Pekudei / Accounting Of
This Torah portion brings the book of Exodus, Shemot to an end. Pekudei is the completion of the Tabernacle. This was the place where God would meet with His people. It was a place of precise instruction in forming, molding and building; a place of holiness and set apart.
The Israelites have finally completed the work of building the Tabernacle when we then read: ‘So all the work on the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was completed. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses … Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them. ‘(Exodus 39: 32-43).
There are three very important words; complete, work and bless. These words are first read in Genesis 2 and the astute similarities are not accidental. They are how the Torah tells us that one incident is to be read in the context of another. In this case the Torah is saying that Exodus ends as Genesis began, with a work of creation. Note the difference as well as the similarity.
Genesis 2:1-3: ‘The heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. On the seventh day God finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.’
Genesis began with an act of Divine creation and Exodus ends with an act of human creation, which continues with the creation of Yeshua to, in and through us.
A wonderful parallel is being drawn between God’s creation of the universe and the Israelites’ creation of the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary represented God on Earth, as Yeshua came as God on earth. The tabernacle was built with the same precision as the universe, God’s holy way. It was a place of order as was creation as is Yeshua.. The Sanctuary was a visible reminder of God’s presence within the camp, itself a metaphor for God’s presence within the universe as a whole. Yeshua is now a visible reminder of God dwelling within us.
Complete, work and bless.
In John chapter 2 there is an altercation between Yeshua and the people selling oxen, sheep and doves and the money changers in front of the temple. At that point Yeshua references Himself to The Temple.
‘So the Jews answered Him and said, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Yeshua answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:18-19.
In John 19:28-30 Yeshua completes His earthly mission: ‘After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.’
1 Corinthians 3:16 states that we are the temple of the Living God and we are to be holy for God is holy. ‘Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him for the temple of God is holy and that is what you are.’ Rabbi Shaul references the temple of God reiterating that it was Holy, Yeshua was/is holy and we are now the temple and are holy.
Colossians 2:10 tells us that we are complete in Yeshua.
Philippians 2:13 states that it is God who is at work in us and Ephesians 2:10 states that we are His workmanship created in Yeshua for good works.
The blessings from Elohim are abundant; James 1:17, Isaiah 41:10, and John 1:16 which emphasis that grace, chesed was already given.
‘Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.’ John 1:16;
We are completed in the works of Yeshua and we are certainly blessed.
Chazak! Chazak! V’nitchazek! Be Strong! Be Strong! And May We Be Strengthened!
VaYakhel / And He Assembled
This parsha begins with the importance of the Sabbath. Exodus 35:1-3 ‘Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said to them, “These are the words which the Lord has commanded you to do: 2 Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. 3 You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”
These instructions regarding Shabbat are given immediately before the instructions of the articles of the Tabernacle. Again, God puts His emphasis upon Shabbat.
This particular day was instituted in creation, Genesis 2:1-2.
Sabbath was blessed and sanctified by The Creator Himself. Genesis 2:3.
Yeshua was involved with the creation of The Sabbath. John 1:3, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2.
Who did God create the Sabbath for? Mark 2:27.
Psalms 118:24 calls it the day the LORD made and for us to rejoice.
We are to remember the Sabbath, Exodus 20:8-11.
We are to keep it holy, Exodus 35:2.
It is the seventh day of Gods, Deuteronomy 5:12-14.
God brought His people out with a mighty hand and commanded us to observe the Sabbath, Deuteronomy 5:15.
It is a sign between God and His people, Exodus 31:17.
It is a holy convocation, Leviticus 23:3.
We are blessed if we do not profane the Sabbath, Isaiah 56:2.
It is holy to us, Exodus 31:14.
We keep the Sabbath because God Is LORD, Leviticus 19:30.
Sabbath is to be sanctified, Ezekiel 20:20.
Yeshua taught on the Sabbath, Mark 1:21-25, Luke 4:31-35.
Yeshua healed on Shabbath, Matthew 12:9-14, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 13:10-17, Luke 14:1-6.
Rabbi Shaul taught from the Torah on Sabbath, Acts 13:14, Acts 15:21, Acts 16:13, Acts 17:2, Acts 18:4.
There is no factual reasoning that Sabbath is not the seventh day. There are no facts to negate the sanctification of the seventh day, the Sabbath. There are no statements or facts in Scripture that ‘un’ holy the Sabbath. There are no verses that state that God, Yeshua, or Paul undid the Sabbath and reinstated Sunday.
Sunday is never mentioned in Scripture. It is referred to as the first day of the week and occurs just eight times in the New Testament. Not one of the eight references state that it is replacing the Sabbath, overriding the Sabbath, and taking the place in the Fourth Commandment. The references to the first day are according to a time frame, and we must remember that the days of God begin at sunset, not midnight. The timing of day to day was also altered by another system from midnight to midnight, the same religious system that changed the Sabbath for their benefit as the seventh day to Sunday. Any religious entity or person that is not observing the Sabbath but replaced it with Sunday is under the authority of that religious system - the Catholic Church. The Sabbath is paramount in knowing God and serving Him – His way.
By convincing ourselves that ‘any’ day will do, or that Sunday is the Lord’s Day, we have tried to elevate ourselves by justifying things our way. We were once fooled, but now is the time for those that seek the truth and truly love the LORD with all our heart, soul and mind to ditch man’s system and embrace the Shabbat.
The Sabbath is God, it is His sign, and it is His peace, His time, His will. May you be blessed as you observe, remember and keep the Sabbath day.
Ki Tisa / When You Raise
The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy
Ki Tisa begins as God instructs Moshe to take a census. This is a census of giving to Elohim instead of simply counting. Each man gives a ransom for himself to God in a half shekel. This counting in turn is an offering to God, making atonement for the Israelites and it is appointed for the service of the tabernacle. The counting of the Israelites this way is symbolic to us as it shows us that we aren’t to count our blessings, rather we are to give towards Elohim. When we count our blessings, we limit God, and we number the good that He has done in our lives. How could we possibly count or remember every little detail of our lives? Even trials that we have gone through are blessings, simply being a live is a blessing. How could we know what is to come? It is explained that when we count things we limit. ‘To count’, (לספור) in Hebrew, is from the word SePhaR or SaPaR (/חתך/ספר/גבול – border/frontier/cut), meaning that whenever we count we limit the Light of Life. Focusing on counting our blessings takes the bliss out of it and places a limit on Elohim.
Ki Tisa continues with God calling the craftsmen to design the gold, silver and jewels for the tabernacle. Exodus 31:12-14 reiterates the importance of Shabbat. ‘And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. ‘
Look at the importance of verse thirteen: God calls them His Sabbaths, they are a sign between God and us and it is for the purpose to know that it is God that sanctifies us. Is the opposite then true, that if we do not honor the Sabbath, we are honoring the sign between God and ourselves and we are therefore out of His sanctification?
Parsha Ki Tisa chapter 32 includes the making of the golden calf and the anger of Elohim, Moshe pleading with God and the plague that struck the Hebrews because of their worship of the golden calf. This is followed with the 13 Attributes of Mercy.
Exodus 34:5-7 ‘Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.’
- The Lord is merciful before a person sins.
- The Lord is merciful after a person sins.
- God / El / His mercy surpasses all
- God is compassionate
- God is gracious
- Slow to anger
- Abundant in kindness
- Preserver of kindness
- Forgiver of iniquity
- Forgiver of willful sin
- Forgiver of error
- The God who cleanses
Baruch HaShem! Rabbi Jay
Tetzaveh / You Shall Command
The Eternal Light…
Exodus 27:20-21 states: ‘And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. 21 In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.’
In everything that the Torah represents, one of the major representations is the Messiah. He is the Living Word, which is reiterated in John 1:1 and is found within the pages of the Torah, prophets and Psalms. Just this simple paragraph of Exodus 27:20-21 connects us to the Messiah, Yeshua through oil and fire.
Oil was used to consecrate the priests, Leviticus 8:30. Oil was used for healing, James 5:14. Oil was used to anoint kings, 1 Samuel 10:1, 1 Samuel 16:1,13, 1 Kings 1:39. Oil was used for worship, Numbers 15:4-10. Oil is a first fruit in Deuteronomy 18:4, 2 Chronicles 31:5, Nehemiah 10:37. Oil is likened to gladness, Psalm 45:7, and to anoint David in Psalm 89:20.
Yeshua is our High Priest and He heals. He is our King and He leads us to worship The Father. Yeshua is The First Fruit, He is joy and gladness and He is from the line of David.
God is eternal fire and light. Exodus 3:2. God uses fire to answer, Leviticus 9:24. Fire comes from Heaven, Exodus 9:23. The Messiah is fire, Revelation 2:18. God’s word is likened to fire, Jeremiah 20:9. There is the fire of the spirit, Revelation 4:5. We have an inward fire, Psalm 39:3, and the Holy Spirit is likened to fire in Acts 2:3-4.
The oil in Exodus 27:20-21 is specifically used to keep the flame burning perpetually. In our life now, we use this teaching to enlighten us to use the pure pressed oil within us to keep the fire of The Lord burning within us.
Romans 12:11-13 ‘Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord. When you hope be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. Share with the people of God who are in need, welcome others into your homes.’
Blessings ~ Rabbi Jay
Terumah / Offering
Terumah begins with a very interesting instruction; ‘Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.’ Notice Elohim states to give from the willingness of the heart to take His offering. It is not our offering unto God, but His offering through our love and obedience to Him that thus creates our offering. We are to offer what He desires, not what we think He wants. Isaiah 55:8 ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.’
Does God need our offerings? Of course not, He desires our offerings – from the willingness of the heart.
Exodus 25 continues in great detail about the offerings including gold and silver and the colors and fabrics to bring to make the Tabernacle. Exodus 26 continues in great detail in regards the size. Did God need a Tabernacle for Him to dwell? And can God be contained within a size? No, He does need a physical place and He cannot be contained as the prophets and King Solomon state.
“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain You. How much less this Temple I have built.” 1 Kings 8:27.
“Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house you will build for Me? Where will My resting place be?” Isaiah 66:1.
So no physical space, however large, is big enough. On the other hand, no space is too small: 1 Kings 19:11-12 ‘Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.’
The dimensions of the universe are precise and exact. Had they differed in even the slightest degree the universe and life would not exist. Precision matters. Order matters. Being good, specifically being holy, is not a matter of acting as the spirit moves us. It is a matter of aligning ourselves to the Will that made the world.
That is where we must carefully and instinctively live the exact will of Abba Father. Otherwise we are out of alignment. What is the point of the exact colors, fibers and measurements of a Tabernacle that would eventually cease to exist as the Temples were built? Elohim was preparing and teaching the children of Israel the exactness of His Will.
Yeshua reminds us how important the will of The Father is in Mark 3:35 ‘For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”
In the prior Torah portion, Mishpatim, God is clear of what He desires of us. ‘You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars.’ Exodus 23:24.
Deuteronomy 11:13-14 states: ‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 4 then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. 15 And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.’
God’s decrees are exact and precise. They matter. They matter to Him and they matter to us in our lives. He is exact on dates for His High Holy Days, His Shabbat, He is exact in detail regarding foods we eat and do not eat. He is exact in His instructions of the way we should live and treat one another. When we deny one of these precise measurements, we fold. Our house is built on sand.
Baruch HaShem ~ Rabbi Jay
Mishpatim / Judgments
“Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them: 2 If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing. 3 If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. 5 But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.”
God has just brought the children of Israel out of the bondage and slavery of Egypt. He has physically freed them, but mentally they were still under the concept of slavery. So why open this parsha with seemingly the continuation of slavery?
There is a nudge of freewill in this very first judgment that points to the Messiah as He was and is and is to come.
We are bought:
1 Corinthians 6:20 ‘For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.’
1 Corinthians 7:20-23 ‘ Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.’
We have a freewill choice:
Deuteronomy 30:19 ‘I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life that both you and your descendants may live.’
Joshua 24:15-20 ‘ And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Galatians 5:13 ‘For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.’
To stay and serve:
1 Samuel 12:24 ‘Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.’
John 12:26 ‘If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.’
Colossians 3:23-24 ‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the The Messiah Yeshua.’
James 1:1 ‘James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings…’
And the greatest example:
Matthew 23:11 ‘The greatest among you shall be your servant.’
Mark 10:45 ‘For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
May we choose to serve Elohim forever so that we are His jewels…
Your words have been harsh against Me,”
Says the Lord,
“Yet you say,
‘What have we spoken against You?’
14 You have said,
‘It is useless to serve God;
What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance,
And that we have walked as mourners
Before the Lord of hosts?
15 So now we call the proud blessed,
For those who do wickedness are raised up;
They even tempt God and go free.’ ”
16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.
17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,
“On the day that I make them My jewels.’
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
18 Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him.’
Rabbi Jay Howard
Yitro / Jethro
Exodus chapter 20, begins with: ‘“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.’ This is the premise from God to His people in regards to the Ten Words. He is reminding His people – again- who He is, what He did and where we once were. How very sobering.
Exodus 20 continues with the Ten Words. These are also known as Aseret ha-D'varim.
Exodus 34:28 states: ‘ So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Words.’ Deuteronomy 4:13 states: ‘So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Words; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.’ Deuteronomy 10:4 states: ‘And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Words, which the Lord had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me.’
It is “Ten Words” in the Hebrew language. They form the foundational concepts of the Kingdom of God, His ethics, His decrees; Va y’mer.
In rabbinical texts, they are referred to as Aseret ha-Dibrot. The words d'varim and dibrot come from the Hebrew root: Dalet, Beit, Reish, meaning word, speak or thing; so the phrase is accurately translated as the Ten Sayings, the Ten Statements, the Ten Declarations, the Ten Words or even the Ten Things, but not as the Ten Commandments, which would be Aseret ha-Mitzvot. Why the mistranslation?
One thought is that during the beginning years of anti-semitism, the wording ‘The Ten Commandments’ instead of the accurate translation ‘The Ten Words’ would give more credence and weight to ‘The Ten Commandments’ than the other ordinances and statutes contained in the 613 mitzvots therefore almost negating these other commandments. It therefore morphed into: “All you have to do is follow are the10 Commandments…” History speaks for itself as the Sabbath for the seventh day was eventually changed to the first day beginning with the decree on 321 AD in the Council of Nicaea.
However, each of the 613 mitzvot can be subsumed under one of these ten categories, some in more obvious ways than others. The translation to ‘commandments’ also allowed two major denominations, Catholicism and Protestantism to not only change the first commandment, but it gave them a false sense of permission to change the commandments to fit their agenda, thus the loss of the Sabbat on the seventh day, the false sense of permission to eat anything and to ignore high holy days of Elohim.
Major religions divide up the commandments in different ways Judaism, unlike Catholicism and Protestantism, considers "I am the Lord, your God" to be the first "commandment." The differences are seen below:
1. I am the Lord your God: You shall not have strange Gods before me.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
4. Honor your father and mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall make no idols.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10.You shall not covet
1. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.” (Exodus 20:2)
2. “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol. You shall not recognize other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” (Exodus 20:3–4)
3.”You shall not take the name of God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)
4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant, your animal or your stranger within your gates.” (Exodus 20:8–10)
5. “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” (Exodus 20:12)
6. “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)
7. “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:13)
8. “You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:13)
9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:13)
10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:14)
Deuteronomy 4:2 ‘You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.’
Deuteronomy 12:32 ‘Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.’
Proverbs 30:5-6 ‘Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.’
Revelation 22:18 ‘For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;’
Shabbat Shalom ~ Rabbi Jay
Beshalach / When He Let Go
Beshalach continues the events of the Great Exodus. In chapter 14 God hardens the heart of Pharaoh once again to glorify Him, ‘Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.’ Exodus 14:4.
Exodus 14:13-14 contains great wisdom for us today: ‘And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” This instruction is so important; ‘stand still and see the salvation of God’ which is Yeshua, salvation from YHWH and the Ways of Elohim.
Torah portion Beshalach contains so many references to water; from the crossing of the red sea, to the bitter waters made sweet, the 12 wells of water and the living water from the rock.
Interesting that in Exodus 15:25-26 God connects the bitter waters, which were now made sweet and able to drink, to obedience and healing. ‘So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”
In Exodus 17:6-7 God commands Moses to strike the rock bringing forth water for the Israelites. Even though they are given water, they still grumble. ‘Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
The huge distinct difference between God and His people (us) is made clear in Exodus 15:25 and Exodus 17:7. In Exodus 15:25 we are told that God tested them. In Exodus 17:7 we are told that the people tempted God. Test vs. tempt. We cannot test God and He will not tempt us. However, life is a test, and the tests are from the Living God, but we often tempt Him throughout our lives.
Beshalach is such good example to us in regards to the sweet water and living waters of salvation and life!
John 4:4 “…but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."
John 7:37-38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.’
Jeremiah 17:13 ‘O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You will be put to shame Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD.’
Zechariah 14:8-9 ‘And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.’
Joel 3:18 ‘And in that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; and a spring will go out from the house of the LORD to water the valley of Shittim.’
Isaiah 12:3-6 ‘Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And in that day you will say: ““Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples,
make mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the Lord,for He has done excellent things;
this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”
Revelation 7:27 ‘for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.’
Revelation 21:6-8 ‘Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alef and Tav, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Revelation 22:1-2 ‘Then He showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.’
Isaiah 49:10 ‘"They will not hunger or thirst, nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; for He who has compassion on them will lead them and will guide them to springs of water.’
Song of Songs 4:15 ‘"You are a garden spring, A well of fresh water, and streams flowing from Lebanon."
Baruch Hashem! Rabbi Jay
Bo / Come
This Torah portion contains the last three plagues of the Exodus. God again hardens the heart of Pharaoh and brings the plagues of locust, darkness and finally death upon Egypt. It is in Exodus 20:2 that we read, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.’
Bo parsha is full of declarations by YHWH in regards to His strength, His plan and His greatness as He brought His people out of bondage. And this reminder of His strength continues through out Scripture.
Exodus 12:17 ‘You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance.’
Exodus 12:51 ‘And on that same day the LORD brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.’
Exodus 13:9 ‘And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt.’
Exodus 13:13-14 ‘Redeem every firstborn among your sons. “In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.’
After the great Exodus, God continues and follows commands with a reminder to His people who He is and exactly what He did.
Leviticus 11:45 ‘For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.'
Leviticus 19:36 'You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.’
Leviticus 23:43 ‘…so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'"
Leviticus 25:38 'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.’
Leviticus 25:42 'For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale.’
Leviticus 25:55 'For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.’
Leviticus 26:13 ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.’
Leviticus 26:45 'But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the LORD.'"
Numbers 15:41 "I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God."
Jeremiah 32:21 'You brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror…’
Jeremiah 34:13 "Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'I made a covenant with your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, saying…’
Leviticus 26:13 is especially noteworthy as God specifically states that He broke bars of a yoke and made His people walk erect. A yoke is a wooden beam normally used between a pair of oxen or other animals to enable them to pull together on a load when working in pairs. It is also a steering mechanism, used to control oxen.
The yoke that God breaks is the bondage and slavery of the Egyptian rule, including the culture of oppression and domination by the Egyptian rulers over the Israelites, thus seeping the Hebrews deeper into a controlled state of bondage. God broke that yoke of oppression and subjugation. And what was the walk that caused His people to walk erect? The walk, the Halacha of Elohim, His Torah.
Yeshua in Matthew 11:28-30 defines the yoke of His ways and will, ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Since the Father and the Son are One, and Yeshua came to glorify the Father, then He is absolutely referring to the yoke, or the Ways – Torah – of the Father. Here Yeshua is making a reference to His way of life that offers us, His people rest and a yoke of order and lightness.
We know that when we walk in the Torah with the Spirit, it is not burdensome, but rather a way of life, a direction, a way to life. A sense of calm and peace, shalom.
Rabbi Shaul also makes a reference to a yoke in 2 Corinthians 6:14 ‘Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?’
From this Torah portion, Bo, we realize the greatness of God, the bondage that He rescued His people from, and the yoke that we should desire to wear. It is the bondage of the legalism and rules of man that He broke, it is the slavery of ourselves, and it is the yoke of great instruction, love, mercy and peace.
Baruch HaShem, Rabbi Jay
Va’eira / And I Appeared
The Hard Heart…
Exodus 9:12 ‘But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.’
This passage would infer that Pharaoh at one time was a reasonable man. However, throughout this Torah portion, we read that his heart was hardened no less than twenty instances - ten times by the will of Pharaoh and ten times by the will of God. The first account is in Exodus 6:13 ‘And Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said.’ God explains why his heart is hard: ‘So the Lord said to Moses: “Pharaoh’s heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go.’ Exodus 6:14.
In Exodus 8:15 again we read of Pharaoh hardening his heart only because there was relief from the frogs after the plague. ‘ But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.’
Again and again we read that Pharaoh’s heart was hard, or that he hardened his heart. It is not until Exodus 9:12 that we read the LORD hardened his heart.
Nahmanides/Rambam comments that “God “warns him a first, second and third time, and still he does not repent, whereupon he locks the door to the possibility of repentance for what he has sinned. So it was with the wicked.” Nahmanides understands God’s actions as a form of retribution but also alludes to a self-generating process.
After repeatedly hardened his own heart, it appears that Pharaoh has become trapped within this process, one that is, at times, willfully created and at times completely out of his own control. He appears to have lost control over his own will/heart and becomes trapped in his self-made structure of stubbornness, ego and arrogance thus becoming too dense, too hard, kaved (in Hebrew) to ever realize his own turmoil and repent. Therefore God hardens the already hard heart.
In Ezekiel 11:19 we understand that God has the power to soften the stony heart: “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh.” God softens our hearts and removes the hardness of a stone to glorify Him, for His Name’s sake.
‘Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the LORD God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. 23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses.” Ezekiel 36:22-29.
Hebrews 8:10 ‘ For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’
If our heart is wicked; ‘“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9; then why would we not want God to remove our stony heart and give us a heart of flesh to honor Him?
Psalm 51:10 ‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’
1 Samuel 16:7 ‘But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Proverbs 3:1-2’ My son, do not forget My teaching, but keep My commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.’
Matthew 6:21 ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’
Psalm 19:14 ‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.’
Our heart is to reflect the glory of God, His Word and His Ways. To achieve this, we must first acknowledge that our heart is a heart of stone, therefore we must, teshuva back to Him and His Living Word.
Baruch HaShem! Rabbi Jay Howard
This Torah portion begins the book of Shemot/Names or Exodus. This is the accounting of the Hebrew people rising up out of the Egyptian bondage and learning once again to rely on God.
In Exodus Chapter Three we read the encounter between God and Moshe. It begins with the burning bush and The LORD calling to Moshe instructing him to take off his sandals, for it is holy ground. The conversation continues with God telling Moshe to return to Egypt and confront Pharaoh. This is the point where he questions God with his own insecurity; ‘who am I to do this?’ And the next question was referring to God as Moshe asks; ‘when they ask me who sent me, what is His name, what shall I say?’
‘And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” Exodus 3:14. This is an English translation of ehyeh ’ăšher ’ehyeh, I AM THAT I AM, or I AM WHO I AM.
There is a saying in Jewish tradition,’ the summit of religious awareness is to know that God is ultimately unknowable.’ In order to know God, as the medieval philosopher Joseph Albo said, 'I would have to be God.'
Interesting, that Moshe never invokes that saying as he seems to keep it subdued. He solicits a name, but keeps it to himself. Is this the point where he has begun to develop a closeness to the unknowable God? As the wanderings of the Israelites proceed, Moseh becomes more and more familiar with God’s ways—but never with God’s essence. We realize this in depth in Numbers 20:11 when he strikes the rock.
Even though Moshe keeps the mystery of I AM to himself, God declares I AM throughout Scripture. These testimonies from God can give us an awareness of who He is, and what abounds in the universe, the mystery and awesomeness of the God we should so humbly serve.
1. “I am El-Shaddai, ‘God Almighty.’ Genesis 17:1
2. “I am the God of your father, Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. Genesis 26:24
3. “I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:14
4. And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh—‘The Lord.’ Exodus 6:2
5.”I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus 15:26
6. “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. Exodus 20:2
7.”I am merciful." Exodus 22:27
8. “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness." Exodus 34:6
9.”If you obey My decrees and My regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord." Leviticus 18:5
10. “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10
11. “I am the YHWH; that is My Name! I will not give My glory to anyone else, nor share My praise with carved idols." Isaiah 42:8
12. This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer and Creator: “I am the Lord,who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. Who was with Me when I made the earth?" Isaiah 44:24
13.”Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like Me." Isaiah 46:9
14. To know "the peace that goes beyond understanding," you and I have to know and trust the One who gives true peace. We need to know God is who He says He is. “I, yes I, AM the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?" Isaiah 51:12
15. “I am a God who is near,” says the Lord. “I am also a God who is far away. No one can hide where I cannot see him,” says the Lord. “I fill all of heaven and earth,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 23:23-24
16.”For I am the Lord! If I say it, it will happen." Ezekiel 12:25
17. “I am the Lord, and I do not change." Malachi 3:6
18. Yeshua answered, “I AM. And in the future, you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God, the Powerful One, and coming on clouds in the sky.” Mark 14:62
19. Then Yeshua said to her, "I who speak to you am He.” John 4:26
20.”I am the bread that gives life." John 6:48
21. “I am the light of the world. The person who follows Me will never live in darkness but will have the light that gives life.” John 8:12
22. ‘And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” John 8:23
23. Yeshua answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” John 8:58
24. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep." John 10:11
25. Yeshua said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me will have life even if they die. John 11:25
26. Yeshua answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through Me." John 14:6
27.”Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Or believe because of the miracles I have done." John 14:11
28. "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John15:1
29. The Lord God says, “I am the Alef and the Tav. I am the One who is and was and is coming. I am the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8
30. ‘When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man and He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,” Revelation 1:17
31.”I am the One who lives; I was dead, but look, I am alive forever and ever!" Revelation 1:18
32. The One who was sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” Then He said, “Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted.” Revelation 21:5
33. Yeshua, the One who says these things are true, says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Yeshua HaMashiach!’ Revelation 22:20
Baruch HaShem! Rabbi Jay