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Teachings

Below are the teachings from our weekly Torah Studies.  If you would like to join us, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can let you know where and when we meet.

Va’era (And I appeared) Sh’mot (Exodus) 6-9

Torah Portion Va’era (And I appeared) Sh’mot (Exodus) 6-9

Haftorah Reading Ezekiel 28:25-29:21

This week our portion begins with G-d appearing to Moshe and telling him that He had appeared to the Patriarchs as G-d Almighty, El Shaddai but not as G-d Almighty, or the infallible name of G-d. However, we read in previous scriptures that Abraham used this same name when addressing G-d (Genesis 15:2). So how are we to understand these verses? One way might be to look at this verse in light of the promises of G-d. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had known the promises of G-d, of bringing them into the Land and making them a great people. However, they had never seen this promise fulfilled in their life times. They held on to the promise, in faith, knowing that El Shaddai was trustworthy and would, at some time in the future, bring it to pass.

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Sh’mot (Names) Sh’mot (Exodus) 1-6

Torah Portion:  Sh’mot (Names) Sh’mot (Exodus) 1-6

Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3

This week we start a new book of Torah named Sh’mot, after the first word of the book. This name Sh’mot in Hebrew, translates as Names in English. Let’s talk about this a bit and see if there is a lesson for us here. The book begins with the names of Jacob and his sons. Names we have heard before, names that we can remember from the person being a follower of G-d, persons having a relationship with G-d. We read of no other name until we come to the midwives who were known by their refusal of Pharaoh’s order to kill the newborn baby boys of the Hebrew women. Interestingly, one name we do not know is that of Pharaoh. Why is that do you think? Maybe it is because he mocked G-d and burdened the people in their bondage.

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Vayechi (And He Lived) B’resheet (Genesis) 47-50

Torah Portion:  Vayechi (And He Lived) B’resheet (Genesis) 47-50

Haftorah Reading: I Kings 2:1-12

This Torah portion begins with a word that should be familiar to us all. It is “chai” or live/life. When we see this word in scripture it is usually followed by the death of the person mentioned. Here in our portion we see that play out. The point of the word then is not to dwell on the death of a person but rather to look at his life.  Here in our portion we see this in Jacob’s life as he talked to Joseph and reviewed his life where G-d had appeared to him and his connection to the Land of Israel. In a way, telling Joseph and his sons that they too were part of that lineage, not Egyptian, but Hebrews with roots in the mountains of Israel. When we look at the names Joseph gave his sons we can see that this may have been a struggle for him earlier. In Genesis 41:51-52 we read where he named his first son Manasseh, meaning, “It is because G-d has made one forget all my troubles and my father’s household.” When we read these words we can read the hurt in the words and him looking forward to his new life. However in verse 52 we read the name of the second son Ephraim, meaning, “G-d has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” So in this name we can see that now Joseph sees Egypt as the land of affliction. What happened between the births of these two sons? Maybe Joseph remembered or began to realize that he was truly a stranger in a strange land and it would never be his home. This also speaks volumes to us. We must not become comfortable in the land of our affliction. We as G-d’s people have more to live for than the physical things of life. We are in the world but not of the world. John 17:14-16. We are to live life but life is so much more than things. Here in our portion today we see Jacob lay that out to his sons and also to his grandsons. It should also be clear to our spiritual mind as well. What will we leave behind as our legacy when we die? What will we pass on to our children, friends, even strangers we meet along the path of life?

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