Ha’Azinu    Week ending September 22, 2018
Torah – Deuteronomy 32:1-52 Haftarah – 2 Samuel 22:1-51

Brit Chadashah – Romans 10:14-11:12
Ha’Azinu (Give ear) is the second to last parasha (portion) of the book of Deuteronomy, and
indeed of our year long journey through Torah.
This portion differs in style from the rest of the book of Deuteronomy in that this chapter is a
poem that the sages teach was sung by Moshe (Moses) just prior to his death. This song of
his was an encouraging reminder for the people to never stop telling the story of how G-d
miraculously called, preserved and kept His people because of His Holy Covenant made with
them.
Deuteronomy 32:7-17, “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations.
Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you: 8 When the Most High
divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the
boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel. 9 For the L-RD’s
portion [is] His people; Jacob [is] the place of His inheritance. 10 “He found him in a desert
land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept
him as the apple of His eye. 11 As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading
out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings, 12 [So] the L-RD alone led him, And
[there was] no foreign god with him. 13 “He made him ride in the heights of the earth, That he
might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock, And oil from the
flinty rock; 14 Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock, With fat of lambs; And rams of the
breed of Bashan, and goats, With the choicest wheat; And you drank wine, the blood of the
grapes. 15 “But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick, You are obese!
Then he forsook G-d [who] made him, And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. 16
They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign [gods]; With abominations they provoked Him to
anger. 17 They sacrificed to demons, not to G-d, [To gods] they did not know, To new [gods],
new arrivals That your fathers did not fear.”
The call to remember comes with a warning. With the inheritance of the Land, came many
benefits. These benefits were the riches associated with land ownership, such as agricultural
richness, livestock and so on. He knew that in the midst of the satisfying of all of their needs
would come the temptation to forget!
The sad truth is that once our prayers are answered and our needs met, we shift our focus off
of the One who gave us our requests in favor of focusing on the temporal things that have
been given.
It is sad that this is the reality for most of us even today. There are some that are aware of this
pattern of tendency in our human experience and work hard to avoid it. But for far too many
we fall into the trap of pleading with the Father to grant us our needs and desires. We seem to
walk closely with Him. Truth be told this all too often is a false closeness as we are pursuing
Him, not relationship with the Father, but seeking after that which is in His hand. If we truly
were chasing after relationship, then we would continue pursuing Him, even after we get what
we were seeking.
As we head into the celebration of Sukkot, and the start of a new year of Torah pursuit, may we
all endeavor to chase after the Father and all He is, instead of all He has! Shalom!

Parasha Vayelech Week ending September 15,2018
Torah – Deuteronomy 31:1-30 Haftarah – Isaiah 55:6-8; Hozea 14:2-10; Joel 2:15-27 Brit Chadashah – Romans 10:14-11:12
We find ourselves looking at parasha Vayalech (and he went.) This is the third to last study for the year, before we start the cycle all over again during Simkah Torah (Joy of Torah.) Moseh (Moses) is about to die and is charging the people with urgent calls to adhere to the Mitzvot (Commands) of the L-RD. As you likely know if you have been following these parashot for any time that they are Divinely
inspired as to their timing and divisions. Each portion corresponds with what is going on in the spirit realm. There are certain “windows” of Heaven that are open and these studies clue us in as to what is going on. It is Thursday evening as I write this and we here in North Carolina, as well as other states, are preparing for Hurricane Florence. While I place my trust in Yeshua explicitly, it is hard not to
get caught up in all the hype of the moment. Especially if you listen to a little too much news and weather updates! Perhaps if you live outside of the storm’s path, this may not have quite the weight that it will have for those of us in it. However, the principle I am about to show you is applicable in just about every single challenge that may come your way. Let’s look at a few verses, then I will explain, and hopefully offer you some comfort in your trials.
Deuteronomy 31:3-6, “The L-RD your G-d Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the L-RD has said. 4 “And the L-RD will do to them as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites and their land, when He destroyed them. 5 “The L-RD will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you. 6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the
L-RD your G-d, He [is] the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Check the version of the Bible you are most comfortable with then compare it with the Hebrew Name’s Version, or Complete Jewish Bible and you will immediately see something great! Yehoshua, or Yeshua “Salvation of G-d!” Already you can see that even though these verses were accurate accounts of what happened to those people in that place at that time, there is relevant application to us today!
Also, you may remember from several weeks ago, we studied about the Kings Og and Sichon. These were giants who happened to be kings of their peoples. Og translates as “fear.” He was a giant king of fear! While Sichon means “striking down.” Imagine that? Two giant kings, fear and striking down, no wonder they were intimidating. Pay special attention to verse 6. We are told plainly. Be strong. Be courageous . Do not be afraid or scared! G-d is with us! Whether these ancient kings are wreaking havoc in the form of hurricanes, your health, your finances, your relationships, or any other area of life that is causing you distress… I have good news! This section of Scripture is for you. Go back and read it several more times until it gets in your soul. Remember all the deeds of the L-RD and know that He is faithful! So remain faithful to Him and walk in His courage, knowing He will never leave you or forsake you.
Shalom!

Parasha Nitzavim Week ending September 8, 2018
Torah – Deuteronomy 29:10-30:20 Haftarah – Isaiah 61:10-63:9

Brit Chadashah – Romans 10:1-12
As we race towards the conclusion of another year on G-d’s calendar, we are finding ourselves nearing the end of the blessing of the month of Elul. We are also embarking upon the final parashot (portions) of Torah. In fact, these final portions all were written on the final day of Moshe’s life. Nitzavim comes from the opening verse this week. “When you stand.” Yes, this is how Moshe (Moses) addressed the people of Israel just prior to their receiving their inheritance known as
the Promised Land. But there are some implications of the word I want to make you aware of at this time, before we dig in to the meat of this week’s study.
Nitzavim doesn’t merely point to the physical act of standing upon one’s feet any old way. There is an uprightness to it. It speaks to me to the Holiness (set apart) of the people being addressed. It speaks to me of being at attention, as in a state of readiness. I want you to see now how the opening verses speak to us even today as we approach the end of 2018 on our Gregorian calendar and the end of the year 5778 on the Hebrew calendar. We are all going to stand before the L-RD one day. The Fall Feasts of ADONAI point to this very event. Even now as court is being conducted in Heaven, we all, in essence, are standing before the King and Judge. We then enter into the ten Days of Awe when the King deliberates what his judgements will be upon every man, woman, child and nation for the coming year.
Todah Rabah! Thank you very much to our Messiah Yeshua for His intervention on our behalf!
Deuteronomy 29:10-15, “All of you stand today before the L-RD your G-d: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, 11 “your little ones and your wives–also the stranger who [is] in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water– 12 “that you may enter into covenant with the L-RD your G-d, and into His oath, which the L-RD your G-d makes with you today, 13 “that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and [that] He may be G-d to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 14 “I make this covenant
and this oath, not with you alone, 15 “but with [him] who stands here with us today before the L-RD our G-d, as well as with [him] who [is] not here with us today.” (NKJV)
There is much to glean from the verses above. I just want to point out that the Word makes it clear that G-d, through Moshe, is not just speaking to those people present at that time but to us here and now as well. Let’s take a moment to also look at some very important verses that follow the above. They contain a sobering warning we need to hear in our time today just as much, if not more than
they needed it back then.
Deuteronomy 29:16-20, “(for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by, 17 and you saw their abominations and their idols which [were] among them–wood and stone and silver and gold); 18 “so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the L-RD our G-d, to go [and] serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; 19 “and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of
this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’–as though the drunkard could be included with the sober. 20 “The L-RD would not spare him; for then the anger of the L-RD and His jealousy would burn against that man, and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him, and the L-RD would blot out his name from under heaven.”
The verses warn that in part the reason they were brought through the nations that they had was to show them the evil ways of the peoples in those lands. They all had forms of godliness, in that they believed in and served “higher powers.” They engaged in all manner of filthiness and had great riches. We are warned to stay away from such things. My attention is particularly drawn to the riches
part! The reason is that our riches, for the most part, are promised in the world to come. Yes, there are certain blessings intended for this life as well, but they are all tied with the strict adherence to the Law (Torah.) Verses 19 and 20 are particularly sobering. May all those asleep in the light (to borrow the title from Rabbi Cliff’s book) wake up soon! Shalom and may we all be sealed for a good and
healthy and prosperous new year in HaShem (YHVH). Shalom

Ki Tavo Week ending September 1, 2018
Torah – Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

Haftarah – Isaiah 60:1-22

Brit Chadashah – Ephesians 1:3-6; Revelation 21:10-27
Parasha (portion) Ki Tavo (when you go in) is one that paints a beautiful picture for us to understand and live out in our day.
As we continue in the month of Elul, a Holy time of repentance and returning to G-d, I am going to focus on a single point and perhaps be a bit uncharacteristically brief. Moshe (Moses) on behalf of G-d is charging the people with instructions prior to crossing the Jordan river and entering the Promised Land. They are being called to remember all the Mitzvot (Commands). But one particular instruction stands out to me this year above all. We will even take a quick look into verses from the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) that are not actually included in the above readings.
Deuteronomy 27:1-8, “Now Moses, with the elders of Israel, commanded the people, saying: “Keep all the commandments which I command you today. 2 “And it shall be, on the day when you cross over the Jordan to the land which the L-RD your G-d is giving you, that you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and whitewash them with lime. 3 “You shall write on them all the words of this law, when you have crossed over, that you may enter the land which the L-RD your G-d is giving you, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ just as the L-RD G-d of your fathers promised you. 4 “Therefore it shall be, when you have crossed over the Jordan, [that]
on Mount Ebal you shall set up these stones, which I command you today, and you shall whitewash them with lime. 5 “And there you shall build an altar to the L-RD your G-d, an altar of stones; you shall not use an iron [tool] on them. 6 “You shall build with whole stones the altar of the L-RD your G-d, and offer burnt offerings on it to the L-RD your G-d. 7 “You shall offer peace offerings, and shall eat there, and rejoice before the L-RD your G-d. 8 “And you shall write very plainly on the stones all the words of this law.”
The people are called to be a Holy, set apart people that point to the world encompassing them to the One, True and Living G-d. As such, they are instructed to erect these stones that are covered on the outside with plaster and are to inscribe them with all the Commands of G-d for all the world to see.
I really like what the sages have to say about verse 8 specifically with regards to the phrase, “very plainly.” They say that what this meant was that they were to inscribe the Mitzvot in all 70 languages that were spoken on the Eretz (Earth) at that time. What a picture! These Commands are indeed for all people, the Jewish people were the people that were chosen to bring this way of living to the world.
Remember that the plain text is exactly what it says it is. This was literally the instructions given and carried out by a very real people at a very real point in our history. I want to encourage you to consider the fact that on a deeper level we are all called to erect such stones. What I mean is that we are called to be living stones in G-d’s Kingdom. We ought to have His Word in us to the point that it shows in very real, tangible ways on the outside just like the physical stones we just read about. They should be a testimony to the world around us. Our lives and very presence ought to convict the world of their sin, transgression of Torah all while pointing to the Perfect Remedy offered by Yeshua (Jesus.)
1 Peter 2:1-9, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the L-rd [is] gracious. 4 Coming to Him [as to] a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by G-d [and] precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to G-d through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” 7 Therefore, to you who believe, [He is] precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 9 But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
May we all continue to return to HaShem (YHVH) as we move closer to the Fall Feast Days of ADONAI. May we also work to be greater and more effective living stones. Shalom!

Week ending August 18, 2018 by Rabbi Jeff Grillo

Shoftim
Torah – Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 Haftarah – Isaiah 51:12-52:12

Brit Chadashah – John 1:19-27; Acts 3:22-23
This is probably the one parashat (portion) that I quote throughout the year, more than any other. It is simply too important to ignore in the times in which we live. So, to begin I will reiterate the main point I challenge anyone who will listen to pay close attention and make application. Then, I will introduce something new I have not pointed out before.
Shoftim translates as “judges.” We are instructed in the opening words of this study to place judges at the gates. On the pashat, or surface level, of the text they were told to do exactly what it says. We make application by putting into practice the principle that is contained in the instruction. Now that Yeshua (Jesus) has made the once for all time Atonement for our sin and sent the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit), we are the Temple in which His Spirit dwells. We make application by appointing judges, or standing watch over our gates and being very picky about
what we allow in our “gates.” These gates being our eyes and ears, and even our mouth. Our eyes, because we need to be careful what we allow ourselves to look upon. We avoid looking at things that may cause us to lust, covet or otherwise draw us from the all out pursuit of G-d and His Holy Word and Will for our lives.
Our ears, because likewise we need to avoid listening to gossip, coarse joking, music that leads us away from worship of our King and other such snares.
Our mouth, because we should guard against speaking anything that is contrary to the Word of G-d or that may cause harm to anyone else. All these things are especially important in this the beginning of the second week of the month
of Elul, a special time of repentance ahead of Rosh HaShanah, also known as Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets.) As we “clean house” and set ourselves right with His Will and return to Gd, we really need these judges in place to help keep us on the right path. This year I want to look at the Haftarah and Brit Chadashah portion and offer up some focus and encouragement. Especially as we as a Congregation are preparing for our next outreach in a matter of about two weeks.
Isaiah 52:7-11, “How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good [things], Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your G-d reigns!” 8 Your watchmen shall lift up [their] voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the L-RD brings back Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, You waste places of Jerusalem! For the L-RD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The L-RD has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of
all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our G-d. 11 Depart! Depart! Go out from there, Touch no unclean [thing]; Go out from the midst of her, Be clean, You who bear the vessels of the L-RD.”
Also, let’s quickly look at John 1:22-23, “Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said: “I [am] ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the L-RD,” ‘ as the prophet Isaiah said.” Yokhanon (John) was a malech. The word malech is typically translated into English as the word “angel.” A more correct translation is simply “messenger.” While many times a malech was indeed a celestial, Holy being sent from G-d, it is also important to note that human
malechim were also used. I point out these Scriptures and explain the word malech to remind you that whether you are a member of the Rock of Israel Congregation, or you are a person reading this post on the
internet, or in a book format down the road you need to know the L-RD has intended for YOU to be a malech! Blessed is the feet of those who bring good news! The Gospel/Good News is something we all ought to herald to the world around us as often as we possibly can. Our times of corporate evangelism is a wonderful thing; however, it is not intended to be the only time we share the Good News. It is training, encouragement, motivation, instruction to offer up a few of the intentions behind why we do this. Ultimately, it is to train you to be able to
do it effortlessly wherever your daily life takes you. Whoever you are, and wherever you are take advantage of this time during the month of Elul to
get back on track with G-d, but as a new beginning of sorts when it comes to your personal evangelism. Shalom! 

Week ending August 25,2018 by Rabbi Jeff Grillo

Ki-Tetz

Torah – Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 Haftarah – Isaiah 54:1-10

Brit Chadashah – Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Corinthians 5:1-10
Ki-Tetze, Hebrew for when you go out, is the parasha (study) for this week. There is much to say about this study which contains the most number of Mitzvah (commands) than any other parashat. Out of the 613 Commands of Torah, you will find 74 of them in this portion. Before I get into the meat of this week’s study, I wanted to share a story I read earlier this summer. I want to share it because it is tremendous food for thought and perhaps may shed some light on a very common question many people have. Also, it ties in somewhat with one of the Commands in this parasha. The story goes that one day a student was asking his Rabbi a question. He wanted to know why it was that it seemed to be that wicked men prospered in this life while many righteous men appeared to suffer and struggle. The rabbi explained that the answer was straight forward and simple actually. Because the breath of G-d is in all men that there is at least a little bit of goodness even in a wicked man. Likewise, in a righteous man there is at least a small amount
of wickedness. Therefore, the wicked man prospers in this life in order that the good that is within him receives its just reward here and now, that in the life to come he receives his just, eternal reward. The righteous man suffers now for the small amount of wickedness that is within him so that in the life to come he receives his just reward for his good. Whether or not this is reality, I do not know for certain, but I do know that this makes more
sense than any other explanation I have ever heard offered up for this question.
Let’s look at an excerpt from this week’s Torah portion and see this principle being taught, at least in part.
Deuteronomy 24:12-15, “And if the man [is] poor, you shall not keep his pledge overnight. 13 “You shall in any case return the pledge to him again when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his own garment and bless you; and it shall be righteousness to you before the L-RD your G-d. 14 “You shall not oppress a hired servant [who is] poor and needy, [whether] one of your brethren or one of the aliens who [is] in your land within your gates. 15 “Each day you shall give [him] his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he [is] poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the L-RD, and it be sin to you.”
In the above verses, we see a Command concerning day laborers. I recently heard an explanation of the day laborers that went something like this… When we come into this life we are like contractors sent for the purpose of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world.) In general, when we think of contractors and day laborers the following ideas come to mind. Day laborers tend to be people that are focused on the here and now. They work today and expect their reward today. They certainly have skills and abilities that are needed to work towards completion of a project, but again, they are not focused on long term goals, only short term satiation of their needs.
Contractors typically are given a deposit to begin the work. They have many skills and abilities as well, but are focused on the big picture and have a higher degree of knowledge, understanding to get the job done. They see the job through to the end, when upon satisfactory completion of the agreed upon project, they then receive their reward in full. In essence, those of us who have found Yeshua (Jesus) and are working for His Kingdom are like contractors. We receive the deposit which is enough to equip us to achieve the goals we are sent here to accomplish. Yeshua taught that we ought to store up our treasures in Heaven, which agrees with this concept. Those who have not found Yeshua are like the day laborers, who are short sighted and concerned only with the temporal things of this life. Let’s go back to the beginning and look at the opening verse.

Deuteronomy 21:10, “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the L-RD your G-d delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive.”
When you go forth. It is not a question of whether or not you may go to battle, this fact is assured. Also note that the word “you” is used. This is important as it links the Command to us in our day and time. Yes, this applies to us! How? We are not soldiers going forth in battle, are we? In a sense, yes we are! Here in the month of Elul, we are returning to G-d and His Ways. We are in the midst of a time of repentance. Our battle is not against flesh and blood as Paul writes. We are in an ongoing battle against Yetze Harra, the evil inclination. We ought to be  waging war always against the things in our lives that tempt us to stray from the path set
before us.Fast forward now to the end of this study.
Deuteronomy 25:17-19, “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, 18 “how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you [were] tired and weary; and he did not fear G-d. 19 “Therefore it shall be, when the L-RD your G-d has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the L-RD your G-d is giving you to possess [as] an inheritance, [that] you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.”
Here in the parasha containing the most Commands of any other study in Torah, we start out with the fact that we will go to war against sin. We conclude now with us being urged to remember the Amorites and Moabites and to blot their name out!
These were peoples who attacked the weakest among the people. They specialized in “doubt” if you will. Judaism, our foundation of faith is based in action. Shema means “hear and do.” So here we are given a great number of Commands we are expected to hear and do. In conclusion, we are encouraged to erase doubt and fear. Doubt not that you can do that which is required of you. Fear not that you will somehow fail. Remember also you have the wonderful Atoning blood of Yeshua! Fear not, doubt not and wage war against all that comes to detour you from His Way. Shalom!