Parasha Vayera                   Week Ending October 27,2018
Torah – Genesis 18:1-22:24               Haftarah – 2 Kings 4:1-37

Brit Chadashah – Luke 1:26-38; 24:36-53; 2 Peter 4-11

Vayera (and He appeared) is a portion of Torah packed with a lot of familiar scenes and so
much to learn. We encounter stories from Abraham’s encounter with the three strangers all the
way to his obedient trip to the mountain to sacrifice his son, which was interrupted by the voice
of the L-RD who substituted a ram caught in a thicket. There are many lessons to be learned
through the events which happen between these two events, not the least of which being the
destruction and judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah.
This year I feel lead to focus on the opening three verses.
Genesis 18:1-3, “Then the L-RD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was
sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold,
three men were standing by him; and when he saw [them], he ran from the tent door to meet
them, and bowed himself to the ground, 3 and said, “My L-rd, if I have now found favor in Your
sight, do not pass on by Your servant.” (NKJV)
We know that Abraham was an amazing man whom G-d referred to as friend. We know he
was eager and hungry to know the One True G-d. We also know the accounts of the
impressive hospitality that he and his wife were known to show to countless numbers of
travelers and others they encountered.
These two traits intersect here as the study opens. Abraham, on the third and most painful day
after circumcision, was sitting in the door of his tent. His tent was said to be opened on all
sides that he may spot travelers coming from far away in order that he may greet them and
treat them to his hospitality, which he used to share the knowledge of the One True G-d to the
polytheistic world around him.
The lesson I want all of us to take to heart this week is that Abraham was alert and looking for
an opportunity to serve and to be used by G-d. Of course, we know that in this particular
account it was G-d Himself who received the hospitality.
Do we want to get G-d’s attention? Do we want to be known as a friend of G-d? I trust the
answer to these questions is a resounding “yes!” We ought then to model the lessons shown
by Abraham. He was looking for opportunities to serve. Don’t wait for something to happen,
actively look where you can get involved in G-d’s plan.
Abraham humbled himself by bowing. There is a certain humility involved in being gracious
and hospitable to others, especially strangers. Remember there are plenty of examples of
humility that are spoken of throughout Scripture. Does the name Moses ring a bell?
There are other lessons and examples of how we can emulate this great father of the faith, but
lastly I will point out that Abraham called himself a servant. In today’s church world, we like to
throw around titles. We like to think of ourselves as kings and priests. We call ourselves a
child of the king and so on. While these things are true, it would be much better for us to keep
those things in mind, but only behind what should be our primary title…servant.
As we practice hospitality, we open the door to opportunity. When we humble ourselves and
serve others we get their attention and now we have an opportunity to share with them not only
the knowledge of the One True G-d, but we, in our time, have the chance to reveal His
Salvation, Yeshua (Jesus!)
Shalom!

Lekh Lekha    Week ending October 20, 2018
Torah – Genesis 12:1-17:27                     Haftarah – Isaiah 40:27-41:16

Brit Chadashah – Romans 4:1-25; Galatians 4:21-5:1; Hebrews 7
This week, the third week in the book of Bereshit (Genesis), we look at Lekh Lekha (Go forth
yourself.) There is much to study here and some pretty amazing things to be certain. You likely
know from years past I love how the first seven parashot (portions) line up with the six days of
creation and the seventh or Sabbath day of rest.
This year I am going to focus on one short piece of the Scripture found at the beginning of our
verses. It is likely something that has escaped your attention in the past. I will bring it to your
attention and hopefully show you how this ancient text is relevant to you here and now in your
own life!
Genesis 12:1-5, “Now the L-RD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family
And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I
will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who
bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be
blessed.” 4 So Abram departed as the L-RD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And
Abram [was] seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his
wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people
whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they
came to the land of Canaan.” (NKJV)
Did you catch anything that perhaps sounded a little odd? After G-d gives some instructions
to Avram (Abram) we see the account of Avram’s response.
Take a look at verse 5. You will read an accounting of what Avram took with him when he
embarked upon the journey G-d was calling him to go on. The last thing mentioned was the
souls which he had gathered! Have you ever noticed this or wondered what it meant?
I’ll try to make it make sense to you here. There are a few things going on that when they
come together will make it clear.
The sages teach us that Avram was the original G-d seeker. G-d was looking for a man to
make covenant with in order to bring about G-d’s plan for humanity. This at the same time that
Avram had come to the conclusion that polytheism and idolatry were false constructs. Avram
seemed to instinctively know that there had to be One G-d responsible for creating and
maintaining the world and all that there was.
When Avram came to this conclusion, he became what we would call today an evangelist.
Avram was intent on spreading the “good news” that he had learned! These souls, therefore,
were those that Avram had taught and convinced of this truth.
In next week’s parasha, you will see an example of this in that both Avram and Sarai had their
tents open on all sides. This, the sages say, was to be able to welcome travelers from any
direction. They were incredibly hospitable, but they also used this hospitality to share the good
news of the One True G-d with everyone they could.
I selected this one point this time around to illustrate the heart I believe the Father desires all of
us to have. It is my prayer that we all have this fire of Avram stirred within us. I pray that we all
are consumed with the desire to not only be hospitable to others, but to use this gift as a tool
to share the Good News that we have. Yes, we have and can share the eternally valid news
that there is indeed One True G-d, but now because of the age in which we live we have the
added bonus to share with people how He came fulfilling the Fall Feasts of ADONAI and
provided once for all Atonement through the blood of Yeshua, our Messiah!
May we all walk in the emunah (trust) that Avram walked in. May we all be true friends of G-d
and cause all manner of men and women to befriend G-d as well. Shalom!

Noach   Week ending October 13, 2018
Torah – Genesis 6:9-11:32                Haftarah – Isaiah 54:1-55:5

Brit Chadashah Matthew 24:36-46; 1 Peter 3:18-22
This week we take a look at what should be a very familiar story. Hopefully you will see parts
of this account in a little different way then perhaps you have before. Noach is the Hebrew
form of what, or rather who we normally refer to as Noah. His name translates as “comfort.”
The points I will try to draw out and show you with regards to the texts that I will share in no
way take away from the literal account of what happened historically speaking. I only wish to
show you that there are indeed some deeper things to find here as well.
First I want to point out a few of the reasons for such complete and harsh judgement upon the
Eretz (Earth.)
Genesis 6:11-13, “The earth also was corrupt before G-d, and the earth was filled with
violence. 12 So G-d looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had
corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And G-d said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come
before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them
with the earth.” (NKJV)
You know from teachings of years past and perhaps from your own study that the corruption of
all flesh goes way beyond sin as we typically think of it. We learned from the end of last week’s
study that the “sons of G-d took the daughters of men” and gave birth to the Nephilim, men of
renown or in plainer terms, giants!
This corruption of the genetic bloodline of G-d’s creation was only part of it. The thoughts of
the hearts of men was only evil. This tainted all of creation to the point where even the animals
were procreating outside of their intended species.
So when the Word says that Noach was perfect in his generation it is not speaking to his
character necessarily, but rather to the fact that he and his family were the last of flesh to not
be corrupted in this way.
The sages tell a story that I will not likely do any justice to it. But one of the terrible things that
happened is that men of that time had become so spoiled with the abundance of the Eretz that
they essentially shook their fists towards G-d saying that they have an abundance of water,
fresh water to drink and for crops etc. Because of this they reasoned and exclaimed why then
do we need you and your Way? It is this scenario that explains the following verse.
Genesis 6:17, “And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from
under heaven all flesh in which [is] the breath of life; everything that [is] on the earth shall die.”
G-d here makes it very clear that it was :He and He alone who brought forth the judgement of
the flood. This makes perfect sense, especially when you compare this event to what happens
to the Hebrew children in the wilderness when they spoke against G-d and complained they
had no meat to eat. Then they were overcome with so much quail to eat that it made them
sick!
So the very thing that caused the men of that time to rebel against G-d, the seeming source of
their security became the very thing that cost them their lives.
Lastly I will show you one interpretation of the Noach story in a general sense. This is not
opinion, but rather interpretation from Scripture itself.
1while [the] ark wa Peter 3:20-21, “who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine long suffering waited in the days of Noah, s being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were
saved through water. There is also an anti-type which now saves us–baptism (not the
removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward G-d), through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Perhaps you never thought of the account of Noach and the Great Flood as being a picture of
immersion or baptism as commonly called in the church today.
Even though the Word says the Ark floated upon the surface of the waters it was indeed
“surrounded” by water giving a picture of immersion. We know that the waters sprang up from
the fountains of the deep as well as they were poured out from the windows of heaven! It was
all around them and these righteous souls that had the favor of G-d upon them were saved out
of judgement through this extraordinary baptism event.
Shalom!

Bereshit     Week ending October 6, 2018
Torah – Genesis 1:1-6:8
Bereshit (in the beginning) marks the start of a new year of Torah studies, as well as, the
beginning of a new year on G-d’s calendar. There is such a massive amount of ideas and
topics to explore and study contained within these few chapters. In fact, we go from creation
itself all the way through the first ten generations of man on the earth! That is quite a bit to say
the least.
So where to begin? I’m going to take you through three ideas to get you started as you study
for yourself this amazing parasha (portion.) Not only are we going to look at three ideas, but
two of the three topics here contain repetition of “three” to get you thinking.
First, let’s look at a concept that carries over from last week’s study, V’zot Haberakhah, the
final study of Deuteronomy. I showed you last week that we ended with the death of Moshe
(Moses) and immediately we go forward into Bereshit, the very account of creation itself. I
shared how death is an illusion and our departure from this earth is simply a new birth into our
forever home in glory with G-d! Even within the first two verses you see this idea of re-creation or rebirth.
Genesis 1:1-2, “In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was
without form, and void; and darkness [was] on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of G-d was
hovering over the face of the waters.” (NKJV)
We see in verse one that G-d created the heavens and the earth. Then suddenly everything
looks as though it is in a state of chaos. Then we are taken through the six days of creation or
re-creation from that point forward.
Looking at only one level and one possible explanation, this being a continuation from the
death of Moshe and showing us that Torah is circular, not linear we are being shown not only a
literal account of what happened, albeit with a lot of information being left out between verses
1 and 2, we see rebirth indicating the end is really not the end!
Now, let’s take a look at the second of our three ideas this week. You may notice as you read
through this first chapter of Genesis that within the first four days of creation we see a division
of light and darkness a total of three times! Of course, you’ll recall that repetition in the Word is
a clue that there is something deeper, waiting to be discovered beneath the surface!
Genesis 1:4-18, “And G-d saw the light, that [it was] good; and G-d divided the light from the
darkness. 5 G-d called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the
morning were the first day. 6 Then G-d said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the
waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus G-d made the firmament, and
divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the
firmament; and it was so. 8 And G-d called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the
morning were the second day. 9 Then G-d said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered
together into one place, and let the dry [land] appear”; and it was so. 10 And G-d called the dry
[land] Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And G-d saw that [it was]
good. 11 Then G-d said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb [that] yields seed, [and] the
fruit tree [that] yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed [is] in itself, on the earth”; and it
was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb [that] yields seed according to its kind,
and the tree [that] yields fruit, whose seed [is] in itself according to its kind. And G-d saw that [it
was] good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day. 14 Then G-d said, “Let there
be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for
signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 “and let them be for lights in the firmament of
the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then G-d made two great lights: the
greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. [He made] the stars also. 17
God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the
day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And G-d saw that [it was]
good.”
Three times you see light and darkness being divided. You will find it in verses 4, 14, and 18.
On the pashat (surface level), what you see is what you get. G-d is giving us details as to the
creation of time, days and so on. This involves the reckoning of time and the division of days
and nights, light and darkness. G-d could have described this any way He chose, even using
fewer words or describing the events in different ways altogether. But He did not.
This is not to say this is the complete answer by any means! One idea is to show us that G-d
intends of light and darkness to be separated. There is not to be a mingling of the two. This is
true in the physical creation, but it also can easily be applied to our lives. Remember, we are
created in G-d’s image or likeness. Just as He is a triune being (Father, Son, Spirit) so are we,
(Spirit, Mind and body.)
Could it be illustrating for us that we ought to walk in His glorious life on every level of our
existence? Spiritually we ought to study His Torah and walk in His Way. We should do so with
no deviation to the left or the right as Scripture so often explains. As parasha Shoftim (Judges)
explains, we can apply this separation to our minds as well. We ought to center or focus our
minds on the light. We ought to refrain from entertaining thoughts or intellectual pursuits that
are of the darkness.
Finally, we ought to rule over our mortal physical bodies and keep it walking in the light as well.
As we abstain from all manner of sin, we keep our physical self in the light and out of darkness.
Finally look at this verse…
Genesis 1:27, “So G-d created man in His [own] image; in the image of G-d He created him;
male and female He created them.”
Here in one single verse the whole act of creating man is repeated three times! Why? We
know G-d does not waste words; He is not trying to fill space and occupy our time by reading
unnecessary words. Every word is important and cannot be removed. This is what Messiah
Himself taught us that not one letter or tiniest part of a single letter could be removed!
In years past, I taught this idea and remind you this year that one idea is that it points to our
triune nature. He created us indeed, spirit, mind and body. This is showing that His creation is
complete and perfect.
Shalom!

V’zot Haberakhah   Week ending September 29, 2018
Torah – Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12 Haftarah – “Joshua 1:1-18

Brit Chadashah – Revelation 22:1-5
V’zot Haberakhah (and this blessing) is the final parasha (portion) in our year long focus on the words of Torah. It is a fairly brief portion that really speaks volumes more than meets the eye. Moshe (Moses) is about to die. The L-RD allows Moshe to speak blessings upon the people, then he is taken upon the mountain and is shown the Promised Land, then is taken home. After his death, the L-RD takes and buries him in a location that to this day is not known to man.
My focus on this week’s portion really is just to show how it is not the end of our study, but it is another link in the circular chain that is Torah. As if to show that the end of Torah is actually the beginning, there is a special link to the end of Deuteronomy and the beginning of Bereshit (Genesis). There are other links of which we will look at one more, but to see this first one you have to look at the Hebrew words “Israel” and Bereshit”.’ The last letter in Yisra’el is the lamed. The first letter in Bereshit is the Beit. Lamed beit form the word leb, which is Hebrew for heart! The sages point out that this is no coincidence but rather HaShem (YHVH) showing us that his heart is Torah. Or another way to say it is to say
that he is showing us his heart through Torah. We also know that death is an illusion as shown in earlier parashot. This is why the Priests were not allowed to have contact with the dead. Our apparent death on this side of reality is
really just our stepping over, or our birth into the world to come. This is depicted in the death of Moshe leading directly to Bereshit (In the beginning). This is not a flashback, so to speak, but rather a continuation. This is why at the end of Sukkot and the completion of the reading of Deuteronomy, we immediately begin reading Bereshit so that we experience this immediate new creation or birth as part of Simkah Torah (joy of Torah.) Let’s go now and take a look at the Haftarah portion in Joshua. Before we do, I want to remind you of the words of Rabbi Cliff. You will recall that he has taught that every word in Torah is extremely important. So, if we see something repeated two or more times, it is critical that we slow down and pay attention to what is being said as there are no wasted words in Torah!
Joshua 1:6-9, “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the
L-RD your G-d [is] with you wherever you go.” (NKJV)
Be strong and of good courage, or in other words, be courageous! We see this basic
instruction repeated three times in three verses, back-to-back.
Joshua, in a moment has gone from being the servant of Moshe to the servant of the L-RD! That is quite the promotion. We see the first time he is being instructed how to think and behave with regards to leading the people. In this instruction, we know the reason is because the L-RD is indeed with him and therefore he has nothing to fear. “ONLY be strong…” We see in verse 7 that the word only is added to the command. It is as if we are being cautioned to focus! We cannot be strong and courageous if we give ourselves to entertaining fearful or any other contrary thought pattern to what we have been commanded to do. Another thing to point out in verse 7 is that this time we are not seeing Joshua, and therefore we as well are being instructed to be fearless, strong leaders of people but we are being instructed to exhibit strength and courage in following the Torah, the law or instructions that Moshe gave us on behalf of the L-RD! The success of the mission is dependent upon strict adherence to the Mitzvah or commands. It is in this lifestyle, if you will, that we then experience success. Verse 8 is reminiscent of Psalm chapter one. We are told that these words shall not depart out
of our mouth. The results of such living is retold to be success and prosperity.
Then immediately in verse 9 we are reminded to be strong and of good courage! I think this speaks to our human tendencies to have wandering minds and wandering eyes. I can almost picture Joshua, or even us today, hearing these words from the L-RD, and being built up for a moment. Then upon hearing how we are to keep ALL the commands perhaps our thoughts wander and we begin to doubt our ability to fulfill such a monumental task. Or maybe we are fearful that we won’t be able to live up to the expectations G-d has laid out before us. Then, a loving Father who is watching the countenance of his beloved child fall even as he was
finishing his instructions stops and reminds him of the initial charge to be strong and courageous. For it was for this very reason these words were spoken in the first place! As we finish Torah and immediately begin again may we all remember the charge to be strong and of good courage. The Father has not given us a task so great that we cannot accomplish it. Alone that may be true. But, we are not alone, we have the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) here to help us in our weakness, to illuminate the Word and encourage us to stay upon the right path.
May we all strive to have a prosperous new year in our Torah studies and may it manifest in every area of our lives!
Chazak Chazak ve’nit Chazek Be strong! Be strong! And may we be Encouraged ! Shalom!

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!