בְּשַׁלַּח
Beshalach / When He Let Go
Exodus 13:1717:16
Living Waters!

     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


    

בֹּא
Bo / Come
Exodus 10:1-13:16
Breaking Free…

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
    

 

וָאֵרָא
Va’eira / And I Appeared
Exodus 6:2-9:35
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

 

שְׁמוֹת
Shemot /Names
Exodus 1:1-6:1

     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