Parasha Vayetze  Week ending November 17, 2018
Torah – Genesis 28:10-32:3          Haftarah – Hosea 12:13-14:10

Brit Chadashah – John 1:19-51

Vayetze (and he went out) is our focus for this week as we study parasha (portion.)
We will be staying in chapter 28 of Genesis and looking at a few things you will likely find
interesting. Hopefully, this study will whet your appetite to dig a little deeper on your own as
you study G-d’s Word.
Genesis 28:11-22, “So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun
had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in
that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder [was] set up on the earth, and
its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it.
13 And behold, the L-RD stood above it and said: “I [am] the L-RD G-d of Abraham your father
and the G-d of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14
“Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west
and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the
earth shall be blessed. 15 “Behold, I [am] with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will
bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the L-RD is in this place, and I did not
know [it].” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome [is] this place! This [is] none other
than the house of G-d, and this [is] the gate of heaven!” 18 Then Jacob rose early in the
morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on
top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been
Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If G-d will be with me, and keep me in this
way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 “so that I come back
to my father’s house in peace, then the L-RD shall be my G-d. 22 “And this stone which I have
set as a pillar shall be G-d’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Beginning in verse 11 “place” or “the place” is mentioned a total of four times in the above
listed verses. This repetition draws our attention to investigate deeper what is going on, as G-d
is trying to get our attention and show us something important.
Ha Macom (The Place) has more than one meaning. On the pashot, or surface level, it is
indicating location. On a deeper level, it is a reference to G-d Himself. The sages teach that
the Creator, Elohim is “The Place” of the world, but the world is not His “place.” In other
words, it shows that the world as we know it exists within a place, “The Place” which is in G-d.
This space, if you will, is here and dependent upon G-d whereas G-d is not dependent upon
this world for His existence. Hopefully, that is as clear in writing as it is in my head at the
moment!
Note the lead in to “”Place” in verse 11. Depending on the version you read, it is translated in
English as “He came to”, “He came upon”, He lighted upon” and so forth. These various
translations come from the Hebrew word “Paga.” Paga is translated more accurately as, “to
encounter, meet, entreat, make intercession, join, fall upon, touch, among some other
definitions.
I especially like the following definitions and think they are particularly important in context of
what is written and what occurred there. Encounter, intercession and touch make a whole lot
more sense to me. Instead of he came to the place it could read, “he made intercession with
G-d (The Place.). He touched G-d (The Place). He encountered G-d (The Place.) Regardless
of which one you like the best, I think you’ll see that there is more going on here than meets the
eye when reading only the English translation.
I also especially like when Ya’akov (Jacob) names the place at Bethel, or the House of G-d. We
are told that the name of the place formerly was Luz, or light. In keeping with the teaching of
the sages, this place is not only the location G-d selected for the Holy Temple, but they teach
that this is literally the place where Heaven and Earth are connected. The stone where upon
the Holy of Holies would rest was the very stone that was first created when creating the Eretz
(Earth.)
Now that your appetite has been stirred, explore the Scriptures for yourself and see what you can discover ! 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!