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Adat Yeshua Weekly Commentaries

Post List

Are we nearly there yet?

How many parents get tired of hearing that one?! The 40 years ‎of wandering are soon to be over, the camp of Israel is close to ‎the borders of the Promised Land, they are almost there and so ‎what happens? Throw a party to celebrate this achievement? ‎No,they grumble and complain, murmur against G-d and attack ‎Moshe and Aharon! ‎ In Numbers (B’midbar) 20:4-5 we read the questions being ‎asked:…

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Swallowed up

Forty years of wandering in the wilderness had just begun after the community’s unbelief and lack of faith upon hearing the report of the ten faithless spies prevented them entering into the promised Land. This portion focuses on Korach and is named after him because he is so important to learn from: he is our role model of how NOT to behave in the Kingdom. The children of Israel are…

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Parashat Sh’lach

Parashat Shelach (Send) – the sending out of the 12 spies to spy out the land and plan for its capture and settlement. The resultant report upon their return led the people of Israel into a 40 year diversion, one year for every day of faithlessness. However, God’s plans are never thwarted or diverted; in this case, Israel was settled but by a different generation. The passage begins with ‘sh’lach…

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Trusting God in the difficult times

In Numbers 11:1-15, we find Israel a year into their journey and already getting fed up with God’s provision for them. Humanly speaking the desert was an inhospitable place in comparison to Egypt with its fruitful and plentiful food supplies and water. But it was here that we had to learn to trust and not worry. We were being set free mentally, physically and spiritually and had to realise that…

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The Hallmarks of Blessing

The portion this week begins with the command ‘nas et-rosh bnai gershon’: ‘lift up the heads of the sons of Gershon’. This lifting up is of course translated as taking a census, a counting or reckoning of the numbers of men ready to be used in the transportation of the Mishkan and the holy articles. As in all the things of God, everything is exact and designed. Israel was called…

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Wilderness

The portion begins with ‘in the wilderness or desert’. One year ‎after receiving the Torah at Sinai we begin to move on into the ‎next 39 years of wandering through a barren land. We had come ‎out of Egypt (a metaphor for the world’s system) and headed to ‎decision day, our meeting with G-d at Sinai, where we chose to ‎follow (or as the early responses to G-d revealed- rebel…

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Matters of the heart

Our portion opens with the teachings surrounding the Yovel year and Shmittah: how the Land ‎needs to rest from our labours and we learn that man does not live by bread alone, but by every ‎word spoken by God. It is trust and faith that bring life; the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness ‎thereof.‎ In the Haftarah, this message continues: Israel was about to be exiled and the…

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Parashat Emor

Parashat Emor states the broad design for God’s people: “Be ye holy as I am holy”. Indeed we learn a profound lesson – repeated for us twice here in Leviticus 21:8 and 22:32-33 – that it is God Himself who makes us holy. He is intimately involved in the process and status of our sanctity; as with so many areas of our faith, we discover that everything comes from Him,…

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Parashat Achrei Mot-Kedoshim

Reactive Land This double portion focuses completely on redressing the balance after the death of Nadav and Avihu and their sin of presumption, a presumption that God would accept anything they did and the inherent dangers of the people being taught the wrong thing due to their actions if not words. The long section on holiness naturally flows from this event, a corrective reminder of the path of righteousness, a…

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Leprosy, a bit of a sore issue?

This whole section seems so yucky and earthy to our modern ‎sensitivities that we almost think it has to be consigned to the ‎‎‘olden days’. How do we even begin to connect with a section ‎which talks about discharges and emissions, how these make ‎you unclean? What about the uncleanness itself as a concept? ‎Is this merely ritual, sin orientated or spiritual too? What can we ‎learn from all this…

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Righteous Fire

Righteous Fire Let me ask you a searching question. Apart from the Lord, what is the defining feature you automatically think of when you think of Judaism? Is Torah the most important thing, theme and concept we are meant to hold and cherish? I think actually if we consider the space devoted to the Mishkan and the constant and ongoing offerings there, the structure and numbers of priests and their…

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Great at being Ungrateful

The Temple was not a ‘nice’ place to be. It was a bloody and ‎smelly place, not the place for the squeamish, blood was ‎everywhere. There were burning corpses of animals already ‎lifted up and offered as sacrifices to G-d, their blood draining ‎away into the gullies and drains around the altar. Blood, and the ‎sacrifices generally, were core to the daily work in the Mishkan ‎and later Temple. Sacrifices…

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Parashat Vayikra

The bloody path of returning to G-d Jewish children of five years old begin their Torah study with this book, otherwise known as the Torat Cohanim, the Torah for the Priests. How ghastly to start with something as horrific and bloodthirsty as animal sacrifices! Surely we should begin with the Creation, or the building of the Mishkan, something visual and hands on. But no, it begins with sacrifices. And don’t…

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Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei

Why His way is not our way There are three themes that link together in this portion: The ‎commandments about Shabbat, the freewill offerings given by ‎the people and the building of the Mishkan.‎ Why start this set of three with Shabbat? Interestingly Adam and ‎Chava’s life after they were created began with Shabbat. Man’s ‎thinking would be to start with the first working day of the week, ‎but no,…

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Idolatry

It had all started so well, a dramatic departure from Egypt, the ‎parting of the Reed Sea, the miracles of deliverance and ‎redemption still vibrating in the communal memory, G-d had ‎acted to set us free! Moshe had gone up to receive the ‎teachings we were now to live by, and then… tragedy strikes. ‎Just how did we get from the amazing spiritual highs of the ‎Exodus and Sinai to…

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His Design Alone

There are a number of key themes running through the building ‎and equipping of the Mishkan (tabernacle), the altar with its ‎incense and impact on the senses designed to remind us of the ‎need for constant prayer, and the eternal light filling the area with ‎light indicative of G-d’s presence eternally with us. We also now ‎read of commandments to make garments for Aaron, for the ‎priesthood. The Mishkan in…

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G-d’s Blueprint

Nothing in the universe is left up to chance. We do not live in an ‎unpredictable, unplanned cosmos wrought by the hidden ‎uncontrolled hand of statistical randomness. The universe, all ‎creation, runs according to the rules set down by the only G-d, of ‎Avraham Yitzchak and Ya’akov. It is not a cold unfathomable ‎place, hostile to humanity, far from it. It is a warm and above all ‎righteous place perfectly…

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Parashat Mishpatim (Judgements)

Commanded Holiness Last week Moshe stood on the mountain of the Lord receiving the Torah; the fire, the smoke, the physical manifestations of the Lord’s presence! This week we’ve moved from that awesome encounter with God where He gave us the first of His commandments, to the total apparent mundane instructions of how to live and behave in certain situations! Just as we were feeling so close to God, we…

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Parashat Yitro

The Commanded Life We’re back to Yitro again; this is the portion I love each year, a chance to talk about Torah itself rather than the content. This is one of the most important if not the most important portions of the Torah. The impact of this portion in particular has gone far beyond the borders of Israel. God reveals His teachings to Israel, His people, and we in turn…

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Healing of the nations

Tu b’shevat, the 15th of Shevat, is a day designated as the New Year for trees. Our Land has always been a fruitful and blessed, fertile Land, while at the same time having the potential to be incredibly dry and arid, a living picture to the narrow balance we have in Israel between being blessed of the Lord, relying on His faithfulness to provide (as we see today in the…

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