened bread and Pesach (Passover). If you were to touch a dead body you would not be clean and would have to wait to celebrate this Feast in the next month (as described by Torah). The rules of clean and unclean had remained the same of course for this generation. Joseph and Nicodemus believed taking care of the body of the Mashiach was very important, and important enough to delay their honoring the Feast. Hashem knew this ahead of time and provided a way for these two men to remain faithful to Torah. So, they were not only honoring Torah, but honoring the Mashiach. A beautiful message indeed.


Doing what is right. Look over your life and see if you are choosing what is doing right in difficult situations. Remember Hashem always provides a way to do right in Torah. That is why it is so important to study Torah -- even on a daily basis as we do. My challenge is this. If you come across a situation where it is important to do the right thing, but you may be breaking a Torah commandment -- check in with Hashem. Ask Him what you should do. Pray and ask for help from Him. He will show you. He will bring verses to mind that will help you to make your decision. Yeshua always taught the “heart” of Torah. That was a special gift He provided to us. Study the four Gospels and learn greater insight into the teachings of Torah. Yeshua did not add or subtract from Torah. He taught pure Torah and showed the way to become closer to Hashem. It was always His goal -- to bring people back to Torah and to Hashem!

Apostolic Writing: John 19:38-42

19:38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Yeshua, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Yeshuas’ body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus, who at first came to Yeshua by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred Roman pounds. 40 So they took Yeshuas’ body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been laid. 42 Then because of the Jews’ Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Yeshua there.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Chukat - Reading #6

Chukat חֻקַּת - Law

Numbers 19:1-22:1

Reading #6 - Numbers 21:10–20

My Thoughts:

Now we are singing. The Torah so accurately depicts mankind. One minute we are complaining (and being destroyed for it!) and the next minute we are singing. Think about your life. When all is well don’t you sing and praise Hashem? When things get tough -- do you start to complain? Let’s try to do more singing -- even during the hard times!


In verse 14 we read about the “Book of the Wars of Hashem”. Does a book like this really exist? Apparently yes, it did. But, it is lost. If you do some research on it you will see this book probably not only was a recording of the battles the Israelites endured during the wilderness journey, but also some songs regarding their victories! Here’s my challenge to you today. If you were to write your “book of battles” would you include some songs of victory and winning? Or would it be a list of complaints that you suffered from. Remember, all the glory goes to Hashem. And whether you win or lose -- it is ultimately His battle. Think about the “battles” you have suffered, and look at their outcome. If there was a really sad outcome, look at how maybe other people’s lives were touched through it all. Or how you might have grown through it. Then sing the victory song. Sing that you survived and sing that Hashem never left your side. Amen!

Reading #6 - Numbers 21:10–20

21:10 The children of Israel traveled, and encamped in Oboth. 11 They traveled from Oboth, and encamped at Lyeabarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they traveled, and encamped in the valley of Zered. 13 From there they traveled, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that comes out of the border of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in The Book of the Wars of Hashem, “Vaheb in Suphah, the valleys of the Arnon, 15 the slope of the valleys that incline toward the dwelling of Ar, leans on the border of Moab.”

16 From there they traveled to Beer; that is the well of which Hashem said to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.”

17 Then Israel sang this song:

“Spring up, well! Sing to it,

18     the well, which the princes dug,

    which the nobles of the people dug,

    with the scepter, and with their poles.”

From the wilderness they traveled to Mattanah; 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel; and from Nahaliel to Bamoth; 20 and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the field of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looks down on the desert.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Chukat - Reading #5

Chukat חֻקַּת - Law

Numbers 19:1-22:1

Reading #5 - Numbers 20:22–21:9

My Thoughts:

Complaining again. The people were getting tired of the food and were thirsty again. Every time they had to suffer they would complain and want to go back to Egypt. We may read this and be very judgmental against them, but just wait a second. Isn’t that what we do? We complain that things are not going well instead of praising Hashem for all He has given us! The punishment for their complaints was severe. Hashem sent poisonous snakes. Moses prays and Hashem provides a way of escape. They simple need to look at the serpent on the poll and remember the greatness of Elohim! Next time you start to complain, either in your head or out loud, please remember the greatness of Hashem. Stop complaining, repent and praise Him for all He does! Amen!


This story on the pole and the bronze serpent has a lot of commentary from many people. Why would Hashem ask the people to look upon a bronze anything? There is a strict commandment not to have false idols. Maybe because Hashem is showing He is Elohim! Remember the snake story with the Pharaoh. Moses' staff turned into a snake and swallowed the other fake snakes the sorcerers had created. Maybe this snake story reminds the people of His greatness. That is what I believe. What other reason could there be? My challenge to you today is to remember Hashem’s greatness. In your life and in the world -- think about how He has shown His greatness. And thank Him. 

Reading #5 - Numbers 20:22–21:9

20:22 They traveled from Kadesh, and the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came to Mount Hor. 23 Hashem spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom, saying, 24 “Aaron shall be gathered to his people; for he shall not enter into the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor; 26 and strip Aaron of his garments, and put them on Eleazar his son. Aaron shall be gathered, and shall die there.”

27 Moses did as Hashem commanded. They went up onto Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them on Eleazar his son. Aaron died there on the top of the mountain, and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 When all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they wept for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.

21 The Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the South, heard that Israel came by the way of Atharim. He fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. 2 Israel vowed a vow to Hashem, and said, “If you will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3 Hashem listened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. The name of the place was called Hormah.

4 They traveled from Mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. The soul of the people was very discouraged because of the journey. 5 The people spoke against Elohim and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, there is no water, and our soul loathes this disgusting food!”

6 Hashem sent venomous snakes among the people, and they bit the people. Many people of Israel died. 7 The people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against Hashem and against you. Pray to Hashem, that He take away the serpents from us.” Moses prayed for the people.

8 Hashem said to Moses, “Make a venomous snake, and set it on a pole. It shall happen that everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 Moses made a serpent of bronze, and set it on the pole. If a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked at the serpent of bronze, he lived.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Chukat - Reading #4

Chukat חֻקַּת - Law
Numbers 19:1-22:1

Reading #4 - Numbers 20:14–21

My Thoughts:

Edom is the descendant of Esau. And as we know Esau was not happy about Jacob taking his inheritance and birthright. The two groups were at odds ever since. And today we read how the Edomites will not allow Israel to pass through. Some sages do believe that they sold the Israelites some food. Regardless, it is so sad that nations that should really be “brothers” do not get along. It is a lesson to be learned for us. Do we get along with our “brothers and sisters”? It would be good to reconcile or there might be generations after you that carry the “grudge”. This could cause a lot of hurt and pain. Reconcile today!


I guess the message today is that if you ask someone something and they refuse, turn away and leave. Hashem will provide a different path for you. Of course, as mentioned above, it is best to reconcile and make things right from the beginning. But, if this doesn’t happen and you approach your “brother/sister” and they do not wish to help you -- go somewhere else for help. Remember to first go to Hashem. Think of the peace that could reside in our earth if people only got along. Amen.

Reading #4 - Numbers 20:14–21

20:14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, saying:

“Your brother Israel says: You know all the travail that has happened to us; 15 how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time. The Egyptians mistreated us and our fathers. 16 When we cried to Hashem, He heard our voice, sent an angel, and brought us out of Egypt. Behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the edge of your border.

17 “Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or through vineyard, neither will we drink from the water of the wells. We will go along the king’s highway. We will not turn away to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed your border.”

18 Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through me, lest I come out with the sword against you.”

19 The children of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway; and if we drink your water, I and my livestock, then I will give its price. Only let me, without doing anything else, pass through on my feet.”

20 He said, “You shall not pass through.” Edom came out against him with many people, and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border, so Israel turned away from him.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Chukat - Reading #3

Chukat חֻקַּת - Law

Numbers 19:1-22:1

Reading #3 - Numbers 20:7–13

My Thoughts:

It’s really clear in verse 8 that Hashem is telling Moses to “speak to the rock”. But, maybe that was a little scary to him. Had he ever spoke to something before and a miracle occurred? I don’t know how many times this happened, but apparently hitting the rock with his faithful rod seemed a bit safer. The punishment Moses gets for not doing what Hashem said, is almost unbearable. Now, he can not enter the Holy Land. How devastated he must have felt. Hashem tells us what to do through His Torah. Maybe it is time we listened and obeyed. 


Hashem took away Moses' privilege to enter Israel. Because he disobeyed Him. Can you think of a time in your life when Hashem appeared to have taken something away because of disobedience? I can and I can bear witness it was awful. In fact I believe it has happened to me a few times. You would think it would only have to happen once and that would be enough. Sadly, sometimes I forget how powerful Hashem can be in my life -- with His blessings and my consequences of sin. We need to learn from our mistakes and not do them again. We need to obey Hashem and His Torah, at any cost. Amen.

Reading #3 - Numbers 20:7–13

20:7 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, you, and Aaron your brother, and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it pour out its water. You shall bring water to them out of the rock; so you shall give the congregation and their livestock drink.”

9 Moses took the rod from before Hashem, as He commanded him. 10 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Shall we bring water out of this rock for you?” 11 Moses lifted up his hand, and struck the rock with his rod twice, and water came out abundantly. The congregation and their livestock drank.

12 Hashem said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you didn’t believe in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

13 These are the waters of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with Hashem, and He was sanctified in them.