Yom Teruah Special (Audio Portion)

Chag Sameyach and welcome to the start of our wonderful fall feast season! We kick off this very special month of Tishri with Yom Teruah, the day of shofar blasting, the seventh new moon of the year and a day that may actually point to the Second Coming of the Messiah. Explore the connections between that and the rabbinic Rosh Hashanna, from from the creation of Adam in Genesis to the deepest patterns of Revelation, Yom Teruah covers it all! Enjoy! Keep Reeding

Ki Tavo (Audio Portion)

Ki Tavo means “when you enter” and begins with a variety of agricultural regulations that take effect once Israel has entered Canaan. Other regulations, such as that of tithing, are further instituted in the 26th chapter. 26 also contains a veiled rebuke from Moshe to the previous generation as he points out how good the land was, just as Abba YHWH commanded but this was not accepted as fact by Israel. As 27 opens, the Israelites will then hurl blessings from Mount Gerizim and curses from Ebal, as we spoke at length about earlier. The curses are a re-statement of the prohibitions in the Ten Commandments. The blessings for obedience then follow suit in chapter 28 and a very extensive category of curses for disobedience follows for the rest of that chapter. Chapter 29 begins with Moshe on a hopeful note, restating how Abba YHWH has been with them all even while being chastised, to get ready for this great moment of entering the Promised Land.

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Ki Teze (Audio Portion)

Ki Teze means “when you go out” as in terms of when Israel confronts her enemies on the battle field. One main war regulation is given at the start, and that is what to do with a woman taken captive from the nations that a Jewish man wants to make a wife. From there other requirements about marriage under other circumstances follow that have nothing to do with war. Many other marital and purity regulations follow for the remainder of this portion.

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Shofetim (Audio Portion)

Shofetim means “judges” and Deuteronomy 16:18 begins with the command to appoint them. The Torah had suggested that these courts had to be established to resolve general disputes (Exodus 21:22, 22:8) but only here do we find the specific command to set these courts up in every city, probably because prior to this time they were not close to being settled in the land. Other warnings to kill idolaters in their midst follow along the lines of Deuteronomy 13 but lacking the provision that they do so even if predicted signs and wonders come true from the idolater’s mouth. Still other restatements of how courts should issue rulings, the roles of witnesses and the residing of the Levites with each tribe’s territory follow. Various other legal matters relating specifically to accidental death and serious injury are addressed in the remainder of the portion with a small break dedicated to rules of war.

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Re’eh (Audio Portion)

Re’eh means “see” and it begins with that great summary of the covenant: I set aside two ways for you, blessing and cursing, life and death. Shortly afterwards, a number of regulations about the place for Abba YHWH’s Name—Jerusalem though no one other than Abba YHWH knows that yet — are given. Some kosher regulations are restated or clarified and the law of the shemittah is given and explained. The portion wraps up with a restatement of the Hebrew festivals.

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Ekev (Audio Portion)

“Ekev” means “because” or “if only” Following the theme of last week’s parsha of Va’etchanan, Moshe continues his urgent pleas to this current generation to realize that they are honor-bound to continue in the covenant originally granted to their fathers and that they, in a limited sense, share blame with their fathers for what went wrong.
However, the positive side is also great in that they, unlike their fathers can inherit the Promised Land “if only” they obey and repent!

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Va’etchanan (Audio Portion)

Va’etchanan means “and I pleaded” or “and I asked for favor/mercy.” This is Moshe pleading with Abba
YHWH one last time to ask to be allowed to enter into the Promised Land. Abba YHWH though utterly refuses and says, “Speak to Me no more on this matter!” After an extensive prologue in chapter 4, the Ten Commandments are re-
stated in chapter 5 and the foundational Shema prayer of course is the highlight of the Tanakh. as well as chapter 6! The remainder of the portion is concerned with reinforcing obedience as the way to a better life.

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Devarim (Audio Portion)

The last day of Moshe’s life begins and the stakes could not be higher. Israel has a new but unexperienced generation tasked with outdoing their fathers who failed in sight of so many miracles. They will either take the Torah to the nations or die soon after entering the Promised Land. Never has Moshe’s message had a greater sense of urgency!

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Masei (Audio Portion)

Masei means “the journeys,” and the entire 33rd chapter is devoted to the list of the 42 places the Israelites stopped at along the way to Canaan. The rest of the portion concerns detailed rules about what the land’s borders will be, which tribe gets what, and general rules on inheritance. There is a sequel at the end of the portion where the daughters of Tzelophehad are told they must marry within their tribe to inherit. If they marry outside, they do not get their inheritance.

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Mattot (Audio Portion)

Mattot means “the tribes,” but also has very interesting secondary meanings of “staff, scepter, rod, branch,” all of which seem relevant here. The portion opens with a discussion on the need to fulfill valid oaths to Abba YHWH to the letter-valid meaning that the oath is not contradictory to Abba YHWH’s laws or pronouncements. Various examples and applications of this principle follow. Then it is time to actually go to war against Midian. It is interesting that the previous portion had Israel get ready for this mentally, by totally changing their attitude and then Abba YHWH says, “Now is the time.” Midian is crushed and defeated completely. Then in chapter 32 the sons of Gad and Reuben ask to take land other than Canaan for their inheritance. Both Moshe and Abba YHWH rebuke this horrible idea, “Shall your brothers go to war while you remain here?” Abba YHWH again confirms His judgment that none of those who came out of Egypt 20 years and older will see the Promised Land except to Joshua and Caleb. Eventually though Moshe relents and says Gad and Reuben can have their request granted if they perform honorably and effectively in the upcoming war. The agreement is sealed, and their request is granted.

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Balak (Audio Portion)

Balak refers to the man, Balak of Zippor, who was the king of Moab and a resolute enemy of Israel. When Balak then hears of a man named Balaam who can predict the future and cast curses, he hires him to curse Israel. However, Balaam can truly hear Abba YHWH’s Will and Abba YHWH tells him plainly that he can’t curse Israel. On three occasions the king of Moab wants a curse against Israel but only gets blessings for them instead. And then Balaam gives a fourth blessing on his way out—one for the proverbial road as it were.

Ironically also, Balaam disobeys Abba YHWH even as he correctly delivers the message, for Abba YHWH doesn’t want him to go to the king of Moab in the first place. When Balaam disobeys, he gets on his donkey to make the journey, but the donkey sees a vision of a Messenger from Abba YHWH and refuses to budge. Balaam beats the donkey three times and then the beast protests by complaining that she sees the Messenger barring her way. Eventually the Messenger allows Balaam to see the king of Moab who must then abandon his plans against Israel.

However, the ultimate irony is that what Balak could not achieve through either military or supernatural means he did through just sending in some Midianite party girls. Once Israel went astray with those pagan ladies, a plague came and killed many more than would have perished by Balak’s sword. Israel’s worst enemy is Israel.

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Chukkat (Audio Portion)

“Chukkat” means “statute” and the portion opens with the requirements of the famous red heifer, that perfect red young cow that is so sacred, nothing else will do to inaugurate the entire sacrificial infrastructure. Not surprisingly then, the requirements for finding and then preparing for such a massively important sacrifice are detailed and intricate. Other purity laws follow after which we are confronted with the sad news of Moshe’s sister Miriam dying. Ironically, instead of Moshe getting compassion from the Israelites on this occasion they immediately rise up in rebellion against him once more! In response to this latest threat, Abba YHWH assembles all of Israel and tells Moshe He will cause water to come from a rock that Moshe will strike with his staff.

The problem is of course Moshe doesn’t wait for the official command to do so and impulsively strikes the rock twice. The waters come out and Israel is refreshed, but Moshe and Aaron are punished for not being more patient. Abba YHWH tells them plainly that neither of them will enter into the Promised Land. After these events, the Israelites ask permission to pass through the lands of their Edomite cousins, but their king refuses. This time though, Abba YHWH does not punish the Edomites because He is primarily incensed with Israel, so He simply orders them around Edom to a place called Mount Hor. It is there that Abba YHWH exacts the first part of His punishment against Moshe and Aaron, by having Aaron die on that mountain. The final full chapter (21) ends as the first one in this portion did. Israel asks for deliverance—this time from the Canaanites. Abba YHWH delivers and then Israel complains again, resulting in punishment. Are we learning yet?

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