Showing posts with label Reading #1. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reading #1. Show all posts

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!


Challenge:


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.”


Sunday, July 7, 2024

Chukat - Reading #1

Chukat חֻקַּת - Law

Numbers 19:1-22:1


Reading #1 -Numbers 19:1–17


My Thoughts:


The red heifer was sacrificed so that would have the ashes for those who touched a dead body and wanted to enter the Tabernacle. They were to cleanse for impurity. This is one of those requests from Hashem that we don’t really understand but we are to obey. In Israel today the Temple Institute has found a red heifer that meets Torah requirements, I believe. There are articles you can read to see if the ashes have been prepared. The point being, when the next Temple is built the red heifer ashes will have to be available to cleanse the priests before serving Hashem in the Temple. It is unknown how this will all come about, but have faith in Hashem that it will. Remember to daily pray for the Mashiach to return to the Temple in Jerusalem to rule and reign forever. Amen.


Challenge:


Touching a corpse makes you unclean. And Hashem does not permit people who are unclean to come into the Tabernacle -- into His presence. Doesn’t that make you ponder the holiness of Hashem? He represents LIFE and death can not come near Him. Without a Temple today we come before Hashem in prayer and worship -- and we too, must be clean. How is that possible? It seems like our only way is to repent and ask forgiveness of our sins. We must try to live the holy life and stay close to Hashem in our hearts. Do that today. Repent and ask Hashem to forgive you for all that you have done that disobeys Him and His Torah. Try to live in His light, and not in darkness. We must do our best without a Temple, without a red heifer, without His glory shining over the Tabernacle -- but continue seeking His glory that is within our hearts. Amen.


Reading #1 - Numbers 19:1-17


19:1 Hashem spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 “This is the statute of the law which Hashem has commanded. Tell the children of Israel to bring you a red heifer without spot, in which is no defect, and which was never yoked. 3 You shall give her to Eleazar the priest, and he shall bring her outside of the camp, and one shall kill her before his face. 4 Eleazar the priest shall take some of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle her blood toward the front of the Tent of Meeting seven times. 5 One shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her meat, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn. 6 The priest shall take cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the middle of the burning of the heifer. 7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the evening. 8 He who burns her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the evening.


9 “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up outside of the camp in a clean place; and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for use in water for cleansing impurity. It is a sin offering. 10 He who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the evening. It shall be to the children of Israel, and to the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them, for a statute forever.


11 “He who touches the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days. 12 He shall purify himself with water on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean; but if he doesn’t purify himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean. 13 Whoever touches a dead person, the body of a man who has died, and doesn’t purify himself, defiles Hashem’s tabernacle; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is yet on him.


14 “This is the law when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent, and everyone who is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. 15 Every open vessel, which has no covering bound on it, is unclean.


16 “Whoever in the open field touches one who is slain with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.


17 “For the unclean, they shall take of the ashes of the burning of the sin offering; and running water shall be poured on them in a vessel.


Sunday, June 30, 2024

Korach - Reading #1

Korach קֹרַח - Korach

Numbers 16:1-18:32


Reading #1 - Numbers 16:1–13


My Thoughts:


Korah contends that everyone is holy and near to Hashem -- why was Moses so special? I suppose man has had the problem of recognizing authority for centuries and centuries. I think we all want to be in charge at some point in our lives. But, here is what is important. Hashem places those in authority over us. He rules the earth, and He chooses who will help Him to carry out His orders. In this special moment in Hashem’s history, He chooses Moses and Aaron. These men, including Korath, are not happy with this. They rebel. And Hashem separates and punishes them immediately. Lesson learned. The only way to live a prosperous and peaceful life is to follow Hashem and His Commandments. Love Him and love others. If you challenge that -- well, your future will be bleak. Choose life!


Challenge:


It is so interesting to me that Moses is so very close to Hashem that when he hears of Korah’s rebellion -- he tells them what is going to happen next. He explains that now Hashem will show “who are His and who are holy” (verse 5). End of debate. The Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will now settle things. At this point you would think that Korah and the leaders would fall on their faces and beg forgiveness. Only they continue in their persistence to prove a point. A point that leads them to destruction. Today, I suggest you take a look at your own life. Are you rebelling against some authority in your life? Maybe you feel justified, but go to Hashem and let Him fight your battle! Pray and seek His face for solution, instead of fighting for something on your own. Granted sometimes Hashem will direct us to seek justice in a situation, but many times He does not. Stand back and allow Hashem to do what is right. Repent and ask forgiveness for any havoc you have created. Today is a new day. Make things right. Recognize Hashem is on the throne!


Reading #1 - Numbers 16:1–13


16:1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took some men. 2 They rose up before Moses, with some of the children of Israel, two hundred fifty princes of the congregation, called to the assembly, men of renown. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much on yourself, since all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and Hashem is among them! Why do you lift yourselves up above Hashem’s assembly?”


4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face. 5 He said to Korah and to all his company, “In the morning, Hashem will show who are His, and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to Him. Even him whom He shall choose, He will cause to come near to Him. 6 Do this: have Korah and all his company take censers, 7 put fire in them, and put incense on them before Hashem tomorrow. It shall be that the man whom Hashem chooses, he shall be holy. You have gone too far, you sons of Levi!”


8 Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi! 9 Is it a small thing to you that the Elohim of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the service of Hashem’s tabernacle, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them; 10 and that He has brought you near, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? Do you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore you and all your company have gathered together against Hashem! What is Aaron that you complain against him?”


12 Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab; and they said, “We won’t come up! 13 Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, but you must also make yourself a prince over us?


Sunday, June 23, 2024

Shelach - Reading #1

Shelach שְׁלַy to ח-לְךָ - Send For Yourself

Numbers 13:1-15:41


Reading #1 - Numbers 13:1–20


My Thoughts:


This was a simple request. Simply go and check out the Land. This is the Land the people of Hashem had waited to acquire for centuries. Now was the time. But, it had to be looked at first -- so they knew what to expect. Except there is a turn of events. Something totally unexpected happens. The tribal heads go and they get scared. The Land, the people living there and protecting it -- well, it seems to be too much. It must have seemed impossible, because 10 of the leaders came back with a bad report. This event is going to change everything for them, only they don’t know it. A simple command -- go and spy out the Land. Only it becomes very, very complicated. We will shortly see.


Challenge:


Have you made a simple request of you into something complicated? Has someone asked you to do something and you make it into something more? Maybe, just maybe, we can learn from today’s reading. Let’s try to keep things simple. Let’s follow out directions, and not make them more than what they are. For instance, if you are looking for a new home. And your spouse wants something small, and easy to take care of. But, you start looking at big luxurious homes. You really haven’t listened to her/his simple request. And now you have made it complicated. If your boss tells you to do a report. Do it the way he/she asked you. Try to do the good things in your life in a simple, easy way. The world is hard enough as it is.

 

Reading #1 - Numbers 13:1–20


13:1 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Send men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel. Of every tribe of their fathers, you shall send a man, every one a prince among them.”


3 Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran according to the commandment of Hashem. All of them were men who were heads of the children of Israel. 4 These were their names:


Of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur.


5 Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori.


6 Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.


7 Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph.


8 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun.


9 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu.


10 Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi.


11 Of the tribe of Joseph, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.


12 Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli.


13 Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael.


14 Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi.


15 Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.


16 These are the names of the men who Moses sent to spy out the land. Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua. 17 Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up this way by the South, and go up into the hill country. 18 See the land, what it is; and the people who dwell therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are few or many; 19 and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds; 20 and what the land is, whether it is fertile or poor, whether there is wood therein, or not. Be courageous, and bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes.


Sunday, June 16, 2024

Beha'alotcha - Reading #1

Beha’alotcha בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ - In Your Uplifting

Numbers 8:1-12:16


Reading #1 - Numbers 8:1–14


My Thoughts:


Today we are reading about the dedication of the Levites to Temple service. What a wonderful privilege this would be for them. And Hashem made sure to get the rest of the people involved in the “laying on of hands”. The position of caring for the Temple was probably the “highest” position that you could serve Hashem. However, with all of Hashem’s mercy and grace -- He still saw all His people as equal. Maybe the “service” of people was different, but all hearts were viewed the same. Just as He views our hearts. However, it is important that we are “set apart” from the rest of the world. So, that we can be His “special” people also!


Challenge:


In verse 14 we read that “the Levites are Mine”. Of course, we are all His. But, this special group of people were dedicated for a very special service unto Hashem. I would like us all to think about what “special” service we could do for Hashem today. We don’t have a Temple, and we are not Levites (maybe some of us are and don’t know it) -- so what can we do for Him today? Open up your eyes and look around. Maybe a lady at the grocery store needs some help. Or someone is stopped at the side of the road trying to change a flat. Or your son or daughter simply need help with homework. Look and see how you can serve Hashem today. And do it with joy.


Reading #1 - Numbers 8:1–14


8:1 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to Aaron, and tell him, ‘When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lamp stand.’”


3 Aaron did so. He lit its lamps to light the area in front of the lamp stand, as Hashem commanded Moses. 4 This was the workmanship of the lamp stand, beaten work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was beaten work. He made the lamp stand according to the pattern which Hashem had shown Moses.


5 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them. 7 You shall do this to them to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of cleansing on them, let them shave their whole bodies with a razor, let them wash their clothes, and cleanse themselves. 8 Then let them take a young bull and its meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil; and another young bull you shall take for a sin offering. 9 You shall present the Levites before the Tent of Meeting. You shall assemble the whole congregation of the children of Israel. 10 You shall present the Levites before Hashem. The children of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, 11 and Aaron shall offer the Levites before Hashem for a wave offering on the behalf of the children of Israel, that it may be theirs to do the service of Hashem.


12 “The Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to Hashem, to make atonement for the Levites. 13 You shall set the Levites before Aaron and before his sons, and offer them as a wave offering to Hashem. 14 Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be Mine.



Sunday, June 9, 2024

Nasso - Reading #1

Nasso נָשֹׂא - Elevate!

Numbers 4:21-7:89


Reading #1 - Numbers 4:21–37


My Thoughts:


The special sons of Aaron and the Levites had the privilege of “taking care” of the Tabernacle. They were to take care of the place where Hashem would place His glory. What an honor. For some reason Hashem picks this particular group and tribe. It makes me think. What has He asked us to “take care” of?


Challenge:


Continuing on with the thought above, I am pondering what Hashem has asked me to take care of. He has given me so much. Family, a home, careers and friends. How do I take care of them? By being kind, giving, peaceful and righteous. By being an example and a “light” to those around me. And the physical things He has given me, like my house and car, must be maintained (and with joy). If something breaks on my car -- I need to be expedient and take care of it. If something needs repair in my house -- I need to do it right away. If you don’t, I guarantee it will start piling up. That is why we work six days a week and rest on the seventh. So that we can be good stewards of what Hashem has given us. Believe me, it is a witness to others around us. My challenge to you today is to look at the repairs on your home and car. Start fixing them - today. Shalom!


Reading #1 - Numbers 4:21–37


4:21 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 22 “Take a census of the sons of Gershon also, by their fathers’ houses, by their families; 23 you shall count them from thirty years old and upward until fifty years old: all who enter in to wait on the service, to do the work in the Tent of Meeting.


24 “This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, in serving and in bearing burdens: 25 they shall carry the curtains of the tabernacle and the Tent of Meeting, its covering, the covering of sealskin that is on it, the screen for the door of the Tent of Meeting, 26 the hangings of the court, the screen for the door of the gate of the court which is by the tabernacle and around the altar, their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and whatever shall be done with them. They shall serve in there. 27 At the commandment of Aaron and his sons shall be all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their burden and in all their service; and you shall appoint their duty to them in all their responsibilities. 28 This is the service of the families of the sons of the Gershonites in the Tent of Meeting. Their duty shall be under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.


29 “As for the sons of Merari, you shall count them by their families, by their fathers’ houses; 30 you shall count them from thirty years old and upward even to fifty years old—everyone who enters on the service, to do the work of the Tent of Meeting. 31 This is the duty of their burden, according to all their service in the Tent of Meeting: the tabernacle’s boards, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, 32 the pillars of the court around it, their sockets, their pins, their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service. You shall appoint the instruments of the duty of their burden to them by name. 33 This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service in the Tent of Meeting, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.”


34 Moses and Aaron and the princes of the congregation counted the sons of the Kohathites by their families, and by their fathers’ houses, 35 from thirty years old and upward even to fifty years old, everyone who entered into the service for work in the Tent of Meeting. 36 Those who were counted of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred fifty. 37 These are those who were counted of the families of the Kohathites, all who served in the Tent of Meeting, whom Moses and Aaron counted according to the commandment of Hashem by Moses.


Sunday, June 2, 2024

Bamidbar - Reading #1

Bamidbar בְּמִדְבַּר - In the Wilderness

Numbers 1:1-4:20


Reading #1 - Numbers 1:1-19


My Thoughts:


In the Book of Numbers we are going to read about organization and leadership. This very large group of Hebrew people and mixed multitude are going to go through some challenging territory to get to the promised Land of Israel. They are going to need to be organized, have strong leadership and be able to follow orders. As we already know the story -- some of the leadership fail, some of the “soldiers” fail. But, nonetheless, the structure is in place. Hashem in all His perfect Wisdom, is starting to reveal His plan for success. And that is how it is today. He picks leaders for us to serve under and through this we are to follow His instructions. A thought for today is that we must respect the leaders Hashem appoints, whether we like them or not. We pray for them that they will hear from Adonai at all times. Remember, everything we do we do in service to Hashem.


Challenge:


Think about the “leaders” you have in your life. Are you respecting them? Are you following their instructions without grumbling or objection? Yes, if you have valuable input to impart, it is good to do so. But, if in the end your “leader” is choosing to go a different way (unless it violates Torah) you are to go with him/her. I am convicted today to think about someone in “leadership” in my life whom I have not been respecting very well lately. I challenge myself to do better. And I challenge you to do the same.


Reading #1 - Numbers 1:1-19


1:1 Hashem spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, every male, one by one, 3 from twenty years old and upward, all who are able to go out to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall count them by their divisions. 4 With you there shall be a man of every tribe, each one head of his fathers’ house. 5 These are the names of the men who shall stand with you:


Of Reuben: Elizur the son of Shedeur.


6 Of Simeon: Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.


7 Of Judah: Nahshon the son of Amminadab.


8 Of Issachar: Nethanel the son of Zuar.


9 Of Zebulun: Eliab the son of Helon.


10 Of the children of Joseph: of Ephraim: Elishama the son of Ammihud; of Manasseh: Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.


11 Of Benjamin: Abidan the son of Gideoni.


12 Of Dan: Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.


13 Of Asher: Pagiel the son of Ochran.


14 Of Gad: Eliasaph the son of Deuel.


15 Of Naphtali: Ahira the son of Enan.”


16 These are those who were called of the congregation, the princes of the tribes of their fathers; they were the heads of the thousands of Israel. 17 Moses and Aaron took these men who are mentioned by name. 18 They assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month; and they declared their ancestry by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, one by one. 19 As Hashem commanded Moses, so he counted them in the wilderness of Sinai.


Sunday, May 26, 2024

Bechukotai - Reading #1

Bechukotai - In my statutes בְּחֻקֹּתַי

Torah Portion: Leviticus 26:3 - 27:34


Reading #1 - Leviticus 26:3–5


My Thoughts:


I have a friend who does metal detecting. Her and her husband go everywhere. They have found some very valuable jewelry, like wedding/engagement rings. The thing is they don’t attempt to find the owners, they keep what they find. Finders keepers, right? I was really interested in doing this, but then I read Torah and felt guilty about keeping anything that I found. In all reality, if you found a ring on the beach it would be impossible to find the owner. But, maybe not. Maybe you could report it to the park and maybe the people who lost it had filed a notice with the park. My point is – maybe we need to be careful about what we find and what we keep. Let’s try to find the owners first!


Challenge:


Specifically today Hashem is talking about things lost and then the person who found it lies. He teaches about restoration and reparation. We aren’t really taught about these things in our society. But, if we were taught, imagine how different society would be. Maybe people would not be quick to lie or steal. Maybe even the crime rate would go down if there was personal restitution required. You and I know how hard it is to make something right when we have wronged someone. It can be painful. That is my challenge to you today. If you have done something wrong like this – even if you feel innocent – go to the person and make it right. It will help to repair relationships and the world.


Reading #1 - Leviticus 6:3-5


6:3 "...or has found that which was lost, and lied about it, and swearing to a lie—in any of these things that a man sins in his actions— 4 then it shall be, if he has sinned, and is guilty, he shall restore that which he took by robbery, or the thing which he has gotten by oppression, or the deposit which was committed to him, or the lost thing which he found, 5 or any thing about which he has sworn falsely: he shall restore it in full, and shall add a fifth part more to it. He shall return it to him to whom it belongs in the day of his being found guilty.


Sunday, May 19, 2024

Behar - Reading #1

Behar - On the mountain  בְּהַר
Torah Portion: Leviticus 25:1-26:2

Reading #1 - Leviticus 25:1–13


My Thoughts:


Keeping a Sabbath the seventh year for the land. When we had a country home we noticed there were years the farmers would let the fields rest. It was so they would have better crops and the land would have a chance to rejuvenate. That is just how Hashem created the land. To produce and then in the seventh year to rest. That’s how He created us too! To work six days and rest on the seventh. So that we could produce more too! Think of how more fruitful your life would be – just like the land – if you took a Sabbath rest! 


Challenge:


We also learn about the year of Jubilee. After seven times seven years there will be a loud trumpet and in the fiftieth year special things happen. Property is returned and debts are canceled. Can you imagine? If you sold a piece of land and fifty years later it was returned to you? But, not really. Because what Hashem is teaching is that it all belongs to Him – not us! That’s what we should realize in today’s world and time. Really nothing totally belongs to us. In fact, when we die we can’t even take our clothes with us – let’s remember that. 


Reading #1 - Leviticus 25:1-13


25:1 Hashem said to Moses on Mount Sinai, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to Hashem. 3 You shall sow your field six years, and you shall prune your vineyard six years, and gather in its fruits; 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to Hashem. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and you shall not gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 The Sabbath of the land shall be for food for you; for yourself, for your servant, for your maid, for your hired servant, and for your stranger, who lives as a foreigner with you. 7 For your livestock also, and for the animals that are in your land, shall all its increase be for food.


8 “‘You shall count off seven Sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and there shall be to you the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty-nine years. 9 Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. 10 You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee to you; and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. 11 That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee to you. In it you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself, nor gather from the undressed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat of its increase out of the field.


13 “‘In this Year of Jubilee each of you shall return to his property.”


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Emor - Reading #1

Emor Say — אֱמוֹר
Reading #1
Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23
My Thoughts:

Today we read about the priests obligations regarding marrying and being around dead people. Hashem sets very high standards for holiness and purity. In order for the priest to perform service before Adonai – he must be as holy as possible. We don’t have the issue of being around dead people very much. We pay funeral homes to take care of preparing bodies. But, this is just not so in the times of the Bible. Hashem makes it clear that this is not the work of a priest, in fact, he is to stay away from the dead body so that he is not defiled. Same with the marriage requirements. He is to marry a virgin, a pure woman. I really think we have no idea what holiness is. One day we will. When we are in the Olam Haba, in the presence of the Holy One, we will begin to understand His holiness and prostrate ourselves before Him.


Challenge:


In verse 12 we read about the “crown” upon the priest, “...for the crown of the anointing oil of his Elohim is upon him.” This is why a priest had to follow all the rules about remaining holy while in the Temple area. He was sanctified with the oil of the Temple, which permitted him to do service before Hashem. To come in contact with anything of the “world” would take away this anointing. How does this relate to us today? We obviously don’t have a Temple, but we do try to step into the “presence” of Hashem through prayer and worship and sometimes just our daily living. Today’s challenge is to look at yourself and see how close you come to being “holy”. Are  you following Torah, repenting and doing teshuvah? Let’s try each day (and throughout the day and evening) to constantly review our thoughts and actions. Make sure that they are pure. So, that when we come “before” Hashem we are holy as He is holy.


Reading #1 - Leviticus 21:1–15


Leviticus 21:1 Hashem said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them, ‘A priest shall not defile himself for the dead among his people, 2 except for his relatives that are near to him: for his mother, for his father, for his son, for his daughter, for his brother, 3 and for his virgin sister who is near to him, who has had no husband; for her he may defile himself. 4 He shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.


5 “‘They shall not shave their heads or shave off the corners of their beards or make any cuttings in their flesh. 6 They shall be holy to their Elohim, and not profane the name of their Elohim, for they offer the offerings of Hashem made by fire, the bread of their Elohim. Therefore they shall be holy.


7 “‘They shall not marry a woman who is a prostitute, or profane. A priest shall not marry a woman divorced from her husband; for he is holy to his Elohim. 8 Therefore you shall sanctify him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I Hashem, who sanctify you, am holy.


9 “‘The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the prostitute, she profanes her father. She shall be burned with fire.


10 “‘He who is the high priest among his brothers, upon whose head the anointing oil is poured, and who is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not let the hair of his head hang loose, or tear his clothes. 11 He must not go in to any dead body, or defile himself for his father or for his mother. 12 He shall not go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his Elohim; for the crown of the anointing oil of his Elohim is upon him. I am Hashem.


13 “‘He shall take a wife in her virginity. 14 He shall not marry a widow, or one divorced, or a woman who has been defiled, or a prostitute. He shall take a virgin of his own people as a wife. 15 He shall not profane his offspring among his people, for I am Hashem who sanctifies him.’”


Sunday, May 5, 2024

Kedoshim - Reading #1

Kedoshim - Holy  קְדשִׁים
Torah Portion: Leviticus 19:1 - 20:27

Reading #1 — Leviticus 19:1–14


My Thoughts:


Hashem starts this section with “Be holy, for I am holy.” Then He explains how to be holy. If we follow His commands – we will grow to be holy. You may be thinking that it is impossible to be holy. But, it’s not. It’s just what He wants from us because He wants us to be the best that we can be. And if you are loving Him with everything you have, and you are loving others – well then, you are on your way to holiness!


Challenge:


These commandments are pretty simple. There is nothing hard or difficult to understand about them. Respect your parents, honor the Sabbath, don’t lie, steal, take care of your neighbor, etc. You may be thinking that you do all these things. But, I challenge you today to really take a hard look at your life and see if indeed you are doing these things. Are you really keeping the Sabbath, or do you excuse some small things on that special day believing that Hashem will forgive you. Or do you really respect your parents or are you complaining that you have to do so much for them? Are you taking care of the poor or are you spending your money on frivolous items instead? Review your life and change what needs to be changed. And I will do the same. Amen.


Reading #1 — Leviticus 19:1–14


Leviticus 19:1 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘You shall be holy; for I, Hashem your Elohim, am holy.


3 “‘Each one of you shall respect his mother and his father. You shall keep my Sabbaths. I am Hashem your Elohim.


4 “‘Don’t turn to idols, nor make molten gods for yourselves. I am Hashem your Elohim.


5 “‘When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to Hashem, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. 6 It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and on the next day. If anything remains until the third day, it shall be burned with fire. 7 If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination. It will not be accepted; 8 but everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned the holy thing of Hashem, and that soul shall be cut off from his people.


9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 You shall not glean your vineyard, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the foreigner. I am Hashem your Elohim.


11 “‘You shall not steal.


“‘You shall not lie.


“‘You shall not deceive one another.


12 “‘You shall not swear by My name falsely, and profane the name of your Elohim. I am Hashem.


13 “‘You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him.


“‘The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.


14 “‘You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind; but you shall fear your Elohim. I am Hashem.


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Metzora - Reading #1

Metzora מְּצֹרָע - Infected One

Leviticus 14:1-15:33


Reading #1 - Leviticus 14:1–12


My Thoughts:


This is the most interesting reading on the cleansing of a leper. After doing some brief studying it seems like you could think about the symbolism this way. When the bird is killed it may represent the “death” that the leprosy could have caused or the death/extinction of the leprosy. When the living bird is dipped into the blood of the dead bird, you could look at that as a “cleansing” from the leprosy. And when the bird is let go to fly away, you could think of that as the healed person now is experiencing freedom and new life! These are some interesting things to think about.


Challenge:


Do you need to be cleansed and set free from something you are enslaved to? You could go to Hashem and ask Him to “wash” or immerse you in forgiveness. And you could pray that He would set you free from the unsettling issue. It is sometimes surprising that when you talk to Hashem, that He will direct your path toward freedom.

Reading #1 - Leviticus 14:1–12


14:1 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying,


2 “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest, 3 and the priest shall go out of the camp. The priest shall examine him. Behold, if the plague of leprosy is healed in the leper, 4 then the priest shall command them to take for him who is to be cleansed two living clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. 5 The priest shall command them to kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water. 6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood, the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. 7 He shall sprinkle on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird go into the open field.


8 “He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and bathe himself in water; and he shall be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, but shall dwell outside his tent seven days. 9 It shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows. He shall shave off all his hair. He shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his body in water. Then he shall be clean.


10 “On the eighth day he shall take two male lambs without defect, one ewe lamb a year old without defect, three tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a meal offering, mixed with oil, and one log of oil. 11 The priest who cleanses him shall set the man who is to be cleansed, and those things, before Hashem, at the door of the Tent of Meeting.


12 “The priest shall take one of the male lambs, and offer him for a trespass offering, with the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before Hashem.


Sunday, April 7, 2024

Tazria - Reading #1

Tazria - תזריע

Leviticus: Leviticus 12:1 - 13:59


Reading #1 - Leviticus 12:1–13:5


My Thoughts:


I had this thought. In verse 13:1 it says “Hashem spoke to Moses and Aaron...”. And He goes on to talk to them about some specifics with skin diseases. We read this so casually, but think about it. Hashem is somehow talking to Moses and Aaron and giving them instructions. It can’t be casual, it has to be astounding! It is not every day that someone hears the voice of Elohim. Now I can see where they must have been kneeling and frantically listening and writing things down! This was Elohim speaking and you did not want to get any words wrong! Wow is all I can say.


Challenge:


Are you casual about listening to the voice of Hashem? During prayer time, worship or during the day -- do you feel like He might be saying something to you? If so, this is not to be taken lightly, but we should stop in our tracks and reverently listen to what He says. We should take it very seriously and then praise Him for taking time to speak to us. And most importantly, do what you think He is saying to you! If you don’t, you will regret it forever!


Reading #1 - Leviticus 12:1–13:5


12 Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘If a woman conceives, and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her monthly period she shall be unclean. 3 In the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 She shall continue in the blood of purification thirty-three days. She shall not touch any holy thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. 5 But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her period; and she shall continue in the blood of purification sixty-six days.


6 “‘When the days of her purification are completed for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the door of the Tent of Meeting, a year old lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove, for a sin offering. 7 He shall offer it before Hashem, and make atonement for her; then she shall be cleansed from the fountain of her blood.


“‘This is the law for her who bears, whether a male or a female. 8 If she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons: the one for a burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.’”


13 Hashem spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 “When a man shall have a swelling in his body’s skin, or a scab, or a bright spot, and it becomes in the skin of his body the plague of leprosy, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons, the priests. 3 The priest shall examine the plague in the skin of the body. If the hair in the plague has turned white, and the appearance of the plague is deeper than the body’s skin, it is the plague of leprosy; so the priest shall examine him and pronounce him unclean. 4 If the bright spot is white in the skin of his body, and its appearance isn’t deeper than the skin, and its hair hasn’t turned white, then the priest shall isolate the infected person for seven days. 5 The priest shall examine him on the seventh day. Behold, if in his eyes the plague is arrested and the plague hasn’t spread in the skin, then the priest shall isolate him for seven more days.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Shemini - Reading #1

Shemini שְּׁמִינִי - Eighth

Leviticus 9:1-11:47


Reading #1 - Leviticus 9:1–16


My Thoughts:


Prepare the offerings for “today Hashem appears to you (verse 4).” How amazing that would be! You are bringing a perfect offering, you are preparing to present it, and you know that soon Hashem will appear in His glory! What excitement and energy that must have brought to the people. And hopefully fear. Fear of the presence of the Holy One! Good fear, fear of Hashem. We should be getting excited too! We should be praying every day for Hashem to come back to the Temple in Jerusalem. We should be praying for the Temple to be built! We should be getting ready for the glory of Hashem to come to Israel, may it be soon. Remember to do this. It may help to bring Him back sooner. Please Hashem.


Challenge:


I challenge you today to make an “offering” to Hashem. It can be prayer, sacrifice, worship, repentance or a good deed (mitzvah). Think about what you can give today and do it. And be excited and anticipatory to give it to Him. Think of all the gifts He gives you every day. Today is the day to give Him one!


Reading #1 - Leviticus 9:1–16


9 On the eighth day, Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel; 2 and he said to Aaron, “Take a calf from the herd for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without defect, and offer them before Hashem. 3 You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both a year old, without defect, for a burnt offering; 4 and a bull and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before Hashem; and a meal offering mixed with oil: for today Hashem appears to you.’”


5 They brought what Moses commanded before the Tent of Meeting. All the congregation came near and stood before Hashem. 6 Moses said, “This is the thing which Hashem commanded that you should do; and Hashem’s glory shall appear to you.” 7 Moses said to Aaron, “Draw near to the altar, and offer your sin offering, and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself, and for the people; and offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as Hashem commanded.”


8 So Aaron came near to the altar, and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. 9 The sons of Aaron presented the blood to him; and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it on the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the base of the altar; 10 but the fat, and the kidneys, and the cover from the liver of the sin offering, he burned upon the altar, as Hashem commanded Moses. 11 The meat and the skin he burned with fire outside the camp. 12 He killed the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons delivered the blood to him, and he sprinkled it around on the altar. 13 They delivered the burnt offering to him, piece by piece, and the head. He burned them upon the altar. 14 He washed the innards and the legs, and burned them on the burnt offering on the altar. 15 He presented the people’s offering, and took the goat of the sin offering which was for the people, and killed it, and offered it for sin, like the first. 16 He presented the burnt offering, and offered it according to the ordinance.