The Weekly Way # 13: Shemot “Names”
The Weekly Way #12: Vayechi “He Lived”
RaYBaSH’s The Weekly Way
Parashah #12: Vayechi “He lived”
B’reshit (Genesis) 47:28-50:26
By: Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
Blessings are a powerful thing. Like the Scriptures says in Proverbs that Life and Death is in the Power of the tongue. Blessings are more than just an, “I wish you well.” In Hebraic thought they hold prophetic significance. So every time we bless our sons and daughters on Shabbat, we are shaping their future and speaking life into their tomorrow. There is a danger is speaking half hearted or blessings you don’t mean, they speak death into a person. Case in point when Rivkah’s (Rebecca’s) brother and relatives really didn’t want her to go be with Isaac the cultural expected blessing was turned into a curse of infertility. In our Torah portion Jacob on his death bed blessed his sons and in our Haftarah portion we see the last wishes were common on a Hebraic deathbed.
I Kings 2:1-12
Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel. Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet. Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother. And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood. So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem. Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.
David wanted Solomon to take care of unfinished business.
BRIT CHADASHA #12
2 Tim. 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith:
Rav Sha’ul’s (Apostle Paul’s) “deathbed” confession was that he had no regrets. Many of us will not be lucky enough to have last words such as David or Jacob, so we need to live our lives in such away as the way we live itself is a blessing, a commission to keep on keeping on and a testimony of no regrets.
“Chazak, Chazak V’nitchazek!”
“Be Strong! Be Strong! And let us be strengthened!”
Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov!
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr
RaYBaSH’s The Weekly Way
Parashah #11: Vayigash “And Came Near”
B’reshit (Genesis) Gen. 44:18-47:27
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr
Things, objects, materials, possessions, goods, stuff, fabricated man-made inanimate objects have replaced ancient by-gone goods of wood, stone and precious metals and is the 21st century form of idolatry.
Idolatry was a major problem in the Torah and not much has changed, same sin, new-fangled package. This is the #1 weapon in the evil ones arsenal. No, that’s not a new car with a bling-bling grill sitting in your driveway, it’s a bear trap with wheels. That’s not a new 52” LCD HDTV with Dolby surround sound, it’s a Vietnamese guerilla covered pit with razor sharp bamboo shanks at the bottom.
So often God has something so much better for us, but we won’t open our fists full of cookies to free our hand from the cookie jar to get the chocolate cake and ice cream God has for us.
What blessings have we missed out on because of an issue with lust of the flesh and eyes and the pride of life (I John 2:16). Are there any “things” holding you back from that next rung in your ladder of whatever God may have for you or has called you to be?
I’m a Jew, born in exile, far from the Land and ways of my people. Even though I’m a dedicated, Torah observant, Natsari Jewish Rabbi, I was nonetheless born in proverbial Egypt and Babylon, and whether meaning to or not, some of Egypt and Babylon has rubbed off on me; go fishing and come back smelling like fish. Hand around a pig sty and come back smelling like pig puckie. At least I’m not blind to it. The good thing is I’m working to remove the tza’aretz (leprosy) of Egypt and Babylon that has attached itself to me.
My country of exile is the world’s top consumer, a land where whoever dies with the most toys wins, a place where ‘bling’ equals success and power, a land where clothes make the man and a sporty car can compensate for a ‘lack of inheritance’. This land is a place where hardly anyone lacks the bare necessities yet the TV tells us we are in need and not happy until we have such-n-such in our lives. I am specifically talking about materialism. The older I get the more ‘things’ decrease in value for me. I am learning to hold things with a loose grip. For example, I use to own tons of cassette tapes and VHS tapes. Besides God, media took up a big chunk of my life. But with the obsolescence of analog and the ‘going the way of the buffalo’ of DVD’s giving way to Blueray, by the sheer speed of evolution technology has taken, how useless it is to obsessively collect music and movies. Either the medium will be obsolete or degrade. The only real lasting medium is the old school book. Sure, it too is not eternal and is prone to degradation, but memorizing, having multiple copies stored in the right conditions, one can have a book for a lifetime.
I’m trying to keep my dependence upon technology to a minimum. I know it’s obvious I enjoy blogging and gleaning information from the Net, but all it takes is one thunderstorm, one computer crash, one virus and I’m off-line till who knows when!? I study a lot online, so I have a backup study plan if the computer decides to be uncooperative.
The longer I live and the more I lose I’ve come to realize that the only things that matter is those things that cannot be taken away or easily destroyed; things such as memories, relationships, dreams and convictions. Sure we must treasure, appreciate, guard, and take care of the material blessings we’ve been given, yet hold on to them with a light grasp and an indifferent heart. Kind of the way a doctor cares but is distant from his patient. So that when you total your car or a fire takes your house, your possessions are burglarized, the market crashes and you lose everything in the bank or even if a flood takes your heirlooms and photographs and yes even if you lose your Bible or Tefillin, you will not be in the least shaken. Most material things can be replaced. You’re a Believer because you chose to be, not because you wear tzitzit or have a kippah or a mezuzah on your door. The Jews in the death camps had none of these things, yet they were still Jews.
One day you must realize that you may lose all but your real possessions and who you really are comes down to the day when you are all alone and you have to make the moral choice to do right or wrong when no human eye can watch. The day when you have nothing left but the clothes on your back or when you stand naked in every sense of the word before the Almighty God to give an account of your life. These things determine the TRUE YOU and what you REALLY possess.
23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
When God unites the Two Houses of Israel at the End of Days (Which is already in progress as we speak) This modern new form of an old sin called idolatry will be a thing of the past. Just like Jacob’s sons had to leave their possessions behind for bigger and better things in Egypt, maybe we in the Exodus from Exile which is to come, we’ll have to leave behind our i-pods, Macs, and Dells, our hybrid cars, RV’s, Homes, our home theater systems and 3-4 digit pay stubs for our new homes in the Promised Land.
BRIT CHADASHAH #11
Revelation 22:1-2 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
As the old illustration goes that you never see a U-haul behind a hearse. And this not only applies to the final Exodus in this world, but in the World to Come and the New Jerusalem.
Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov.
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr
RaYBaSH’s The Weekly Way
Parashah #10: Mikketz “At the end”
B’reshit (Genesis) 41:-44:17
By: Yehudah ben Shomeyr
In Parashah Mikketz Pharaoh has 2 dreams in which the interpretation is one and the same. The first dream of which he sees 7 healthy cows are cannibalize by 7 sickly cows. The second dream Pharaoh sees 7 full ears of corn or wheat (depending on which translation you use) are consumed by 7 withered dried up ears. Meaning there will be 7 years of bounty and them immediately followed by 7 years of famine so severe that the years of plenty will not even be remembered.
These two dreams are like two confirming witnesses and follows Torah protocol where by the word of two or three witnesses let everything be established.
Yosef (Joseph) is summoned and interprets the dreams and is taken from rags to riches, from prison to the palace. He is appointed second in command of Egypt, and in charge of stockpiling foodstuffs for the famine which was to come. The once the famine has ensued Yisrael/Israel (Ya’akov/Jacob) sends his sons minus Benjamin (the last of Rachel’s children) to go to Egypt to buy food to sustain Yisrael’s entire household. Of course they must see Yosef who is unrecognizable to his brothers, because he is clothed as an Egyptian ruler.
Just like Yeshua today, he has been clothed in pagan Christian apparel and has become unrecognizable to His Jewish kin and is one of but many reasons Jews to not accept “Jesus” as Messiah.
Yet Yosef immediately recognizes them. His brothers bow down to him and fulfill Yosef’s teenage dream of their sheaves bowing down to his. Yosef accuses them of being spies and makes them divulge the welfare of their father and youngest brother. To prove they are not spies, Shimon (Simeon) is imprisoned while the others return home with full packs of food. They were not to return until they fetched Binyamin to undoubtedly prove they are not spies. Reluctantly Yisrael permits Binyamin to return with the others to Egypt to get food. When they arrive Yosef’s emotions in seeing his one true full brother overwhelms him and he goes away and weeps. He shows favor to Binyamin in food and gifts. Shimon is released and they are given food and sent on their way. But Yosef hides his drinking goblet in Binyamin’s saddle bag and then sends his guards to apprehend his brothers and bring them back to Egypt, with the intentions of making Binyamin stay with him since he is the one in whose bag the cup was found.
I KINGS 3:15-4:1
I Kings 3:15 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.
Here Solomon Ha Melek (The King) shows God thanks and gratitude for the answer to prayer which he received, namely the gift of Chockmah (Wisdom) and he celebrates and gets others to celebrate and praise God for his Goodness. For we see in the pasukim (verses) to follow that he’ll need all the wisdom God gave him.
I Kings 3:16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.
I do not believe these women were whores, because proven so they would have been condemned to death by Torah. The Hebrew word translated “harlots” can also be translated “innkeepers,” This is clearly who I believe these women were, just as also I believe Rahab was who kept the spies safe when Joshua sent them out.
BRIT CHADASHA #10
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
I can testify personally how God has spoken to me and to the people through me via dreams. Granted, He doesn’t communicate to everyone in this manner. He speaks to us universally through His Word. But He speaks to us as individuals too in unique ways in regards to our personal relationship with Him. He spoke to the Patriarchs in dreams, He spoke the Kings in dreams (and through the Prophets) and it says in the last days ADONAI will again speak to His people in dreams.
More times than naught the dreams will have a two-fold interpretation: One for you the dreamer and one for the Body of Messiah at large. Elements and principles in regards to the dream will always be found in the Torah. This is how you will know if your dream is from God or the sirta archa (the other side: evil). Take your dream to mature, trusted elders whom you know will believe you and has the Spirit of God in them. For many times God will keep the meaning of the dream from you and consult (according to the Torah) two or more elders and the interpretation of the dream is hashed out. Other times as soon as you wake up you will immediately have the interpretation for the dream. As in Yosef’s case, dreams warn. As in Solomon’s case it encourages. It was after the dream God bestowed wisdom on him and he was able to render a wise verdict in the case of the two women who claimed the one living baby was there’s (I Kings 3:16-4:1).
Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov!
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr
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