Adat Yeshua Weekly Commentaries
The Reluctant Chosen
Ya’akov is on his journey of becoming a man of God. He has a lot of growing up to do, emotionally and above all spiritually; here is the man who while sleeping on the future Temple site is blissfully unaware of the presence of God, so spiritually deaf is he and as yet untrained in the ways of God. His life is hallmarked by his constant struggles with God and…Read More
Making an Impact
We live in a world dominated by catch phrases and sound bites; ask anyone who either works in this kind of environment where every breath is focussed on ‘outcome related variables’, or ‘objective focussed service trajectories’, or even if you study on one of the many courses that are more concerned with learning the jargon than actually knowing facts, and they’ll tell you how superficial and vague we’ve become as…Read More
A woman of valour, who can find?
This week’s portion is a highly important one for the development of Israel and the purposes of God. It speaks of so many things that are historical patterns that have echoed throughout the ages since, the battle between Yitzchak and Ishmael, the choices made in the flesh rather than in the Spirit, and the lives and legacies of Sarah and Rivkah. Yet it’s named after the life of Sarah, the…Read More
Last week we considered how ‘mercy wins out over judgement’ as the core concept that lies behind the spiritual reality of the physical universe. Through Avraham, the route to redemption begins to take hold, revealing the power and ability of God to turn around any situation, however evil, for good. Those whose spirits are regenerated will see the tension between the spiritual and the physical and will see the triumph…Read More
Can God change His mind?
It all could have been so good, indeed, according to Torah everything was created good. God never acts to do evil or bring injustice; it is however in the nature of man, given the choice, to do evil and bring injustice. From Bereshit we moved swiftly towards Noach and the great flood. For most people the idea of an ideal ‘natural’ lifestyle (as in living in accordance and harmony with…Read More
Shabbat Noach: Knowing how to rest
It is said: Nomen est omen, you are your name. Here we have the first portion in the Torah named after a person, Noach, and his name comes from the Hebrew verb ‘lanuach’ which means to rest. His father chose the name because he felt that through him (Noach) rest would come, or comfort, as some translators have it, from the toil of the land. In some way Noach, as…Read More
The point of it all
Here we are once more, our scroll rolled back to the start and the well-worn path of the history we seem to know so well starts up again. These early verses are so enigmatic; it’s almost as if we’re called to dig deep to understand the broad sweep of the truths contained therein. All of our history is contained in these few verses – and for what? Just what is…Read More
Make a difference!
So we’re wandering, sojourning in our sukkot, we’ve learned the transitory nature of our lives, we’ve learned in the desert that God was our provider and every slice of our lives was held in His hand alone. Sukkot, as all Chagim, draws our eyes and focus inexorably back towards home. But it’s not only sojourning that we focus on. Sukkot as you know is the final harvest time, the ingathering…Read More
Our Father the Rock
Parashat Ha’Azinu In Devarim 32 we read Moshe’s song of deliverance. This lyrical, sung format is meant to be learnt and sung to each new generation, a wonderful song of redemption amidst rebellion, a song of hope and prophecy, of gloom and the ultimate hope of salvation. It’s a song of possibilities, riven with the anguish of a prophet who loved G-d and His people, yet knowing the end from…Read More
Behind the veil
Psalm 19:7-11 tells us that the Torah of God is without defect, restoring the soul. Torah itself lays the answer to all our deepest needs and spiritual hunger and to all our ‘life’ questions. Torah points the way forward to solutions; as we approach the autumn High Holy Days with the Days of Awe and the deep introspection demanded of us, it is good to remind ourselves where to look…Read More
Who wants to prosper? I could guarantee that if that question was asked of anyone they would put their hands up. Who doesn’t want to prosper? You’d be mad not to. It seems so simple doesn’t it? G-d will bless you if you walk in obedience to Him, in the Torah He has given. We know of course that we have to know what the commands mean and how to…Read More
Our portion this week, Ki Tetze, connects with one of the major topics of the modern world: health and safety. Surprisingly the need to introduce health and safety laws on buildings isn’t new. Despite what we may feel about it, health and safety legislation is from Heaven and in the Torah. We are told to build a fence around a rooftop that might otherwise be a health hazard to other…Read More
Living in the Kingdom
This portion is all about the principles of government in Israel, how to rule yourselves. In Devarim 16 we are told to appoint judges and officers in our gates/towns. The portion also includes the crucial section on ‘a better prophet’ and how/when/if a king is to be appointed. It teaches us about justice and righteousness, the need for witnesses who are unbiased and truly neutral, how evidence needs to be…Read More
Mountains of Blessing This portion begins with ‘Behold’, or possibly, ‘See this, look at this’. G-d had put before the Israelites the blessings and the curses, a choice, decisions to be made. In Hebrew the concept of ‘seeing’ is tied to understanding, as it is in English too, I see it (understand it). What was the concept the people were to see or understand? Quite a simple one really, if…Read More
This portion is called Eikev after the first few words in it, meaning ‘because of’ or consequently or as a consequence of. In its entirety, it deals with the themes of what will happen if Israel chooses to obey and of course in parallel, what will happen if not. But above all, this passage deals with the consequences of blessing! What really stopped me in my tracks were the following…Read More
Seeking and finding?
HEAR O Israel, listen to who your God is! Listen to what He teaches you, and then do it! We are the people who hear God and obey (or at least should do) and it is this idea of obedience, doing what God says and wants and the consequences if we don’t, that frames this weeks’ portion. However, the depth of God’s love shines through in Deut 4:29-31: despite our…Read More
Parashat Devarim: Our G-d is alive!
The final book of Torah, the Chumash begins, and it seems it’s all about repeating the Torah again, or is it? Devarim represents the closest we have to a developed Jewish biblical theology. Moshe retells the Torah in a ‘systematic’ or even ‘progressive’ way, showing how links and connections are made, and major themes drawn out. How does Torah all fit together? Two major themes come out of this first…Read More
The ‘Real’ Promise Keepers
Most of this portion is given over to the narration of the Israelites in the process of the last stages of wilderness living; the Land is in sight and plans are being laid to take it. The time for maturity was now upon us, a time to consider what we’d learnt and how to apply it as we entered a new stage of our national development. One of the key…Read More
The point of Pinchas
Balaam may have failed to curse Israel, but he did not give up. If he couldn’t control God, he would at least get the Israelites to fall away from God. The rot from within is always more powerful than from without. He advised them to commit idolatry with the Midianite women (ref: Numbers 31:16 and Revelation 2:14. In the judgement that followed, some 24,000 people died; stopped only by the…Read More
Keeping up Appearances
One of my favourite TV comedy series was “Keeping up Appearances”, with Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet!). The title says it all – appearances can and do fool people. Perhaps we think leaders are most guilty of this; we look at them and say “God is using them” but so often our eyes can deceive us. But we’re all prone to the disease of external righteousness, the need to appear bigger…Read More