Saturday, February 3, 2024

Yitro - Reading #7

Yitro יִתְרוֹ - Jethro

Exodus: 18:1-20:22

Haftarah: Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6

Apostolic Scripture: Matthew 19:16-26

Reading #7 - Exodus 20:15–23

My Thoughts:

It seems like very day and every week as I study a particular Torah portion, that it applies to my life and what is happening now! For instance, the Commandment not to covet your neighbor’s house. We are in the process of looking to purchase a house and sell ours. We are  moving to the same city, just need to downsize. So, we take walks and drives and look at houses. Even houses that are not for sale we look at and make comments. I had to be careful this week, because I was starting to “covet” some houses! Really! But, because I have been studying and trying to follow the Commandments and I repented quickly and told Hashem that whatever house He gives us we will be super satisfied! 

Sometimes following the Commandments is a daily task! Especially what we are thinking in our minds! I don’t know about you, but it seems like the more I study and get to know Hashem’s desires for us, the quicker I get convicted of sinning. And I am learning to repent quickly and trying to change. Taking one day at a time!


During my “coveting” experience this week, I also had a strong thought about those who are in need. Here I am, thinking about buying a new house, when many people around the world --don’t even have houses! We must remember to help those who are not as fortunate as we are. We must remember to pray for hunger, abuse, and poverty to stop. And we must remember to pray for the Mashiach to return -- so that the earth can return to its original plan. Just like the Garden.

Reading #7 - Exodus 20:15–23

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

18 All the people perceived the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled, and stayed at a distance. 19 They said to Moses, “Speak with us yourself, and we will listen; but don’t let Elohim speak with us, lest we die.”

20 Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid, for Elohim has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, that you won’t sin.” 21 The people stayed at a distance, and Moses came near to the thick darkness where Elohim was.

22 Hashem said to Moses, “This is what you shall tell the children of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 You shall most certainly not make gods of silver or gods of gold for yourselves to be alongside me.

Haftarah Reading:

My Thoughts:

Hashem of armies! We sometimes forget the ultimate power of our Elohim! Not only is He sovereign over all the world, but He LEADS the spiritual armies in the heavens. I do believe He “wars” on our behalf on a daily basis. He must be encouraged by our prayers and our needs. He wants to join us in our battles. But, only if we let Him. It’s time to let Hashem be in control of your needs, your struggles. It’s time to let go. Amen.


Can you imagine a whole world full of the glory of Hashem (verse 3)? Are you prepared for this? Am I prepared? That is why Hashem gave us His Law. It gets us ready. In a world full of sin and temptation, He has outlined for us a clear path to holiness. And He tells us it is not too difficult. 

Today is a good day (Shabbat) for self-reflection. Take a hard look at your life and praise Hashem for the things you are doing right and ask His help to correct the things you are doing wrong. Each day is a new day. Keep trying to overcome sin in your life. If you fall, get right back up! And hold unto Him, the author and finisher of your faith!

Haftarah Reading: Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6

6 In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw Hashem sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face. With two he covered his feet. With two he flew. 3 One called to another, and said,

“Holy, holy, holy, is Hashem of Armies!

    The whole earth is full of His glory!”

4 The foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then I said, “Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, Hashem of Armies!”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. 7 He touched my mouth with it, and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin forgiven.”

8 I heard Hashem’s voice, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Then I said, “Here I am. Send me!”

9 He said, “Go, and tell this people,

‘You hear indeed,

    but don’t understand.

You see indeed,

    but don’t perceive.’

10 Make the heart of this people fat.

    Make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes;

lest they see with their eyes,

    hear with their ears,

    understand with their heart,

    and turn again, and be healed.”

11 Then I said, “Hashem, how long?”

He answered,

“Until cities are waste without inhabitant,

    houses without man,

    the land becomes utterly waste,

12     and Hashem has removed men far away,

    and the forsaken places are many within the land.

13 If there is a tenth left in it,

    that also will in turn be consumed,

as a terebinth, and as an oak, whose stump remains when they are cut down;

    so the holy seed is its stock.”

7 In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2 David’s house was told, “Syria is allied with Ephraim.” His heart trembled, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest tremble with the wind.

3 Then Hashem said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller’s field. 4 Tell him, ‘Be careful, and keep calm. Don’t be afraid, neither let your heart be faint because of these two tails of smoking torches, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have plotted evil against you, saying, 6 “Let’s go up against Judah, and tear it apart, and let’s divide it among ourselves, and set up a king within it, even the son of Tabeel.”

9:5 For all the armor of the armed man in the noisy battle, and the garments rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire. 6 For a child is born to us. A son is given to us; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Elohim, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Apostolic Scripture Reading

My Thoughts:

In verse 17, Yeshua says “...if you want to enter into life, keep the Commandments.” Pretty simple right? He has paved the way of understanding for us to be in His eternal presence. But, it requires “action”. We are not just to go to synagogue or church and say our daily prayers. There is a daily, sometimes minute by minute requirement to follow His Commands. If you are studying Torah, you will be quickly reminded when you break a Commandment. And it will not be good. But, our gracious and kind Elohim will quickly forgive you and give you another chance. Take it.


In verse 21 we are challenged to give to the poor. Are you doing that? Look for opportunities around you -- there are absolutely times when Hashem will show you the needs of others. When the need is presented, take action and help. You will know your guidelines and you will know what to give or do by simply listening to the voice of Hashem. Don’t be afraid to let go of some of your resources, you will be blessed back in incredible ways!

Apostolic Scripture: Matthew 19:16-26

16 Behold, one came to Him and said, “Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”

17 He said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, Elohim. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to him, “Which ones?”

Yeshua said, “‘You shall not murder.’ ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ ‘You shall not steal.’ ‘You shall not offer false testimony.’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother.’  And, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

20 The young man said to him, “All these things I have observed from my youth. What do I still lack?”

21 Yeshua said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions.

23 Yeshua said to his disciples, “Most certainly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into Elohim’s Kingdom.”

25 When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Looking at them, Yeshua said, “With men this is impossible, but with Elohim all things are possible.”

Friday, February 2, 2024

Yitro - Reading #6

Yitro יִתְרוֹ - Jethro

Exodus: 18:1-20:22

Reading #6 - Exodus 19:20–20:14

My Thoughts:

The worship of idols is against everything Hashem stands for. When He gives the Commandments, He warns us that the sin of idolatry will fall on to our descendants. And if we do not worship false gods, He will bless us by being kind to us (verses 5 & 6)! Which do you choose for your life? To be treated wonderfully from Hashem with blessings, or to have your children and their children cursed because of your sin? Think about it and make a decision. Follow Hashem and His Commandments and have no other gods before you!


Today I challenge you to look at the “idols” in your life. You may be surprised what you do worship -- I know I am. Yes, we worship and love Hashem. But, we do other things too. What about TV? We sit before it, we eat before it, we absorb ourselves in it -- isn’t that like an idol? The same with our social media, computers and phones. I’ll bet you spend more time on those things then you do studying the Word of Elohim. I know I do.

It’s time for a change. Be sure to do your devotions and study every morning. Then try to minimize your time on electronics and media. Pray to Hashem throughout the day. Love others more than yourself. By doing all these things, I believe those “idols” in our lives will disappear slowly. We must try. He has commanded us to do so.

Reading #6 - Exodus 19:20–20:14

19:20 Hashem came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. Hashem called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

21 Hashem said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, lest they break through to Hashem to gaze, and many of them perish. 22 Let the priests also, who come near to Hashem, sanctify themselves, lest Hashem break out on them.”

23 Moses said to Hashem, “The people can’t come up to Mount Sinai, for you warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds around the mountain, and sanctify it.’”

24 Hashem said to him, “Go down! You shall bring Aaron up with you, but don’t let the priests and the people break through to come up to Hashem, lest He break out against them.”

25 So Moses went down to the people, and told them.

20 Elohim spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am Hashem your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.

4 “You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Hashem your Elohim, am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 “You shall not misuse the name of Hashem your Elohim, for Hashem will not hold him guiltless who misuses His name.

8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 You shall labor six days, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Hashem your Elohim. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; 11 for in six days Hashem made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Hashem blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Hashem your Elohim gives you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Yitro - Reading #5

Yitro יִתְרוֹ - Jethro

Exodus: 18:1-20:22

Reading #5 - Exodus 19:7–19

My Thoughts:

What an exciting experience! Thunderings, lightning, smoke, fire and a very loud trumpet. Hashem is descending on Mt. Sinai in front of His chosen nation to speak to them! I can hardly imagine what this would be like! It would be so wonderfully overwhelming and probably frightening -- in a good way. This particular scene and the giving of the Law would create love for Hashem and obedience for centuries to come. And if we believe the prophets, His glory will return again -- to the Temple in Jerusalem. And He will send His Mashiach to rule and reign forever. We should be praying every day for His return! And for the Temple in Jerusalem to be built. Do not take this lightly. Just like He appeared in the most extreme, incredible way to Moses and His people -- so will He return to the Temple Mount, with great appearance! Get ready! Study Scripture so you know what to expect. Be repenting daily and seeking His face. 


Some say it’s been about fifty days since the Hebrew people have left Egypt, to the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. That is when we celebrate the Feast of Shavuot. This year when you get ready to celebrate this Feast, and you are counting the “omer” for fifty days, be sure to think of the occurrence we read of today. Take time to imagine what it was like when Hashem appeared to give the Law. Make sure you are continuing to give Him reverence in your life. Make sure you are staying clean and obedient to His Word. Wear your tzit-tzit to remember you to follow His Law. Show Him your love by loving others more than yourself. Get ready. Daily.

Reading #5 - Exodus 19:7–19

19:7 Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Hashem commanded him. 8 All the people answered together, and said, “All that Hashem has spoken we will do.”

Moses reported the words of the people to Hashem. 9 Hashem said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” Moses told the words of the people to Hashem. 10 Hashem said to Moses, “Go to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, 11 and be ready for the third day; for on the third day Hashem will come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai. 12 You shall set bounds to the people all around, saying, ‘Be careful that you don’t go up onto the mountain, or touch its border. Whoever touches the mountain shall be surely put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether it is animal or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mountain.”

14 Moses went down from the mountain to the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. 15 He said to the people, “Be ready by the third day. Don’t have sexual relations with a woman.”

16 On the third day, when it was morning, there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, and the sound of an exceedingly loud trumpet; and all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 Moses led the people out of the camp to meet Elohim; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain. 18 All of Mount Sinai smoked, because Hashem descended on it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and Elohim answered him by a voice.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Yitro - Reading #4

Yitro יִתְרוֹ - Jethro

Exodus: 18:1-20:22

Reading #4 - Exodus 19:1–6

My Thoughts:

Imagine this. Hashem lifts you up on an eagle’s wing (verse 4) and carries you home. Of course, He did not literally do this to the Hebrew people -- but it was like He did. He “lifted” them out of slavery and delivered them to freedom. I can think of times in my life when Hashem “carried” me out of a bad situation. In fact, one time I was in a car with a friend. We had been drinking alcohol. My friend ran a red light with me in the passenger seat. There were cars approaching in both directions -- I closed my eyes. And somehow we got through the intersection. I remember thinking that angels “lifted” us up over the cars! Now, I know that Hashem literally “lifted” me up on eagle's wings! Has this ever happened to you where you know Hashem intervened into a situation in some amazing miraculous way? Praise Him that you made it through. I do...praise Him.


In verse 5 we read, “...for all the earth is Mine.” Have we forgotten this? Do we try to take control over things in our personal lives, and not consult Hashem? Do we think that we have the final say about what happens in our lives? We sure act like it. We get mad if things don’t go our way and yet we forget that really Hashem is ultimately in charge. I challenge you today to sit and think about the issues in your life. Take time to list them and turn each one back over to Hashem. And repent for trying to take charge of them. Go with His plan. It is the best way to go! It may not be your choice anyways.

Reading #4 - Exodus 19:1–6

19 "...In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 When they had departed from Rephidim, and had come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mountain. 3 Moses went up to Elohim, and Hashem called to him out of the mountain, saying, “This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Yitro - Reading #3

Yitro יִתְרוֹ - Jethro

Exodus: 18:1-20:22

Reading #3 - Exodus 18:24–27

My Thoughts:

Yesterday we talked about respecting our elders, and in-laws. But, there is more than respect. There is actually listening to what they say and doing it! In verse 24 we read, “So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said.” Sometimes it can be kind of scary to carry out the advice of an older person, especially if you don’t agree with it. But, Hashem gives wisdom to those who are more advanced in years. If you have asked for advice from an in-law or older friend, and they have given you some direction -- take it! See what happens. Moses did and it helped him tremendously!


So, really what this all comes down to is TRUST. Do you trust those in authority over you? You may think they don’t deserve trust and maybe they don’t. Or maybe they have done something hurtful that makes you not want to trust them. My challenge today is to take some “baby steps”. Ask this person what they think about something, and if it seems like reasonable advice, then take it. If things work out, then maybe you can begin to trust this person again. Give them a chance to prove that people make mistakes, but they can also be of great help to you!

Reading #3 - Exodus 18:24–27

24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 26 They judged the people at all times. They brought the hard cases to Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves. 27 Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way into his own land.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Yitro - Reading #2

Yitro יִתְרוֹ - Jethro

Exodus: 18:1-20:22

Reading #2 - Exodus 18:13–23

My Thoughts:

Moses receives wise advice from his father-in-law. We call it “delegation”. However, this is a difficult concept for many of us. Why have someone else do something when we can do it better? Plus if we do it, we have control over it.  I learned about delegation when I was the Executive Director of a non-profit for many years. I was getting really burned out doing everything myself and finally I resolved that it would be better to delegate some responsibilities to others, even if they made mistakes, then to take it all on myself. And it worked. Yes, people made mistakes, but guess what? They also made wonderful suggestions and improvements that I would never have seen if I hadn't asked them for help. Delegation works.


Are you bearing too much responsibility on your shoulders? If you are home or work and need help, I encourage you today to ask for it! Be brave that things will certainly not be done the same way you do them, but they will get done! And I promise there will even be some improvements. Take a chance and delegate. You will be so glad you did!

Reading #2 - Exodus 18:13–23

18:13 On the next day, Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from the morning to the evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said, “What is this thing that you do for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning to evening?”

15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of Elohim. 16 When they have a matter, they come to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of Elohim, and his laws.” 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 You will surely wear away, both you, and this people that is with you; for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to perform it yourself alone. 19 Listen now to my voice. I will give you counsel, and Elohim be with you. You represent the people before Elohim, and bring the causes to Elohim. 20 You shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and shall show them the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do. 21 Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men which fear Elohim: men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 Let them judge the people at all times. It shall be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they shall judge themselves. So shall it be easier for you, and they shall share the load with you. 23 If you will do this thing, and Elohim commands you so, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.”

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Yitro - Reading #1

Yitro יִתְרוֹ - Jethro

Exodus: 18:1-20:22

Reading #1 - Exodus 18:1–12

My Thoughts:

Moses honored his father-in-law Jethro. It is really unclear what relationship Moses had to his wife and sons, but Jethro brings them to him. Do they stay? Scripture is not clear. But, what I want to mention is the importance of Moses' relationship to Jethro. He honors him. No matter how he feels about him. There is a commandment for us to honor our parents and I believe that includes in-laws. Be sure you are honoring your in-laws. That includes treating them kindly, helping them with things, and not talking about them behind their backs. Even if they have passed, you are to speak kindly. It’s very important.


Do you have in-laws? What kind of relationship do you have with them? Does your relationship need improvement? If you don’t have in-laws, maybe Hashem has placed some “older” people in your life. Are you respecting them? Helping them? Today is the day to make things right, sometimes we don’t have a tomorrow. Correct any relationship with an older person and make it good. It’s a commandment and with it comes a blessing.

Reading #1 - Exodus 18:1–12

18 Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that Elohim had done for Moses and for Israel his people, how Hashem had brought Israel out of Egypt. 2 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, received Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her away, 3 and her two sons. The name of one son was Gershom, for Moses said, “I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land”. 4 The name of the other was Eliezer, for he said, “My father’s G-d was my help and delivered me from Pharaoh’s sword.” 5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with Moses’ sons and his wife to Moses into the wilderness where he was encamped, at the Mountain of Elohim. 6 He said to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, have come to you with your wife, and her two sons with her.”

7 Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and bowed and kissed him. They asked each other of their welfare, and they came into the tent. 8 Moses told his father-in-law all that Hashem had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardships that had come on them on the way, and how Hashem delivered them. 9 Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which Hashem had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. 10 Jethro said, “Blessed be Hashem, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh; who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that Hashem is greater than all gods because of the way that they treated people arrogantly.” 12 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for Elohim. Aaron came with all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before Elohim.

Yitro - Week #5

Yitro יִתְרוֹ - Jethro

Exodus: 18:1-20:22

Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6

Matthew 19:16-26

1.1 First reading — Exodus 18:1–12

1.2 Second reading — Exodus 18:13–23

1.3 Third reading — Exodus 18:24–27

1.4 Fourth reading — Exodus 19:1–6

1.5 Fifth reading — Exodus 19:7–19

1.6 Sixth reading — Exodus 19:20–20:14

1.7 Seventh reading — Exodus 20:15–23