Sunday, December 10, 2023

Miketz - Week #10

Miketz מִקֵּץ - At the End Of

Genesis 41:1-44:17

Zechariah 2:14-4:7

Luke 24:13-2

1.1 First reading — Genesis 41:1–14

1.2 Second reading — Genesis 41:15–38

1.3 Third reading — Genesis 41:39–52

1.4 Fourth reading — Genesis 41:53–42:18

1.5 Fifth reading — Genesis 42:19–43:15

1.6 Sixth reading — Genesis 43:16–29

1.7 Seventh reading — Genesis 43:30–44:17

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Vayeshev - Reading #7

Vayeshev וַיֵּשֶׁב - And He Settled

Genesis 37:1 - 40:23

Haftarah: Amos 2:6-3:8

Apostolic Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25

Shabbat Reading #7 - Genesis Chapter 40

My Thoughts: 

Today’s reading is all about dreams. Dreams that are so important that they predict life and death for two people. We all dream, some of us remember them, some do not. The most important thing is that if you have a distinct dream that you pray about it. Ask Hashem to interpret it for you. If it is about someone you know, it may be He wants you to pray about it. It could be a warning, or a prophetic message. What I am trying to say is -- pay attention! Your dreams could really be important and affect your future and those around you!


In order for Joseph to interpret the two dreams, he had to stand up and say that he could do it (with Hashem’s help), And he began simply by asking them why they were so sad. How many times do you see someone or know someone that looks sad and you don’t ask. Maybe it’s someone you know is going to complain. So, it’s easier to disregard them. I have done that. 

I remember my next door neighbor always wanting to talk to me. It was always when I was getting in or out of my car in some hurry. Sometimes I would listen but often I would just say a quick “hi” and go. One time she was out in her driveway and I felt like Hashem was telling me to go over and listen to her. So, I did. I listened to her and showed her I cared. I am so glad I did. Because right after that she dropped dead from a brain aneurysm. It was my last time to be nice to her. 

Today, if someone crossed your path that looks sad, ask them why? And listen. Take time to minister Hashem’s love to those around you. It’s very very important.

Shabbat Reading #7 - Genesis chapter 40

40 After these things, the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cup bearer and the chief baker. 3 He put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. 4 The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he took care of them. They stayed in prison many days. 5 They both dreamed a dream, each man his dream, in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the cup bearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were bound in the prison. 6 Joseph came in to them in the morning, and saw them, and saw that they were sad. 7 He asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?”

8 They said to him, “We have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it.”

Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to Elohim? Please tell it to me.”

9 The chief cup bearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “In my dream, behold, a vine was in front of me, 10 and in the vine were three branches. It was as though it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters produced ripe grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.”

12 Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 Within three more days, Pharaoh will lift up your head, and restore you to your office. You will give Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, the way you did when you were his cup bearer. 14 But remember me when it is well with you. Please show kindness to me, and make mention of me to Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house. 15 For indeed, I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.”

16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said to Joseph, “I also was in my dream, and behold, three baskets of white bread were on my head. 17 In the uppermost basket there were all kinds of baked food for Pharaoh, and the birds ate them out of the basket on my head.”

18 Joseph answered, “This is its interpretation. The three baskets are three days. 19 Within three more days, Pharaoh will lift up your head from off you, and will hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh from off you.” 20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants, and he lifted up the head of the chief cup bearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21 He restored the chief cup bearer to his position again, and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; 22 but he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief cup bearer didn’t remember Joseph, but forgot him.


My Thoughts: 

Today’s reading is about Hashem’s prophets. Some of you may believe that prophecy has ended long ago, that the only prophets are those written about in Scripture. Others may believe that Hashem speaks to man today. There are many “prophets'' that speak through the internet, through conferences and churches. How do we know that they have really heard from Hashem? Maybe look at their “fruit”. Research and see if their previous prophecies have come true -- or are coming true. Pray and ask Hashem if they are for real. I do think it is something we should pay attention to.


Do you ever feel like Hashem has spoken something special to you? That He has a “word” for someone you know, or that He is asking you to do something special? My challenge to you today is to take a risk. Go forward and do what you think He says, see what happens. Or if it is something you are supposed to tell someone, do it. Just pray and see what happens. It could be very important and relevant. It could be a super blessing. I can tell you this, if you don’t go forward and it is from Hashem, you will regret it for the rest of your life.

Haftarah: Amos 2:6-3:8

2:6 Hashem says:

“For three transgressions of Israel, yes, for four, I will not turn away its punishment; because they have sold the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals; 7 They trample on the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and deny justice to the oppressed; and a man and his father use the same maiden, to profane my holy name; 8 and they lay themselves down beside every altar on clothes taken in pledge; and in the house of their Elohim they drink the wine of those who have been fined.

9 Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above; and his roots from beneath. 10 Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. 11 I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites. Isn’t this true, you children of Israel?” says Hashem.

12 “But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, and commanded the prophets, saying, ‘Don’t prophesy!’ 13 Behold, I will crush you in your place, as a cart crushes that is full of grain. 14 Flight will perish from the swift;

and the strong won’t strengthen his force; neither shall the mighty deliver himself; 15 neither shall he stand who handles the bow; and he who is swift of foot won’t escape; neither shall he who rides the horse deliver himself;

16 and he who is courageous among the mighty will flee away naked on that day,” says Hashem.

3 Hear this word that Hashem has spoken against you, children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt, saying: 2 “I have only chosen you of all the families of the earth. Therefore I will punish you for all of your sins.” 3 Do two walk together, unless they have agreed? 4 Will a lion roar in the thicket, when he has no prey?

Does a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing? 5 Can a bird fall in a trap on the earth, where no snare is set for him? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when there is nothing to catch? 6 Does the trumpet alarm sound in a city, without the people being afraid? Does evil happen to a city, and Hashem hasn’t done it?

7 Surely Hashem Adonai will do nothing, unless he reveals his secret to his servants the prophets, 8 The lion has roared. Who will not fear? Hashem Adonai has spoken. Who can but prophesy?


My Thoughts: 

Today's readings are about dreams. Joseph has a life changing dream from Hashem. He is to accept Mary as his wife and not disregard her. And not only that but in his dream he is told that she will give birth to the Mashiach - the long prayed for Messiah. What an incredible blessing that must have been to him. I wonder if he had a hard time believing this was true? But, maybe his faith in Hashem was so strong he was willing to believe and to accept.


How strong is your faith in Hashem? If He came to you in a dream or sent an angel to you and told you the Mashiach was returning would you believe Him? I think Joseph must have had incredible faith. Take some time today to think about your own faith. How can you make it stronger? Are you spending enough personal time with Hashem and getting to know Him and trust Him? Ask Him today to build your faith in Him -- confess your sins and admit you need help with this. Then when He shows Himself to you in some unique way -- you can believe it truly is Him!

Apostolic Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Yeshua HaMashiach was like this: After his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly. 20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of Hashem appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take to yourself Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She shall give birth to a son. You shall name Him Yeshua, for it is He who shall save his people from their sins.”

22 Now all this has happened that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Hashem through the prophet, saying,

23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child,

    and shall give birth to a son.

They shall call His name Immanuel,”

    which is, being interpreted, “Elohim with us.”Isaiah 7:14

24 Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of Hashem commanded him, and took his wife to himself; 25 and didn’t know her sexually until she had given birth to her firstborn son. He named Him Yeshua.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Vayeshev - Reading #6

Vayeshev וַיֵּשֶׁב - And He Settled

Genesis 37:1 - 40:23

Reading #6 - Genesis 39:7–23

My Thoughts: 

There it is again in verse 23 “...because Hashem was with him; and that which he did, Hashem made it prosper.” We read about how Hashem is with Joseph and how He prospers him. Even when he is sent to prison! It really doesn’t matter where you are, Hashem will meet you there and be faithful. Sometimes in the hardest of times, it is only because of Hashem that we are able to endure. But, it requires us to be obedient and faithful, to be close to Him. He is always there for us, we just need to seek Him.


If you are not happy at work, in your relationship, or suffering from poor health -- today I challenge you to make the very best of your situation. That is what Joseph did! He was cast off from his brothers, sold into slavery, taken to be a servant, betrayed by a woman and thrown in prison. Yet, he rises above it all and does his best to reflect the love and grace of the almighty Hashem. Others see the light of Hashem in him and respect him. This ends up in promotion and prosperity -- and many blessings. Try to reflect Hashem’s love today to others around you, even if you are in the hardest of times! The joy of Hashem is your strength!

Reading #6 - Genesis 39:7–23

39:7 After these things, his master’s wife set her eyes on Joseph; and she said, “Lie with me.”

8 But he refused, and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, my master doesn’t know what is with me in the house, and he has put all that he has into my hand. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am, and he has not kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against Elohim?”

10 As she spoke to Joseph day by day, he didn’t listen to her, to lie by her, or to be with her. 11 About this time, he went into the house to do his work, and there were none of the men of the house inside. 12 She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!”

He left his garment in her hand, and ran outside. 13 When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and had run outside, 14 she called to the men of her house, and spoke to them, saying, “Behold, he has brought a Hebrew in to us to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice. 15 When he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment by me, and ran outside.” 16 She laid up his garment by her, until his master came home. 17 She spoke to him according to these words, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought to us, came in to me to mock me, 18 and as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment by me, and ran outside.”

19 When his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your servant did to me,” his wrath was kindled. 20 Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were bound, and he was there in custody. 21 But Hashem was with Joseph, and showed kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 The keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever they did there, he was responsible for it. 23 The keeper of the prison didn’t look after anything that was under his hand, because Hashem was with him; and that which he did, Hashem made it prosper.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Vayeshev - Reading #5

Vayeshev וַיֵּשֶׁב - And He Settled

Genesis 37:1 - 40:23

Reading #5 - Genesis 39:1–6

My Thoughts: 

This is quite amazing. In verse 2 we are told “Hashem was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man.” Did you ever know anyone who knew Hashem and also did really well in all he/she did? They seem to be really prosperous and a really good person. Or maybe that happens to you too? Sometimes in my life I feel so blessed. Almost like I am spoiled. Like Hashem gives me everything! I guess you could say that is being prosperous, because Hashem is with me? I hope so!


Try to get closer to Hashem today. Read Scripture, pray and just sit and talk to Him. Then see how the rest of your day goes. See if He blesses you more than other days. In other words, see if Hashem will be “with” you and then watch Him bless (prosper) you.

Reading #5 - Genesis 39:1–6

39 Joseph was brought down to Egypt. Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the hand of the Ishmaelites that had brought him down there. 2 Hashem was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man. He was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 His master saw that Hashem was with him, and that Hashem made all that he did prosper in his hand. 4 Joseph found favor in his sight. He ministered to him, and Potiphar made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. 5 From the time that he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, Hashem blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake. Hashem’s blessing was on all that he had, in the house and in the field. 6 He left all that he had in Joseph’s hand. He didn’t concern himself with anything, except for the food which he ate.

Joseph was well-built and handsome.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Vayeshev - Reading #4

Vayeshev וַיֵּשֶׁב - And He Settled

Genesis 37:1 - 40:23

Reading #4 - Genesis chapter 38

My Thoughts: 

We learn about Tamar in this reading today. What is so very interesting is that Tamar is in the ancestral line of David and Yeshua! Yet we read of her “schemes” to get pregnant by Judah. We weren’t there to know what compelled her to act in this way of deception, but for some reason she does. And out of her line of ancestry comes kings and a Mashiach! It makes me think of what I heard in Israel on a trip (I mentioned this in another reading) – Hashem doesn’t “waste” anything. He wanted the bloodlines of David and Yeshua to come through Jacob and this is the path He chose. We don’t know why. But, we do know He often makes something very good out of something not-so-good. 


Have you ever tricked or manipulated a situation to get what you want? I have. Especially when I was younger before I was in a deep relationship with Hashem. I would “use” my friend to get things I wanted -- at her expense. I would talk her into stealing her mother’s credit card to buy cigarettes and alcohol for us to party with. It was wrong, and I am regretful to this day. Did anything good come out of my ill behavior? The only good thing I can attest to is that Hashem has used my prior “experiences” in life to minister to others in trouble. I understand what they are going through, because I did the same. If you were involved in something you regretted with another person, think about how G-d used it all for good. It will help you to realize that G-d does not waste anything! Even our bad experiences!

Reading #4 - Genesis chapter 38

38 At that time, Judah went down from his brothers, and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2 There, Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite man named Shua. He took her, and went in to her. 3 She conceived, and bore a son; and he named him Er. 4 She conceived again, and bore a son; and she named him Onan. 5 She yet again bore a son, and named him Shelah. He was at Chezib when she bore him. 6 Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in Hashem’s sight. So Hashem killed him. 8 Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 Onan knew that the offspring wouldn’t be his; and when he went in to his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. 10 The thing which he did was evil in Hashem’s sight, and he killed him also. 11 Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, until Shelah, my son, is grown up;” for he said, “Lest he also die, like his brothers.” Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.

12 After many days, Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died. Judah was comforted, and went up to his sheep shearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah, the Adullamite. 13 Tamar was told, “Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 She took off the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she wasn’t given to him as a wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought that she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 He turned to her by the way, and said, “Please come, let me come in to you,” for he didn’t know that she was his daughter-in-law.

She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?”

17 He said, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.”

She said, “Will you give me a pledge, until you send it?”

18 He said, “What pledge will I give you?”

She said, “Your signet and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.”

He gave them to her, and came in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 She arose, and went away, and put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20 Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend, the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, but he didn’t find her. 21 Then he asked the men of her place, saying, “Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the road?”

They said, “There has been no prostitute here.”

22 He returned to Judah, and said, “I haven’t found her; and also the men of the place said, ‘There has been no prostitute here.’” 23 Judah said, “Let her keep it, lest we be shamed. Behold, I sent this young goat, and you haven’t found her.”

24 About three months later, Judah was told, “Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has played the prostitute. Moreover, behold, she is with child by prostitution.”

Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” 25 When she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “I am with child by the man who owns these.” She also said, “Please discern whose these are—the signet, and the cords, and the staff.”

26 Judah acknowledged them, and said, “She is more righteous than I, because I didn’t give her to Shelah, my son.”

He knew her again no more. 27 In the time of her travail, behold, twins were in her womb. 28 When she travailed, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This came out first.” 29 As he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out, and she said, “Why have you made a breach for yourself?” Therefore his name was called Perez. 30 Afterward his brother came out, who had the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Vayeshev - Reading #3

Vayeshev וַיֵּשֶׁב - And He Settled
Genesis 37:1 - 40:23
Reading #3 - Genesis 37:23–36

My Thoughts: 

Doesn’t Hashem always provide a way of escape? Here is Joseph thrown into a water-less pit, left to die. And along comes a caravan of men to rescue him. The brothers see this and seem to be alright with it. In fact, they devise a plan to prove to their father that he is dead (blood on his tunic). The Torah is full of people, just like you and me, that are not perfect by any measure and who make distinctly bad choices. The point is, Joseph is rescued and sold. He lives. Maybe not the life he had, but he is given another chance at life. Hashem is like that. I can think of so many times in my life when He “saved” me from a really bad situation. Sometimes miraculously. If you need “rescuing” right now, lift your eyes up to Him and ask Him to save you!


Today look around you and see if you know of anyone who has “fallen into a pit”. Someone who may be suffering from loneliness, depression or hopelessness. See if you can find a way to “lift” them out of their darkness. Pray for them and ask Hashem how you could be of help. You may be surprised. Your first step may be to simply go and visit them and talk and listen. Hashem will show you what is next. They will be blessed and so will you!

Reading #3 - Genesis 37:23–36

23 When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him; 24 and they took him, and threw him into the pit. The pit was empty. There was no water in it.

25 They sat down to eat bread, and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spices and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, and let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not let our hand be on him; for he is our brother, our flesh.” His brothers listened to him. 28 Midianites who were merchants passed by, and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. The merchants brought Joseph into Egypt.

29 Reuben returned to the pit, and saw that Joseph wasn’t in the pit; and he tore his clothes. 30 He returned to his brothers, and said, “The child is no more; and I, where will I go?” 31 They took Joseph’s tunic, and killed a male goat, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32 They took the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father, and said, “We have found this. Examine it, now, and see if it is your son’s tunic or not.”

33 He recognized it, and said, “It is my son’s tunic. An evil animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces.” 34 Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. He said, “For I will go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” His father wept for him. 36 The Midianites sold him into Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Vayeshev - Reading #2

Vayeshev וַיֵּשֶׁב - And He Settled

Genesis 37:1 - 40:23

Reading #2 - Genesis 37:12–22

My Thoughts: 

Joseph’s brothers plot to kill him. It appears that the special “privilege” that has been given to Joseph has really upset his brothers, which is a totally normal reaction. But, to be upset and to plan to kill someone are two different reactions. Reuben stands up for Joseph (sort of) and recommends they don’t kill him, just throw him in the pit and someone will discover him. So, he can learn his lesson.

Have you ever wanted to throw someone off a cliff? Maybe not physically, but in your heart you have despised them and hoped they would die? Or maybe even you have said or done hurtful things to this person because of your jealousy of them? I believe this is the “root” of gossip. When we are jealous or offended by someone else, we want to talk about them in a negative way to get back at them. It’s not right, and if you have done or are doing this -- stop. Hashem does not like gossip and considers it a sin. It can keep you from a “right” relationship with Hashem. Amend your ways and seek forgiveness.


I have already given you a challenge in the section above. To stop gossiping. I heard it said once that if you couldn’t say something to someone’s face, then you better not say it at all. If you are talking to someone and they start gossiping, just tell them you would rather not participate in this conversation without the person you are talking about being there. We can learn to stop gossiping and we can gently teach others to do the same.

Reading #2 - Genesis 37:12–22

12 His brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.” He said to him, “Here I am.”

14 He said to him, “Go now, see whether it is well with your brothers, and well with the flock; and bring me word again.” So he sent him out of the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 A certain man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field. The man asked him, “What are you looking for?”

16 He said, “I am looking for my brothers. Tell me, please, where they are feeding the flock.”

17 The man said, “They have left here, for I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”

Joseph went after his brothers, and found them in Dothan. 18 They saw him afar off, and before he came near to them, they conspired against him to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Behold, this dreamer comes. 20 Come now therefore, and let’s kill him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, ‘An evil animal has devoured him.’ We will see what will become of his dreams.”

21 Reuben heard it, and delivered him out of their hand, and said, “Let’s not take his life.” 22 Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him”—that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father.