Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Vayakhel - Reading #3

Vayakhel  וַיַּקְהֵל - And He Assembled

Torah Reading: Exodus 35:1-38:20


Reading #3 – Exodus 35:30–36:7


My Thoughts:


In verse 36:6 we read, “So the people were restrained from bringing”. Can you even imagine? Think about the church, synagogue or small group you attend and the leader telling you not to donate anymore to the ministry that you have more than enough. Wouldn’t that be so amazing? I actually witnessed this a few weeks ago. In a local community zoom meeting I was attending, the director of a local non-profit spoke to us. She was asked how we could help her ministry. She said, “Really right now we have enough. We have been over blessed with money and goods to help our clients.” I was astonished. I had never heard someone from a non-profit agency say that they had all they needed. Truly this ministry was super blessed by Hashem!


Challenge:


My challenge to you is to “check out” the group/ministry that you usually give to. Maybe you can ask for a fiscal report and see how they are doing. If it looks like their income has far exceeded their expenses, then maybe it is time to pray about giving elsewhere for a while. We want to be good stewards of all that Hashem has given us. We need to make sure we are giving to the organization/group that Hashem has called us to. Amen!


Exodus 35:30–36:7


30 Moses said to the children of Israel, “Behold, Hashem has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31 He has filled him with the Spirit of Elohim, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of workmanship; 32 and to make skillful works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, 33 in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all kinds of skillful workmanship. 34 He has put in his heart that he may teach, both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with wisdom of heart to work all kinds of workmanship, of the engraver, of the skillful workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of those who do any workmanship, and of those who make skillful works.


36 “Bezalel and Oholiab shall work with every wise-hearted man, in whom Hashem has put wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that Hashem has commanded.”


2 Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab, and every wise-hearted man, in whose heart Hashem had put wisdom, even everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to the work to do it. 3 They received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, with which to make it. They kept bringing free will offerings to him every morning. 4 All the wise men, who performed all the work of the sanctuary, each came from his work which he did. 5 They spoke to Moses, saying, “The people have brought much more than enough for the service of the work which Hashem commanded to make.”


6 Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman make anything else for the offering for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing. 7 For the stuff they had was sufficient to do all the work, and too much.


Monday, March 4, 2024

Vayakhel - Reading #2

Vayakhel  וַיַּקְהֵל - And He Assembled

Torah Reading: Exodus 35:1-38:20


Reading #2 - Exodus 35:21–29


My Thoughts:


This particular Torah reading is full of unity and community. In verse 21 we read, “...everyone whose heart stirred him up, and everyone whom his spirit made willing…”. Those people who really cared, who were really “stirred” by Hashem to give and to work – came forward. There wasn’t any discussion about whether it was right to give what you had, it was just done. People came forward joyfully and worked and gave together for a purpose. You can imagine what that would look like today? If there was a special project and people came together joyfully and with the right heart to work? There are projects that do this. Look at Habitat for Humanity where people get together and build and restore homes for the disadvantaged. Look at food banks, libraries, clothing banks – there are lots of projects to get involved in. Pray about it and choose one. Be like the people in today’s reading – be willing!


Challenge:


In verse 25 we read about the women, “All the women who were wise-hearted spun with their hands, and brought that which they had spun”. Not just any woman helped out, only those who were “wise-hearted”. We talked about this yesterday – what it means to be “wise-hearted”. But, let’s take it a step further. When Hashem asks us to give or make something for someone, be sure to complete the task. BRING IT to a person/group. Do not procrastinate. Oftentimes we will get excited about a project, but if it takes longer than expected we give up. Be like the women in today’s portion - finish it and bring it forward. Don’t delay, it’s too important!


Reading #2 - Exodus 35:21–29


21 They came, everyone whose heart stirred him up, and everyone whom his spirit made willing, and brought Hashem’s offering for the work of the Tent of Meeting, and for all of its service, and for the holy garments. 22 They came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted, and brought brooches, earrings, signet rings, and armlets, all jewels of gold; even every man who offered an offering of gold to Hashem. 23 Everyone with whom was found blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats’ hair, rams’ skins dyed red, and sea cow hides, brought them. 24 Everyone who offered an offering of silver and bronze brought Hashem’s offering; and everyone with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it. 25 All the women who were wise-hearted spun with their hands, and brought that which they had spun: the blue, the purple, the scarlet, and the fine linen. 26 All the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun the goats’ hair. 27 The rulers brought the onyx stones and the stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate; 28 with the spice and the oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. 29 The children of Israel brought a free will offering to Hashem; every man and woman whose heart made them willing to bring for all the work, which Hashem had commanded to be made by Moses.


Sunday, March 3, 2024

Vayakhel - Reading #1

Vayakhel  וַיַּקְהֵל - And He Assembled
Torah Reading: Exodus 35:1-38:20
Reading #1 - Exodus 35:1–20

My Thoughts:


In verse 5 we read, “...however is of a willing heart, let him bring it as Hashem’s offering.” This was not a mandatory offering, it was a “free-will” offering. Hashem only wanted gifts from people who were willing. Had He made it mandatory, the Tabernacle may not have been such a special place. But, it was special. It was divine. And the people knew this. They were excited to give to Hashem. Wouldn’t you have been? As we should be today. However, Hashem leads you to give and where to give. Let’s get excited about it. Instead of thinking about how we “can’t afford” to give – let’s excitedly and willingly give to His work and purposes. It’s a promise you will be blessed immensely. 


Challenge:


In verse 10, Hashem commands the “wise-hearted” men to come and make the items of the Tabernacle. What do you think it means to be “wise-hearted”? I would believe that if we are to be “wise” we would know the heart of Hashem very well. In knowing Him we find wisdom. In His Word we find wisdom. Would you like to become “wise-hearted”? Then you have to soak in the wisdom of Adonai – through prayer, reading of His word and following His commands. Right?


Reading #1 - Exodus 35:1-20


Moses assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel, and said to them, “These are the words which Hashem has commanded, that you should do them. 2 ‘Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of solemn rest to Hashem: whoever does any work in it shall be put to death. 3 You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the Sabbath day.’”


4 Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which Hashem commanded, saying, 5 ‘Take from among you an offering to Hashem. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as Hashem’s offering: gold, silver, bronze, 6 blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats’ hair, 7 rams’ skins dyed red, sea cow hides, acacia wood, 8 oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense, 9 onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate.


10 “‘Let every wise-hearted man among you come, and make all that Hashem has commanded: 11 the tabernacle, its outer covering, its roof, its clasps, its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12 the ark, and its poles, the mercy seat, the veil of the screen; 13 the table with its poles and all its vessels, and the show bread; 14 the lamp stand also for the light, with its vessels, its lamps, and the oil for the light; 15 and the altar of incense with its poles, the anointing oil, the sweet incense, the screen for the door, at the door of the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering, with its grating of bronze, its poles, and all its vessels, the basin and its base; 17 the hangings of the court, its pillars, their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18 the pins of the tabernacle, the pins of the court, and their cords; 19 the finely worked garments for ministering in the holy place—the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons—to minister in the priest’s office.’”


20 All the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.


Vayakhel - Week #10

Vayakhel  וַיַּקְהֵל - And He Assembled

Torah Reading: Exodus 35:1-38:20

Haftarah: 2 Kings 11:17-12:17

Apostolic Reading: Matthew 12:1-13


First reading – Exodus 35:1–20

Second reading – Exodus 35:21–29

Third reading – Exodus 35:30–36:7

Fourth reading – Exodus 36:8–19

Fifth reading – Exodus 36:20–37:16

Sixth reading – Exodus 37:17–29

Seventh reading – Exodus 38:1–20


Saturday, March 2, 2024

Ki Tisa - Reading #7

Ki Tisa  כִּי תִשָּׂא - When You Elevate

Exodus 30:11-34:35

Haftarah: Ezekiel 36:16-38

Apostolic Writings: Mark 9:1-10


Reading #7 - Exodus 34:27–35


My Thoughts:


Another huge miracle in today’s reading. Moses does not eat or drink for forty days when he meets Hashem on the mountain a second time. We know this is not physically possible. But, with G-d all things are possible. He enters the presence of Hashem for forty days. It must have seemed much shorter for him. The glory of Hashem sustained him physically, emotionally and spiritually. How utterly amazing and wonderful! And when he descends the mountain and meets his people -- his face is shining -- glowing, from being in the presence of Hashem. This is all so hard to imagine. But, think if we just would spend some “time” with Hashem, in prayer and worship. A part of our “self” would glow also. I think that is why when you meet certain people you literally “see” Hashem’s peace all over them. Let’s strive for that today!


Challenge:


Hashem has given Moses a second chance at receiving the Ten Commandments -- the Law. The first set was written by the finger of Elohim, now this new set is written by Moses. The whole experience is glorious, yet not the same. It makes me think that when Hashem gives us a second chance it may not have been what He had originally intended for us. He adjusts it a little. But, it is still good.


If you need a second chance at something in life (I know I do, I am thinking of it right now). Do not expect it to be what G-d had intended originally, but He will still make it good. I do believe there is a contingency that we are following Him, obeying Him, repenting and worshiping. Go ahead today and ask Hashem for a second chance (or third or fourth). Praise Him and repent that you did not accept His original gift. 


Reading #7 - Exodus 34:27–35


27 Hashem said to Moses, “Write these words; for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”


28 He was there with Hashem forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread, nor drank water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.


29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mountain, Moses didn’t know that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with Him. 30 When Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come near him. 31 Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them all the commandments that Hashem had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses was done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 34 But when Moses went in before Hashem to speak with Him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and he came out, and spoke to the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35 The children of Israel saw Moses’ face, that the skin of Moses’ face shone; so Moses put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.


Haftarah


My Thoughts:


Hashem makes it pretty clear what will happen when He returns to rule and reign in Jerusalem, in the Temple, forever. He states in verse 27, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes. You will keep My ordinances and do them.” His Spirit will inhabit us when we are obedient to His Law. Clear and simple. His Law is NEVER taken away, in fact when He returns it is fully followed. Why? Because it is LIFE. Let us remember that. We have so diminished His Torah over time. Even those of us as strangers and not Jews who hope to attach to Israel -- we do not even fully understand His Law. But, we can try and do our best. Each day we must study His Torah. That is what this blog is all about.


Challenge:


In verse 20 Hashem explains that they have “profaned” His holy Name. I believe today we profane His holy Name when we do not follow Torah. When we carelessly study Torah, and go back into the world to live a “pagan” life. Yes, we live in a world where a majority of people do not honor or respect Hashem. But, that is why we are supposed to reflect His “light”.  Let’s try today to change our lives and respect His holy Name and His holy Words. Let us stop being careless about following His commands, and by doing so we will begin to respect His Name. I’m with you all on this today!


Haftarah: Ezekiel 36:16-38


36:16 Moreover Hashem’s word came to me, saying, 17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and by their deeds. Their way before Me was as the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. 18 Therefore I poured out my wrath on them for the blood which they had poured out on the land, and because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. I judged them according to their way and according to their deeds. 20 When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name; in that men said of them, ‘These are Hashem’s people, and have left his land.’ 21 But I had respect for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went.


22 “Therefore tell the house of Israel, ‘Hashem says: “I don’t do this for your sake, house of Israel, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am Hashem,” says Hashem, “when I am proven holy in you before their eyes.


24 “‘“For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness, and from all your idols. 26 I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes. You will keep My ordinances and do them. 28 You will dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. You will be my people, and I will be your Elohim. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain, and will multiply it, and lay no famine on you. 30 I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field, that you may receive no more the reproach of famine among the nations.


31 “‘“Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 I don’t do this for your sake,” says Hashem. “Let it be known to you: be ashamed and confounded for your ways, house of Israel.”


33 “‘Hashem says: “In the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited and the waste places will be built. 34 The land that was desolate will be tilled instead of being a desolation in the sight of all who passed by. 35 They will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden. The waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ 36 Then the nations that are left around you will know that I, Hashem, have built the ruined places, and planted that which was desolate. I, Hashem, have spoken it, and I will do it.”


37 “‘Hashem says: “For this, moreover, I will be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them: I will increase them with men like a flock. 38 As the flock for sacrifice, as the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed feasts, so the waste cities will be filled with flocks of men. Then they will know that I am Hashem.’”


Apostolic Writings


My Thoughts:


In verse 3 Yeshua goes to the mountain and His clothes begin to “glow” from the presence of Hashem -- like snow. Just like Moses when he goes to the mountain. Our lives should “glow” too, from being in the presence of Hashem on a daily basis. Yeshua is an example of how we are to live and follow Torah. He is Torah (John 1).


Challenge:


In verse 7, Hashem speaks from a cloud and says “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.” I believe He is saying we are to listen to what He is teaching and He is fully teaching Torah. He is the “Heart of Hashem”. So, if Hashem were here on the earth -- this is what His “heart” would look like. It’s like we get a chance, through Yeshua, to learn more about Hashem and His heart for us. It is simply beautiful. 


Take time to reread the Gospels and look at them from the perspective that you are “reading” G-d’s heart. Everything Yeshua teaches in the Gospels is Torah, the “heart” of Torah. We learn more about G-d from studying Yeshua. Let’s do that today. 


Apostolic Writings: Mark 9:1-10


9 He said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death until they see God’s Kingdom come with power.”


2 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and brought them up onto a high mountain privately by themselves, and he was changed into another form in front of them. 3 His clothing became glistening, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 4 Elijah and Moses appeared to them, and they were talking with Jesus.


5 Peter answered Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let’s make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 For he didn’t know what to say, for they were very afraid.


7 A cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him.”


8 Suddenly looking around, they saw no one with them any more, except Yeshua only.


9 As they were coming down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one what things they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept this saying to themselves, questioning what the “rising from the dead” meant.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Ki Tisa - Reading #6

Ki Tisa  כִּי תִשָּׂא - When You Elevate

Exodus 30:11-34:35


Reading #6 - Exodus 34:10–26


My Thoughts:


It is very clear from today’s reading that Hashem does not want His people hanging out with others that are clearly not believers. He knows they will influence them in very bad ways. So, therefore, He promises to wipe them out before their eyes. And tells them in verse 14 “Hashem, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous G-d”.


Do you ever picture Hashem being that way -- jealous? It’s kind of hard for me to picture that, but Scripture says He is. But, think about people you love, like a partner. Aren’t you a little jealous when they are with someone else? It must be in our nature. Anyways, the solution of course is to place our hearts and minds -- centered on Hashem, at all times. To not allow ourselves to be “influenced” in negative ways by others who are in the “world”. Stay close to His Word, pray and repent daily. Stay away from those who do not worship your Elohim, or you just may become influenced by them.


Challenge:


In 34:10 Hashem promises to do “marvels”. It may be His marvels were destroying the enemy, which of course would be huge. But, I think He is also referring to the everyday miracles He will be performing in their midst every day. And I believe those miracles have never stopped. I look at my life, and He is always working miracles and wonders in my life. I challenge you to take some time today and think about what miracles (marvels) Hashem has done in your life lately. Then acknowledge Him with praise and prayer. We are truly grateful for all He does for us and those we love!


Reading #6 - Exodus 34:10–26


34:10 He said, “Behold, I make a covenant: before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been worked in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of Hashem; for it is an awesome thing that I do with you. 11 Observe that which I command you today. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12 Be careful, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be for a snare among you; 13 but you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and you shall cut down their Asherah poles; 14 for you shall worship no other god; for Hashem, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous G-d.


15 “Don’t make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, lest they play the prostitute after their gods, and sacrifice to their gods, and one call you and you eat of his sacrifice; 16 and you take of their daughters to your sons, and their daughters play the prostitute after their gods, and make your sons play the prostitute after their gods.


17 “You shall make no cast idols for yourselves.


18 “You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month Abib you came out of Egypt.


19 “All that opens the womb is mine; and all your livestock that is male, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20 You shall redeem the firstborn of a donkey with a lamb. If you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. No one shall appear before me empty.


21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest: in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.


22 “You shall observe the feast of weeks with the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of harvest at the year’s end. 23 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before Hashem, the Elohim of Israel. 24 For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither shall any man desire your land when you go up to appear before Hashem, your Elohim, three times in the year.


25 “You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread. The sacrifice of the feast of the Passover shall not be left to the morning.


26 “You shall bring the first of the first fruits of your ground to the house of Hashem your Elohim.


“You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ki Tisa - Reading #5

Ki Tisa  כִּי תִשָּׂא - When You Elevate
Exodus 30:11-34:35

Reading #5 - Exodus 34:1–9


My Thoughts:


We serve an Elohim of “second chances”. Moses, in anger, broke the first set of holy tablets. But, Hashem in His kindness and mercy gives him the chance to make a second set of tablets. Hashem invites Moses back up the mountain and He descends in a cloud. Moses bows and worships Him. Isn’t it so kind that He is fair with Moses and His people. He is giving them the Ten Commandments the “base” of all Laws. Think if He decided not to return the Commandments. Who knows what would have happened. Would there have been chaos? Would they have arrived in the Promised Land? It certainly would have been different. We know the Torah gives life. Hashem was giving “life” to Moses with the second set. Amen.


Challenge:


Who are the guilty in verse 7? Hashem has already said He will forgive iniquity. I think the “guilty” are those who do NOT repent, nor do they want to. They just remain in sin and guilt. They choose themselves over Hashem. And even more sad, is their sin is visited on to generations to come. My challenge today is to look over your life. Is there a sin in your life that you will not repent of, or let go? Be honest. If there is -- ask for repentance and turn your life around (teshuvah). We know sin separates us from Hashem. Repentance brings us closer!


Reading #5 - Exodus 34:1–9


34 Hashem said to Moses, “Chisel two stone tablets like the first. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. 3 No one shall come up with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain. Do not let the flocks or herds graze in front of that mountain.”


4 He chiseled two tablets of stone like the first; then Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up to Mount Sinai, as Hashem had commanded him, and took in his hand two stone tablets. 5 Hashem descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed Hashem’s name. 6 Hashem passed by before him, and proclaimed, “Hashem! Hashem, a merciful and gracious Elohim, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth, 7 keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, on the third and on the fourth generation.”


8 Moses hurried and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. 9 He said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, Hashem, please let Hashem go among us, even though this is a stiff-necked people; pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Ki Tisa - Reading #4

Ki Tisa  כִּי תִשָּׂא - When You Elevate
Exodus 30:11-34:35

Reading #4 - Exodus 33:17–23


My Thoughts:


Hashem is so thoughtful. He knows Moses can not see Him face to face, so He hides in him in the cleft of a rock. Moses desire is to see His glory. And Hashem agrees to this. Can you even imagine if you were Moses, hiding in a cleft, and there goes the glory of Hashem -- right past him! Would you cry, bow down, pass out, praise Him, sing and just be so happy? Just to see His glory would be enough to keep you alive forever!


Challenge:


In verse 19 we hear Hashem says He has mercy and is gracious to whom He wants. I see His mercy and grace in my life every day! Do you? Today’s challenge is for you to look specifically for His mercy and grace throughout your day. Maybe He will give you mercy with a coworker. Or grace in a special situation where you really need it. Just be aware today. And when He blesses you with mercy and/or grace be sure to praise and worship Him! Today is going to be a good day!


Reading #4 - Exodus 33:17–23


33:17 Hashem said to Moses, “I will do this thing also that you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”


18 Moses said, “Please show me Your glory.”


19 He said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim Hashem’s name before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” 20 He said, “You cannot see My face, for man may not see Me and live.” 21 Hashem also said, “Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 It will happen, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand until I have passed by; 23 then I will take away My hand, and you will see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Ki Tisa - Reading #3

Ki Tisa  כִּי תִשָּׂא - When You Elevate
Exodus 30:11-34:35

Reading #3 - Exodus 33:12–16


My Thoughts:


Moses is leading thousands of His people into the Holy Land. What is he concerned about? He is interested that Hashem is going to go with him. In fact he says “Don’t carry us up from here  -- if Your presence doesn’t go with me” (verse 15). That is really his only concern, that Hashem leads the way. It is the biggest task in the world, and he knows that he can’t do it without Him. Isn’t that how our lives should be? That we don’t go forward with any big decisions (and some small) without Hashem going before us? Think about it. If you are making some really important changes in your life, be sure you have invited Hashem to be with you and help you -- all the way!


Challenge:


In verse 13 of today’s reading Moses says, “Please show me Your way, now, that I may know You.” It is important to know G-d’s way. Sometimes it is very different from the way we think we should go. Today I challenge you to search out Hashem’s way in your life. Make sure you are on His path. Usually you can tell because you don’t have peace in your heart. When Hashem is in your life -- you have total shalom peace. Check it out today.


Reading #3 - Exodus 33:12–16

33:12 Moses said to Hashem, “Behold, You tell me, ‘Bring up this people;’ and You haven’t let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in Your sight, please show me Your way, now, that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight; and consider that this nation is Your people.”

14 He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Moses said to Him, “If Your presence doesn’t go with me, don’t carry us up from here. 16 For how would people know that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Isn’t it that You go with us, so that we are separated, I and Your people, from all the people who are on the surface of the earth?”


Monday, February 26, 2024

Ki Tisa - Reading #2

Ki Tisa  כִּי תִשָּׂא - When You Elevate
Exodus 30:11-34:35

Reading #2 - Exodus 31:18–33:11


My Thoughts:


We read about the “Tent of Meeting” today in Exodus 33. What an incredible place that would have been. The people would watch Moses go into the Tent and then the Pillar of the Cloud descend. This is where Moses would actually meet with Hashem! We don’t exactly know the details of this, but we do know He received instructions from Hashem here. And that Joshua, the faithful servant, did not want to leave the door. 


The Tent of Meeting was there before the Tabernacle was built. It was Hashem’s meeting place with Moses. Do you have a special place where you meet with Hashem? I have a living room, with a piano and some pictures of the future Temple and Jerusalem. Every day I meet with Hashem there and ask Him three things. I ask Him to return the Land to His people; to return His people’s (and those all over the world) hearts to Him; and lastly I ask Him to help us build the Temple so He can return to it and rule and reign forever. My “Meeting Place” with Hashem is simple. But, it feels like He is always there. Our special place. Find yours with Him!


Challenge:


In Chapter 32 we read about the famous “golden calf” story. I always seem to feel like the Israelites were just impatient fools. They couldn’t wait for Moses to come down from the hill. Even after all the miracles they had just witnessed their faith was wavering. But, today I see how wrong I am. The Israelites were not only on a journey to the promised Land, but they were also on a huge SPIRITUAL journey. They had just come out of paganism and slavery. They were just beginning to know Hashem. They got scared and got confused. There is no excuse for building a golden calf and partying around it like it was a “god” -- but it does help to understand why it may have happened.


After all, don’t we build “golden calves” in our lives? Don’t we get impatient for Hashem to answer a prayer and instead figure our own way to make it happen? Don’t we substitute something else for Hashem’s power and presence? I do it a lot, and I am humbly sorry that I do. I want to serve the only one true G-d -- Hashem. I don’t want to substitute anything else for Him. And I pray He helps me to not do so. I pray the same for those of you who are impatient about waiting on Elohim. I pray you have courage and strength to wait on Him, and not make any “human” decisions. Wait for the best! I am trying to do the same. Amen!


Reading #2 - Exodus 31:18–33:11


31:18 When he finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, he gave Moses the two tablets of the covenant, stone tablets, written with Elohim’s finger.


32 When the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what has become of him.”


2 Aaron said to them, “Take off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them to me.”


3 All the people took off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 He received what they handed him, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it a molded calf. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”


5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation, and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to Hashem.”


6 They rose up early on the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.


7 Hashem spoke to Moses, “Go, get down; for your people, who you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves! 8 They have turned away quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.’”


9 Hashem said to Moses, “I have seen these people, and behold, they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation.”


11 Moses begged Hashem his Elohim, and said, “Hashem, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, that you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians talk, saying, ‘He brought them out for evil, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the surface of the earth?’ Turn from your fierce wrath, and turn away from this evil against your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring[a] as the stars of the sky, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’”


14 So Hashem turned away from the evil which He said He would do to His people.


15 Moses turned, and went down from the mountain, with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand; tablets that were written on both their sides. They were written on one side and on the other. 16 The tablets were the work of Elohim, and the writing was the writing of Elohim, engraved on the tablets.


17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is the noise of war in the camp.”


18 He said, “It isn’t the voice of those who shout for victory. It is not the voice of those who cry for being overcome; but the noise of those who sing that I hear.” 19 As soon as he came near to the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing. Then Moses’ anger grew hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mountain. 20 He took the calf which they had made, and burned it with fire, ground it to powder, and scattered it on the water, and made the children of Israel drink it.


21 Moses said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you have brought a great sin on them?”


22 Aaron said, “Don’t let the anger of my lord grow hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. 23 For they said to me, ‘Make us gods, which shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what has become of him.’ 24 I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them take it off.’ So they gave it to me; and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”


25 When Moses saw that the people were out of control, (for Aaron had let them lose control, causing derision among their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on Hashem's side, come to me!”


All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27 He said to them, “Hashem, the Elohim of Israel, says, ‘Every man put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and every man kill his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’” 28 The sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. About three thousand men fell of the people that day. 29 Moses said, “Consecrate yourselves today to Hashem, for every man was against his son and against his brother, that He may give you a blessing today.”


30 On the next day, Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. Now I will go up to Hashem. Perhaps I shall make atonement for your sin.”


31 Moses returned to Hashem, and said, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made themselves gods of gold. 32 Yet now, if you will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out of your book which you have written.”


33 Hashem said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.” 35 Hashem struck the people, because of what they did with the calf, which Aaron made.


33 Hashem spoke to Moses, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people that you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ 2 I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 3 Go to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, for you are a stiff-necked people, lest I consume you on the way.”


4 When the people heard this evil news, they mourned; and no one put on his jewelry.


5 Hashem had said to Moses, “Tell the children of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go up among you for one moment, I would consume you. Therefore now take off your jewelry from you, that I may know what to do to you.’”


6 The children of Israel stripped themselves of their jewelry from Mount Horeb onward.


7 Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp, and he called it “The Tent of Meeting.” Everyone who sought Hashem went out to the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp. 8 When Moses went out to the Tent, all the people rose up, and stood, everyone at their tent door, and watched Moses, until he had gone into the Tent. 9 When Moses entered into the Tent, the pillar of cloud descended, stood at the door of the Tent, and Hashem spoke with Moses. 10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud stand at the door of the Tent, and all the people rose up and worshiped, everyone at their tent door. 11 Hashem spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. He turned again into the camp, but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, didn’t depart from the Tent.


Sunday, February 25, 2024

Ki Tisa - Reading #1

Ki Tisa  כִּי תִשָּׂא - When You Elevate

Exodus 30:11-34:35


Reading #1 - Exodus 30:11–31:17


My Thoughts:


Interesting in today’s reading that “atonement for souls” (verse 30:16) is a money offering. We always think of the shedding of blood for making an atonement. But, here we see there is a different type of offering -- half a shekel. Maybe it was important for Hashem to see their commitment because money is such a huge part of our lives. If we have to give away our money, then we are giving something important to us. Money is imperative to living - food, housing, clothing, etc. To give some of it away to Hashem, shows trust and dedication.


In this instance, the whole Tabernacle and priesthood are being established. So, it makes sense that money is needed to sustain the building and materials (although as we read many materials were donated). We also learn that money is used for the redemption of the firstborn. Money is just a part of our lives now as was back then. In Biblical times your livelihood also included livestock and land. Our sacrifice and privilege -- now and then -- is just to give. Just as Hashem directs us.


Challenge:


In verse 31:16 we read that the Shabbat is to be a perpetual covenant. Never to end. It is a sign between Hashem and His people. What about that do we not understand? Why have believers in Hashem chosen to say this is no longer in effect? Who are we or anyone able to change a covenant with Hashem, or change His Law? In fact, we are told in Torah to never add or subtract from the Law. Observing and guarding the Shabbat is a requirement. It is mentioned many, many times. And clearly we see in verse 31:17 that this adherence to the Shabbat Commandment, comes with the gift of refreshment.  Don’t you feel refreshed after spending time with Hashem in prayer and worship?


My challenge today to you is this. Observe and honor the Shabbat starting this week. Take from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday to rest, read Scripture, study Torah, be with family and pray. It will totally refresh you for the week to come.


Reading #1 - Exodus 30:11–31:17


30:11 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “When you take a census of the children of Israel, according to those who are counted among them, then each man shall give a ransom for his soul to Hashem when you count them, that there be no plague among them when you count them. 13 They shall give this, everyone who passes over to those who are counted, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs); half a shekel for an offering to Hashem. 14 Everyone who passes over to those who are counted, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the offering to Hashem. 15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when they give the offering of Hashem, to make atonement for your souls. 16 You shall take the atonement money from the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the Tent of Meeting; that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before Hashem, to make atonement for your souls.”


17 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 18 “You shall also make a basin of bronze, and its base of bronze, in which to wash. You shall put it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it. 19 Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in it. 20 When they go into the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water, that they not die; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to Hashem. 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they not die. This shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his descendants throughout their generations.”


22 Moreover Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Also take fine spices: of liquid myrrh, five hundred shekels; and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, even two hundred and fifty; and of fragrant cane, two hundred and fifty; 24 and of cassia five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary; and a hin of olive oil. 25 You shall make it into a holy anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer: it shall be a holy anointing oil. 26 You shall use it to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the covenant, 27 the table and all its articles, the lamp stand and its accessories, the altar of incense, 28 the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its base. 29 You shall sanctify them, that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them shall be holy. 30 You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and sanctify them, that they may minister to me in the priest’s office. 31 You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to me throughout your generations. 32 It shall not be poured on man’s flesh, and do not make any like it, according to its composition. It is holy. It shall be holy to you. 33 Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on a stranger, he shall be cut off from his people.’”


34 Hashem said to Moses, “Take to yourself sweet spices, gum resin, onycha, and galbanum: sweet spices with pure frankincense. There shall be an equal weight of each. 35 You shall make incense of it, a perfume after the art of the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy. 36 You shall beat some of it very small, and put some of it before the covenant in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be to you most holy. 37 You shall not make this incense, according to its composition, for yourselves: it shall be to you holy for Hashem. 38 Whoever shall make any like that, to smell of it, he shall be cut off from his people.”


31 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Behold, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the Spirit of Elohim, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all kinds of workmanship, 4 to devise skillful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in bronze, 5 and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all kinds of workmanship. 6 Behold, I myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the heart of all who are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7 the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat that is on it, all the furniture of the Tent, 8 the table and its vessels, the pure lamp stand with all its vessels, the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering with all its vessels, the basin and its base, 10 the finely worked garments—the holy garments for Aaron the priest, the garments of his sons to minister in the priest’s office— 11 the anointing oil, and the incense of sweet spices for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded you they shall do.”


12 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, ‘Most certainly you shall keep my Sabbaths; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am Hashem who sanctifies you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to Hashem. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall surely be put to death. 16 Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days Hashem made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.’”