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Parashat CHAYEI SARAH Readings and Video Commentary

©  Lencer, Wiki Commons

© Lencer, Wiki Commons

Genesis 23:1–25:18; 1 Kings 1:1-31

 

Commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman, The Temple Institute, Jerusalem:

    „The life of Sara teaches us that through their deeds the righteous live on even after their bodies are interred in the ground. The first person to be mourned, wept for and eulogized in Torah, Sara’s death and burial in the Machpelah cave of Hevron established Israel’s permanent presence in the land of Israel:“


Shabbat Shalom

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Parashat Shabbat Chaye Sarah Readings and Video Commentary

Genesis 23:1–25:18; 1 Kings 1:1-31

Commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman, The Temple Institute, Jerusalem:

„The life of Sara teaches us that through their deeds the righteous live on even after their bodies are interred in the ground. The first person to be mourned, wept for and eulogized in Torah, Sara’s death and burial in the Machpelah cave of Hevron established Israel’s permanent presence in the land of Israel:“


Shabbat Shalom

Picture: © stock.xchng (SXC)

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Shabbat Chaye Sarah Readings and Commentary

Genesis 23:1–25:18; 1 Kings 1:1-31

Commentary by
Michael Schneider, Jerusalem:

Our Torah reading begins with Sarah’s death and ends with Abraham’s death. She was 127 years old. Abraham now set out to negotiate in typical Middle-Eastern style for a burial site. How come that our parasha Chayei Sarah means „the life of Sarah,“ although it deals with the death of Sarah?
Jewish sages explain it this way: „The wicked even when they are alive are called dead, while the righteous even after they die are called alive.“ read more…

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Parashat Shabbat SHUVA VaYelech Readings and Commentary

Deuteronomy 31; Hosea 14:2-10; Micha 7:18-20; Yoel 2,15-27
Greeting cards for Yom Kippur, free download, click here >

With The Burning Bush the story of Moses began, today we are approaching the end of his farewell-story. In German Synagogues it’s usal to sing a farewell Sabbath Song, the „Adon Olam“, at the end of every Shabbatmorning ministry in order to protect us from forgetting that He is the „Lord of the Universe“ when we are back in our homes▼

Commentary by Michael Schneider,
israel today, Jerusalem:

In our reading, we reach Moses’ last day. He was exactly 120-years-old. According to Jewish tradition, he was born and died on the same day of the year, the seventh day of the Hebrew month Adar. The age, 120, is reserved for a righteous person. This is the memorial day of all descendants whose death location and date is unknown, like Moses.

Joshua, takes over as leader and brings the people over the Jordan into the Promised Land. Moses, before he left, said to the people: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.“ (31:6) He encouraged them that just because he was leaving, didn’t mean God would.

The last thing Moses did was write the whole Torah and pass it to the priests, the Levites. This is also the last commandment of the 613 Commandments of the Torah, to write down the Torah.

But Moses knew to whom he was talking to, that’s why he emphasize so often to be ‘circumcised by heart’ (30:6): „For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death?” (31:27).
We should not put our trust in man, but in the LORD alone!

Shabbat Shalom

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Parashat Shabbat Ki Tavo Readings and Commentary

Deuteronomy 26:1 till 29:8; Isaiah 60:1 till 22
From 1st Elul thru Hoshana Raba Psalm 27 will be read additionally in the Shacharit and Maariv
( For Rosh Hashanah Greeting Cards click > Greeting Cards )

    But first of all „Listen to the Music“ – A all days morning and Sabbath Song :

Commentary by Michael Schneider, Jerusalem:
The backdrop of this week’s Shabbat reading is the giving of the “first fruit” of the ground “when you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance…” (Deuteronomy 26:1-2). As we can see, it is a commandment that relies on being physically located in the Land of Israel. Every time a person brought this sacrifice to the LORD, he emphasized his gratefulness for and connection to the land and people of Israel.

The Hebrew word for “first” is reshit, which is also the first word in the Bible, leading Jewish scholars and sages to conclude in the Talmud that the universe was created because of these first fruit offerings. Moses goes on to enumerate God’s mighty deeds on behalf of Israel, including how He took “a wandering Aramean,” as he affectionately refers to Jacob in verse 5, and made out of him a vast and mighty nation and planted them in the Promised Land. He then urges the giving of thanks. “You shall rejoice in all the good which the LORD your God has given you…” (26:11) Here we find a principle: True joy comes from giving our first fruits, the best of what we have, to the Lord. This leads to perfect joy. King Solomon, blessed with divine wisdom, backs up this principle in Proverbs 3:9-10: “Honor the LORD from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.”

Solomon knew this secret.

This offering of the firstling was and should always be accompanied by prayer (26:15): “Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel, and the land which You have given us…” It should then be followed with a remembrance to keep God’s statutes and ordinances “with all your heart and with all your soul.”

In chapter 27…

God’s Sabbath International tries to observe common understandings between Jews and Christians – here:
…we read that once the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River (symbolic of baptism) they were commanded to write the Law (Torah) on their hearts. If we translate the situation to the spiritual realm with our personal walk with Him and the Promise Land is the promised Kingdom of Heaven, we can see the fullfillment of the New Covenant shown in Jeremiah 31: “I will put my law (torah) in their minds and write it on their hearts.” In our portion in verse 8 we find an interesting ending, which in Hebrew says ba’er hetev, and which means in English: make it clear or explain it well. By this Orthodox Jews understand, in keeping with the Jewish tradition, that when the Written Law was given so was the the Oral Law, those unwritten precepts that later became the foundation of the Mishna and Talmud.

Moses added instructions before the Children of Israel (without him) cross the Jordan River. Six tribes were assembled on the mount of blessing, Gerizim, and the other six on the mount of curses, Ebal, where we find a long list of things those redeemed by the Lord are not to do (verses 15-26). In chapter 28 we find a lineup of all the blessings that will come over the people if they will hear and follow the voice of their God. “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.” (verse 26) This blessing is used among Jews till today, and is even framed and hanged as a blessing over homes.

But Moses knew his people and therefore he continues a much longer list of “but if you do not obey the LORD…” In this list from verse 16 to 69 we find all what one wouldn’t wish upon himself or anyone else. We read in 28:28: “The LORD will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart.” Unfortunately, also verse 53 was put into effect in the History of the Jewish people, when the city of Jerusalem was sieged.

The answer, why all this will happen, is also given: “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart…” Moses continues to warn them with these words: “It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.” (verse 63) “In the morning you shall say, ‚Would that it were evening!‘ And at evening you shall say, ‚Would that it were morning!‘ because of the dread of your heart…” What terrible words. But in our messianic chapter in Isaiah 60 we find comfort. After all the suffering that came over the Jewish nation and what was foretold already in Moses’ time, also this promise will be fulfilled: “Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you!”

Shabbat Shalom

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Parashat VaEtchanan Shabbat Nachamu Readings and Commentary

The Shabbat after Tisha B’Av is also called „Shabbat Nachamu“, Shabbat of consolation, for now, after three weeks of mourning (Bejn haMejzarim – between the afflictions) to the destruction of the temple, seven weeks will follow in which the life in full color splendor is to return. „Nachamu Ami“ („Be comforted my people“) the people will sing …

… the Sabbath songs according to the Haftarah, see down.

Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11; Haftara: Isaiah 40:1-26

Extracts of the Commentary by Michael Schneider,
Israel today, Jerusalem:

Our weekly reading begins with a moving prayer by Moses requesting that God allow him to enter the Promised Land, despite his earlier sin of striking the rock for water when he was instructed to merely speak to it. read more…

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Parashat Shabbat Chukat Readings and Commentary

Numbers 19:1 – 22:1; Judges 11:1-33
by Michael Schneider, Jerusalem

In many Synagoges the Shabbat service ends with the Sabbath Song „Adon Olam“ [He reigns]

Commentary:
This week’s Torah portion Chukat / Hukkat contains further „ordinances“ (Hebrew: hukkim). First, we read about the „water of cleansing,“ an atonement mechanism made from ashes of the sacrifice of a red heifer. The ashes are kept (Numbers 19:19) for the cleansing of a person who came into contact with a dead body or became unclean even by touching a grave.

Not much is known about the red heifer, but Jewish sages say nine red cows have been sacrificed since the giving of the Torah. According to Rambam, sacrificing the tenth red cow is reserved for the Messiah himself. Moses and the high priest Eleazar sacrificed the first red cow, slaughtered and burned outside of the sanctuary in the desert. The „cleansing ashes“ of the cow were kept and used for many years.

Scientists are currently conducting tests and experiments on farms in Israel to try to isolate the genes of a red cow – not a single black or white hair is allowed.

Chapter 20 goes on to talk about Miriam’s death and burial in Kadesh.

And then, when water became scarce once again, the grumbling of the people also picked up. „Why did you take us out of Egypt to die in the desert?“ (20:5). From a human perspective, the people had a good reason to grumble in the blistering heat. Believe me, many of us would do the same! But Moses took his rod and said: „Hear now, you rebels; must we bring you water out of this rock?“ (20:10). Angrily, Moses struck it twice instead of just speaking to the rock as God had commanded. This was happening while he was still coping with the death of his beloved sister who had saved him when he was a child.

As God’s representative, Moses did not act as the Almighty had commanded. The punishment was harsh: Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. But even though God punished Moses and Aaron, He provided water, the so-called bitter waters, but water in abundance, enough for more than 1 million people – another miracle!

When Aaron died, the people mourned for 30 days and Eleazar, his son, became High Priest. Chapter 21 talks about the victory over the Canaanites from Arad.

When the people complained again about a lack of water and food, the Lord sent poisonous snakes among them and many died. A serpent of bronze was erected on a pole and became salvation and healing for all who saw it. The serpent on a pole later became the symbol of modern medicine. Again, the punishment for the repeated grumbling ended in healing.

This event holds deep spiritual meaning: The fall of mankind occurred because of a serpent that infected all of mankind with its devilish poison.

Shabbat Shalom

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Parashat Vaeira Readings and Commentary

Exodus 6:2 – 9:35; Haftara: Ezekiel 28:25–29:21

Abstract of the commentary by Michael Schneider, Jerusalem:
This week’s Torah portion shows us how the children of Israel first began experiencing freedom from slavery as the LORD began making Himself known to them. God had a plan to deliver his people, first, by bringing them out of Egypt and redeeming them and then taking them as His people (v.6–7). This is also the way He saves people from the bondage of sin.

    Sabbath Song: Adon Olam

Aaron, Moses’ brother, became his mouth, speaking in his place even though God commanded Moses to speak to Pharaoh. But all this shows is that it’s a waste of time to try and argue with God because His plans will always be accomplished.

God wanted to show His power in the battle between God and man as he did with Pharaoh and showed all of Egypt (the world) His ‘great judgments’ (7:4). He works the same today, showing the nations His work of restoring and returning His people back to their Land – even in much greater dimensions, according to the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 23:7–8.

There’s a story of a minister who was preaching in northern Alaska about the ‘Return of the Jews.’ More than 5,000, including Eskimos trekked through the arctic ice to hear of God’s mighty work in our time.

The world watched and was amazed. The birth of the State of Israel became the greatest miracle of the century!

In Ezekiel, the prophets says, “When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations… They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God” (28:25-26).

We first read about seven of the 10 plagues before deliverance from Egypt, in an ascending order of distress. They began by striking nature first, then the animals, followed by man.

It is remarkable that during the plagues, the children of Israel were set apart. They didn’t suffer as plagues rained down on Egypt (8:22). In spite of the blood, they were able to drink clean water and received light in the land of Goshen, despite the darkness. God, also, takes care of His children in today’s dark world.

However, before God plagued Egypt, He always hardened Pharaoh’s heart. As Moses demanded, “Let my people go, so that they will serve Me!” These words threatened Pharaoh as felt he’d lose his power.

This is why the first part of the command is easier with an emphasis on ‘Let my people go!’ The second part, ‘So that they will serve Me!’ is harder to follow and is why those of us who are stubborn will fail.

God did His part in delivering His people, now it’s our turn to have a change of heart.

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Shabbat Vayetze Readings and Commentary

Genesis 28:10–32:3; Hosea 12:13–14:10

Commentary by Michael Schneider, Jerusalem:
Jacob begins his walk with God which was not so easy at the beginning, thus the emphasis is on “And he departed.” He left for a foreign country and place called Haran – far away from his father’s house. It was important that God reassured him of the promise: “…Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go…” (28:13-15).

This time it was revealed personally to Jacob through a dream of a ladder connecting heaven and earth and angels of God ascending and descending. It was Jacob’s first personal prayer with the God of his fathers. He said: “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.“

Jacob called the place “House of God,” in Hebrew Beth-El, from here the gates of Heaven were open. At this place, Jacob made a covenant with God: “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey…” he will give Him a tenth of his riches. This became the secret of Jacob’s success!

Again we find in chapter 29 the first meeting of a future wife at a well. He fell in love with his cousin, Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban, a shepherd just as he was! This time it was one of Abraham’s clan (Jacob) who watered the animals of Laban’s flock, as Rebekah had done for Abraham’s servant before. We read that “Laban ran toward Jacob” (29:13) – was he expecting more gifts like Eliezer did?

The ways of the LORD are indescribably wonderful. What was Laban’s deceit? He gave him his older daughter to marry after he had promised the younger, Rachel. That should have reminded Jacob of how he deceived his half-blind father Isaac. The older sister and his first wife, Leah, had “weak eyes” (29:17). As Jacob, enraged and disappointed, reacted to the deceit, Laban said: “…It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn.” (29:25-26) Immediately Jacob found himself on the other side of deceit, as he had done to his father, reaping what he sowed! That’s how God work.

Jacob worked another seven years for Rachel. We read: “…and they (the years) seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.” (29:20) Now Jacob had two wives and he loved one and hated the other. That’s why the New Testament later recommends, like in 1 Tim. 3:2, to take one wife. God saw the discrimination of man and decided to close Rachel’s womb, the loved one, and open the womb of Leah, the hated one. It was the same with the two wives of Elkanah in 1 Samuel. God is just and merciful.

With her first three sons, Leah tried to win Jacob’s heart (29:32). Rachel adopted the solution of Sarah, Abraham’s wife who gave her handmaid Hagar to her husband. She gave her maid to Jacob so that “she may bear on her knees” (30:3). Eventually “God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb.” Yes, God remembers, hear and act! After the birth of Joseph, Jacob wanted to return to “his place.” And Laban realized “that the LORD has blessed him on Jacob’s account.“ (30:27) May it be a clue for gentiles toward the Jews!

Shabbat Shalom

If you speak German find here an article about who’s God’s People – Gottes Volk

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Shabbat Nitzavim-VaYelech Reading and Commentary

Deuteronomy 29:10-31:30; Isaiah 61:10-63:9

With The Burning Bush the story of Moses began, today we are approaching the end of his farewell-story. In German Synagogues it’s usal to sing a farewell Sabbath Song, the „Adon Olam“, at the end of every Shabbatmorning ministry in order to protect us from forgetting that He is the „Lord of the Universe“ when we are back in our homes▼

Commentary by Michael Schneider,
israel today, Jerusalem:

It is common that these two weekly Torah portions are read together on a Shabbat. Further, this Shabbat the 25th Elul is als in Judaism marked as the first Day of Creation of the universe – and six days later at the creation of man we celebrate the New Year 5768.
We approaching Moses’ farewell speech before the leaders of the tribes. In our reading we find a confirmation of validity and eternity in the promises to Moses, the humble servant of God as in verses 14 and 15: „Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath… but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here today.” A eternal covenant!“then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.” (30:3)

In the same chapter the Lord of hosts says that His commandments are not ‘Mission Impossible’ caliber, but can be reached. As a believer I understand, that God’s commands can be observed. We do not need to travel across continents and countries, even not to so-called revival conferences to experience God and His will – for His ‘Word is very near’ – to your mouth and your heart!

It was assured from then that the Good News, God’s divine word, would be spread all over the globe and no one would need to travel to experience salvation or healing.

„See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity!” (verse 15) This is the LORD’s same proclamation to man today. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people…” (Isaiah 65:2).

Moses pled and hopes that his people, who he knew well for 40 years, would “choose life, and therefore live… between life and death, blessing and curse, that I have set before you” (30:19). It is also set before us today!

In our second reading, we reach Moses’ last day. He was exactly 120-years-old. According to Jewish tradition, he was born and died on the same day of the year, the seventh day of the Hebrew month Adar. The age, 120, is reserved for a righteous person. This is the memorial day of all descendants whose death location and date is unknown, like Moses.

Joshua, takes over as leader and brings the people over the Jordan into the Promised Land. Moses, before he left, said to the people: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.“ (31:6) He encouraged them that just because he was leaving, didn’t mean God would.

The last thing Moses did was write the whole Torah and pass it to the priests, the Levites. This is also the last commandment of the 613 Commandments of the Torah, to write down the Torah.

But Moses knew to whom he was talking to, that’s why he emphasize so often to be ‘circumcised by heart’ (30:6): „For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death?” (31:27).
We should not put our trust in man, but in the LORD alone!

Shabbat Shalom

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