Thursday, October 5, 2023

V'Zot HaBerachah - Reading #5

V'Zot HaBerachah וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה - And this is the blessing

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Reading #5 - Deuteronomy 33:22–26

My Thoughts:

Moses continues to bless the tribes. What a beautiful Scripture in verse 26, “There is no one like Elohim, Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens for your help, in His excellency on the skies.” Jeshurun is a poetic name for Israel and means, “Dear upright people”. It is Hashem’s hope all along that His people will be “upright” -- honest and righteous -- following Him and Torah. Israel, His people and Torah are to be a “light” to the nations.  Only in these modern times, there have been some problems with this. Some of Israel has assimilated with the rest of the world in godlessness. You find part of a holy nation that now promotes a gay lifestyle and abortion as a solution to pregnancy. The abortion rate is very high and Tel Aviv is known as a “gay city” nationally. We know Hashem is not happy with this. Let us pray for Israel and its people that they will return to Hashem and they will become His “Jeshurun” once again. Hashem please forgive us all for our sins. Amen. 


In verse 23 we read, “Naphtali, satisfied with favor, full of Hashem’s blessing…”.  What an awesome blessing! Don’t you want to be “full of Hashem’s blessing”? How would we achieve this? That is my challenge to you today to think about what you can do, or who you can be that would warrant Hashem to fill you with His blessings. We know Torah gives many verses about being blessed and it always precedes that you are following the Torah, loving Hashem and loving others. If you want to be filled with His blessings today, review your daily life and make sure you are chasing Hashem. If you aren’t then make the changes necessary today. Repent, teshuvah and make restitution. Love Hashem with your heart, soul and being. Amen!

Reading #5 - Deuteronomy 33:22–26

33:22 About Dan he said,

“Dan is a lion’s cub

    that leaps out of Bashan.”

23 About Naphtali he said,

“Naphtali, satisfied with favor,

    full of Hashem’s blessing,

    Possess the west and the south.”

24 About Asher he said,

“Asher is blessed with children.

    Let him be acceptable to his brothers.

    Let him dip his foot in oil.

25 Your bars will be iron and bronze.

    As your days, so your strength will be.

26 “There is no one like Elohim, Jeshurun,

    who rides on the heavens for your help,

    in His excellency on the skies.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

V'Zot HaBerachah - Reading #4

V'Zot HaBerachah וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה - And this is the blessing

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Reading #4 -  Deuteronomy 33:18–21

My Thoughts:

Blessings on two more tribes. It’s almost like every tribe has a “role” in the Kingdom of Elohim and here on earth. To each tribe he ascribes different unique blessings that must be in line with their particular “gifts and callings”. Zebulun was apparently a “seafaring” tribe. Doing trading with fish, etc. Hashem was going to bless this about them, for they would “draw out of the abundance of the seas” verse 19. This makes me think that whatever Hashem calls us to do -- if we are obedient to Him and His Torah -- He will allow us to “draw out of the abundance”. This abundance will be in our area of need. We follow and He blesses us. True of the people of Israel also. Amen. 


There are blessings on the tribe of Gad in today’s readings. Remember Gad is one of the tribes that wanted to settle east of the Jordan and not west. But they offered to join the other tribes in conquering the land west of Jordan. They were apparently known as “fighters” -- efficient at war. And that’s where Hashem wanted them. From that story we learn that it’s okay to ask Hashem for special things (like settling east of Jordan) but when He asks us to do special things we must return His favor. That’s my challenge today. If Hashem is asking you to do something special, and maybe it’s out of your comfort zone -- do it! If He wants you to “go to war” and “fight” for Him -- do it! He will give you what you want, but we have to do what He wants too! Be ready to settle “East” but be prepared to also go “West” for a while to do His will! Amen!

Reading #4 -  Deuteronomy 33:18–21

18 About Zebulun he said,

“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out;

    and Issachar, in your tents.

19 They will call the peoples to the mountain.

    There they will offer sacrifices of righteousness,

for they will draw out the abundance of the seas,

    the hidden treasures of the sand.”

20 About Gad he said,

“He who enlarges Gad is blessed.

    He dwells as a lioness,

    and tears the arm and the crown of the head.

21 He provided the first part for himself,

    for the lawgiver’s portion reserved was reserved for him.

He came with the heads of the people.

    He executed the righteousness of Hashem,

    His ordinances with Israel.”

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

V'Zot HaBerachah - Reading #3

V'Zot HaBerachah וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה - And this is the blessing

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Reading #3 -  Deuteronomy 33:13–17

My Thoughts:

Seems like Joseph is getting a very large detailed blessing here. Especially on the Land that the tribe will inherit. Blessings over the produce and fruit of the Land. Hashem remembers the suffering Joseph endured when he was separated from his brothers. It makes me think that Hashem remembers things in our lives that we have suffered from, that He does not forget. That is a comforting thought and a feeling that Hashem loves us so much and cares for our past and our future. Let us remember that about Him. Amen.


Joseph gets a special blessing in verse 15, “...for the best things of the ancient mountains…”. What could possibly be this type of blessing out of ancient mountains? It gives me the idea that the ancient mountains could represent the ancient Word of Elohim. His Word is like a mighty mountain (and was given on top of a mountain). So, think of this. Hashem wants to give the “best” things out of His Word. If we are to follow Torah (and that is my challenge today) -- then He will give us the “best” from it. And if you think of it, what is better than “life” itself? That is the reality of Torah and the best thing about it. It gives eternal life. Life today and life forever. Don’t you want that? Amen.

Reading #3 -  Deuteronomy 33:13–17

33:13 About Joseph he said,

“His land is blessed by Hashem,

    for the precious things of the heavens, for the dew,

    for the deep that couches beneath,

14 for the precious things of the fruits of the sun,

    for the precious things that the moon can yield,

15 for the best things of the ancient mountains,

    for the precious things of the everlasting hills,

16 for the precious things of the earth and its fullness,

    the good will of him who lived in the bush.

Let this come on the head of Joseph,

    on the crown of the head of him who was separated from his brothers.

17 Majesty belongs to the firstborn of his herd.

    His horns are the horns of the wild ox.

    With them he will push all the peoples to the ends of the earth.

They are the ten thousands of Ephraim.

    They are the thousands of Manasseh.”

Monday, October 2, 2023

V'Zot HaBerachah - Reading #2

V'Zot HaBerachah וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה - And this is the blessing

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Reading #2 - Deuteronomy 33:8–12

My Thoughts:

For the blessing of Levi Moses comments that they have “observed” and kept the Law and they have taught it to their children. This is really what it is all about -- isn’t it? After we have studied the Torah every day for one year we find this central message and blessing given to the tribe of Levi. If these things are done, then life is full and easier. There will be peace and the presence of Elohim. There will not be strife or division. We would be wise to pay attention to these powerful words. Don’t you agree?


I love the blessing of Benjamin, verse 12, “The beloved of Hashem will dwell in safety by Him. He covers him all day long. He dwells between his shoulders.” I want to dwell next to Hashem, be covered by Him and have Him between my shoulders. What a magnificent picture of someone who loves you. My challenge to you today is to take some time to think about what this means. To make sure you are living your life in fullness and truth, and in obedience, so that you will be so near to Hashem. It truly is a picture of shalom peace, and that is only obtainable through Hashem. Amen.

Reading #2 - Deuteronomy 33:8–12

8 About Levi he said,

“Your Thummim and your Urim are with your godly one,

    whom you proved at Massah,

    with whom you contended at the waters of Meribah.

9 He said of his father, and of his mother, ‘I have not seen him.’

    He didn’t acknowledge his brothers,

    nor did he know his own children;

for they have observed Your word,

    and keep Your covenant.

10 They shall teach Jacob your ordinances,

    and Israel your law.

They shall put incense before You,

    and whole burnt offering on Your altar.

11 Hashem, bless his skills.

    Accept the work of his hands.

Strike through the hips of those who rise up against him,

    of those who hate him, that they not rise again.”

12 About Benjamin he said,

“The beloved of Hashem will dwell in safety by him.

    He covers him all day long.

    He dwells between his shoulders.”

Sunday, October 1, 2023

V'Zot HaBerachah - Reading #1

V'Zot HaBerachah וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה - And this is the blessing

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Reading #1 - Deuteronomy 33:1–7

My Thoughts:

Could the “holy ones” in 33:2 be angels? Verse 33:2 reads, “He shone from Mount Paran. He came from the ten thousands of holy ones.” Can you imagine this? Moses is telling the story of the receiving of the Law, and in quite a passionate way. It would make sense that Hashem would surround Himself with His angels -- anywhere He goes. We have no concept what it would have been like on Mt. Sinai, that very special day. Clouds, fire and a majestic powerful voice. A time where the Holy Word on how to live our lives and serve the only true Elohim goes forth. What a beautiful experience that would have been. Maybe we weren’t there but we can study and read about it every year through Torah. And when we do that we can relive His glory surrounding this event. Pray and ask Hashem for revelation about all of this. Amen.


This week’s portion contains a blessing for each tribe as they are about to enter the Holy Land. Some blessings are more intense than others. Each has a different message. It makes me think about what “tribe” I would ascribe to? Have you ever thought of that? Maybe we have a blood lineage to one of these tribes and that is why we have such an intense interest in Torah and following Torah. That’s my challenge to you, to read through these blessings and pray. Ask Hashem if there is a tribe that you are descended from. And if you are sure you do not have Jewish heritage, maybe pray and ask Hashem if you can join a tribe (spiritually). Just like Ruth the Moabite joined Naomi from the tribe of Judah. “Your people will be my people”, she said to her. I relate to Ruth. I want to join Israel and have Israel’s people be my people and their Elohim my Elohim. Amen.

Reading #1 - Deuteronomy 33:1-7

33 This is the blessing with which Moses the man of Elohim blessed the children of Israel before his death. 

2 He said,

“Hashem came from Sinai,

    and rose from Seir to them.

He shone from Mount Paran.

    He came from the ten thousands of holy ones.

    At His right hand was a fiery law for them.

3 Yes, He loves the people.

    All His saints are in Your hand.

    They sat down at Your feet.

    Each receives your words.

4 Moses commanded us a law,

    an inheritance for the assembly of Jacob.

5 He was king in Jeshurun,

    when the heads of the people were gathered,

    all the tribes of Israel together.

6 “Let Reuben live, and not die;

    Nor let his men be few.”

7 This is for Judah. He said,

“Hear, Hashem, the voice of Judah.

    Bring him in to his people.

With his hands he contended for himself.

    You shall be a help against his adversaries.”

V'Zot HaBerachah - Week #12

V'Zot HaBerachah וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה - And this is the blessing

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

1.1 First reading — Deuteronomy 33:1–7

1.2 Second reading — Deuteronomy 33:8–12

1.3 Third reading — Deuteronomy 33:13–17

1.4 Fourth reading — Deuteronomy 33:18–21

1.5 Fifth reading — Deuteronomy 33:22–26

1.6 Sixth reading — Deuteronomy 33:27–29

1.7 Seventh reading — Deuteronomy 34

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Week of Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur

Torah Reading:  Leviticus 16:1-34

Haftarah: Isaiah 57:14-21

“G'mar chatima tovah!” (A good final sealing). We are in the high holiday of Yom Kippur (Sunday September 24 - Monday September 25).

There aren’t any daily Torah Parashat (portions) this week. There is however, a Torah Reading and Haftarah for Yom Kippur (read below). I encourage you to read it every day this week and ask Hashem to reveal something special to you!

The last reading and daily Parashat of Deuteronomy will begin next Sunday, October 1. 

Remember Sukkot begins Friday, September 29 and goes through October 6th! 

Torah Reading:  Leviticus 16:1-34

16 Hashem to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they came near before Hashem, and died; 2 and Hashem said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Most Holy Place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark; lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud on the mercy seat.

3 “Aaron shall come into the sanctuary with a young bull for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He shall put on the holy linen tunic. He shall have the linen trousers on his body, and shall put on the linen sash, and he shall be clothed with the linen turban. They are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water, and put them on. 5 He shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

6 “Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. 7 He shall take the two goats, and set them before Hashem at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 8 Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for Hashem, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for Hashem, and offer him for a sin offering. 10 But the goat on which the lot fell for the scapegoat shall be presented alive before Hashem, to make atonement for him, to send him away as the scapegoat into the wilderness.

11 “Aaron shall present the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull of the sin offering which is for himself. 12 He shall take a censer full of coals of fire from off the altar before Hashem, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil. 13 He shall put the incense on the fire before Hashem, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the covenant, so that he will not die. 14 He shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.

15 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with his blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. 16 He shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, even all their sins; and so he shall do for the Tent of Meeting that dwells with them in the middle of their uncleanness. 17 No one shall be in the Tent of Meeting when he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, and has made atonement for himself and for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel.

18 “He shall go out to the altar that is before Hashem and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the bull’s blood, and some of the goat’s blood, and put it around on the horns of the altar. 19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and make it holy from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

20 “When he has finished atoning for the Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting, and the altar, he shall present the live goat. 21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, even all their sins; and he shall put them on the head of the goat, and shall send him away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is ready. 22 The goat shall carry all their iniquities on himself to a solitary land, and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

23 “Aaron shall come into the Tent of Meeting, and shall take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and shall leave them there. 24 Then he shall bathe himself in water in a holy place, put on his garments, and come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 The fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar.

26 “He who lets the goat go as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp. 27 The bull for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp; and they shall burn their skins, their flesh, and their dung with fire. 28 He who burns them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.

29 “It shall be a statute to you forever: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and shall do no kind of work, whether native-born or a stranger who lives as a foreigner among you; 30 for on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you. You shall be clean from all your sins before Hashem. 31 It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. 32 The priest, who is anointed and who is consecrated to be priest in his father’s place, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen garments, even the holy garments. 33 Then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary; and he shall make atonement for the Tent of Meeting and for the altar; and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly.

34 “This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel once in the year because of all their sins.”

It was done as Hashem commanded Moses.

Haftarah: Isaiah 57:14-21

He will say, “Build up, build up, prepare the way!

    Remove the stumbling-block out of the way of My people.”

15 For the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity,

    whose name is Holy, says:

“I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit,

    to revive the spirit of the humble,

    and to revive the heart of the contrite.

16 For I will not contend forever, neither will I always be angry;

    for the spirit would faint before me,

    and the souls whom I have made.

17 I was angry because of the iniquity of his covetousness and struck him.

    I hid myself and was angry;

    and he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.

18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him.

    I will lead him also,

    and restore comforts to him and to his mourners.

19 I create the fruit of the lips:

    Peace, peace, to him who is far off and to him who is near,”

    says Hashem; “and I will heal them.”

20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea;

    for it can’t rest and its waters cast up mire and mud.

21 “There is no peace”, says my Elohim,

    “for the wicked.”