This Week’s Torah Portion | January 24 – January 30, 2016 – 14 Shevat – 20 Shevat, 5776
THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION:
From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets.
We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.
The readings for this week January 24-30, 2016 are called Yitro—“Jethro”
TORAH: Exodus 18:1—20:26
HAFTARAH: Isaiah 6:1—7:6; 9:6-7
For our further intercession this week, we will focus upon one of the most powerful Torah Portions of the Year, centered round the descent of the LORD onto Mount Sinai and the release through His Living Word of the Ten Commandments to His people. This event changed the direction of history for Israel and the world, and continues to instruct of His nature and ways today.
*Exodus 18:21-22: “Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders…let them judge the people at all times…”
Moses is counseled by his father-in-law to set up a system of “judges” amongst the people. Yet the word for “select” here is not the same as that for “chose” in verse 25. Rather it is Hebrew “hazeh”—to watch, envision, see prophetically, to foresee. It is of critical importance for the Body of Messiah in Israel that the choosing of leaders of godly fear, truth and honesty be done with supernatural vision and prophetic insight.
*Exodus 19:1-2. “On the third new moon (Rosh Chodesh—“head of the month”) of the setting out of the people of Israel from the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the desert of Sinai” …there Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God” (Exodus 19: 1-2).
The “mountain” is Horeb, the Mountain of God, where Moses had first encountered the LORD in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-2). The Hebrew for “bush” in that passage is sneh. Some believe that the name by which this mountain would be most often remembered in Israel’s future—Sinai, was itself taken from sneh, which in the Hebrew it very much resembles. In that case, Mount Sinai would be the “mountain of the bush out of which the LORD had spoken to Moses, and the mountain out of which He would now speak in the hearing of all Israel.
Today, its location is not certain. Although traditionally assumed to lie either in the center or south-central of the Sinai peninsula, in recent years strong reasons have been advanced for suspecting that the “far side of the desert” (Exodus 3:1; Midian straddled both sides of the Gulf of Aqaba) referred in fact to the north-western corner of the Arabian peninsula—in which case the crossing of the Red Sea might have taken place at the southern end of the Gulf.
The arrival of the Moses with the Children of Israel at Mt. Sinai where they would remain for a year ministering to YHVH (rather than the Pharaohs as they had done for the past 400 years) began the fulfillment of God’s promise to Moses in Exodus 3:12, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve Elohim on this mountain.”
*Exodus 19:4b. “…I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.”
Compare Deuteronomy 32:10-12, “He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so YHVH (the LORD) alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him.”
*Exodus 19:5. “And now, if you will truly heed My voice and guard My covenant, you will become for Me a treasure among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine.”
Compare Psalm 25:10, “All the paths of the LORD are grace and truth (Heb: chesed and emet), to such as guard His covenant and His testimonies.”
PLEASE PRAY: For Israelis to realize that God still longs to “bring her to Himself”, that He has released a New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-33) in the blood of His Son Yeshua, in whom “grace and truth are realized” (John 1:17); that as she embraces that Covenant, she will find that He is still speaking, and as she hears and responds to His voice, she will find again the treasured place in His heart.
*Exodus 19:6, 10. “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation… ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.’”
In Revelation 1:5-6 this call, made first to Israel, is now extended to all those children of Adam who receive the love of Yeshua by being washed from their sins in His blood. In this washing, they enter their destiny, being made into “a kingdom of priests to His God and Father.”
*Exodus 19:16-20. “Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thundering and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the shofar was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled…Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because YHVH descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the shofar sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and Elohim answered him by voice. Then YHVH came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And YHVH called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.”
Compare Hebrews 12:18-29, “For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a shofar and the voice…But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn registered in Heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Yeshua the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks…Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. FOR OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE.”
*Exodus 19:20; 20:1-. “Then YHVH came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain…And Elohim spoke all these words, saying…”
The Scriptures testify that just as God Himself was present in the burning bush (Ex. 3:4), so was He present at Mount Sinai—He “came down” (19:11, 20) and “spoke all these words” (the Ten Commandments). It is difficult for religious Jews to grasp the concept of God taking a literal form, of coming physically into our experience (if they allowed such a possibility, they might then be compelled to consider the claims of His having taken on human form in the person of Yeshua/Jesus!)
To explain away the Scriptural implications, they have contrived many complex theories regarding such manifestations, whether to Abraham at Hebron, or to the other Patriarchs, or His appearance to Moses in the bush and here at Mt. Sinai. John 1 speaks powerfully of the “Living Word” which was with God and which was God, and which was made flesh and came into the world in the form of Yeshua the Messiah.
PLEASE PRAY: for revelation that this same WORD/TORAH which came down and was released at Sinai in the hearing of all Israel, is that Word which took on flesh and came to bear away Her sin—and will return to rule and reign over a Kingdom of Peace. It is traditionally held that this giving of the Torah took place on what would later be celebrated as the Feast of Shavuot (Weeks, Pentecost).
PLEASE PRAY: that this Holy Spirit, which breathed forth the Torah and all of the Scriptures and was released on Pentecost, would awaken revelation within Jewish hearts regarding the Living Word of God which has come down to Earth.
*Exodus 20:4. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image…you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I am YHVH your God, a Jealous god…”
This word for “Jealous” (kana) is used in its noun form in the last sentence of this week’s Reading from the Prophets, Isaiah 9:7. However, there it is translated “zeal” (through which the LORD will establish the government of His SON forever). Righteous jealousy or zeal is always released on behalf of someone or something which is intensely loved. However, when activated in the flesh for selfish motives, the same word is translated “envy”.
*Exodus 20:13. “You shall not murder.”
In some older English translations the word “kill” was used. But the word for kill and that for murder are different words in the Hebrew.
*Exodus 20:21. “So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick cloud where God was.”
This “thick cloud” (araphel) is translated “deep darkness” in Isaiah 60:2. But that darkness is over the “peoples”, and will be dispelled by the rising of the LORD, when His glory shall be “seen.” Today in Modern Hebrew araphel means “fog”—and Israel for the most part is “in a fog” regarding finding her God.
PLEASE PRAY: For the veil to be removed from the eyes of God’s ancient people—that a light rise in their hearts and God’s glory will be seen—that they will be drawn into the “Cloud of Unknowing” to discover the One who has known them from afar and drawn them in lovingkindness.
*Exodus 20:26. “Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.”
It was God who first provided suitable clothing for hiding that which had awakened shame in Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). It would only be through the work of the Son that all humankind could again find themselves clothed, in His righteousness, and their shame taken away. “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Yeshua Messiah, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Romans 13:14).
Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:6-7
The readings from the Prophets for this week (Isaiah 6:1-7:6) contain, in parallel to the manifestation of the LORD’s presence in power on Mount Sinai, the awesome revelation of Holiness made to the prophet Isaiah. Before the holy presence of the LORD “high and lifted up”— the seraphim, the Voice, the shaking and smoke, Isaiah sees himself as unclean and his lips as unclean. Yet as he humbles himself and confesses his uncleanness and inadequacy, his lips are touched with the coal, his iniquity taken away, his sin purged. And he is given a message for his people—a message describing a “veil” which would settle upon the House of Israel (and which continues until the present day)…and the promise of a remnant.
After a shorter message of instruction related to current events, the reading incredibly leaps two chapters to Isaiah 9:6-7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of HOSTS will perform this!”
PLEASE PRAY: For divine revelation of the Holiness of the LORD to accompany this reading—and of His Zeal and Jealousy which has already seen the birth of the “Child”—who will soon be released to return and rule over His kingdom in judgment and justice forever!
The Torah and Haftarah portions for next week January 31- February 6, 2016 are called
TORAH: Exodus 21:12—24:18
HAFTARAH: Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26
In A Nutshell
The portion, Jethro, starts with Jethro, priest of Midian, coming out with Zipporah and Moses’ two sons to meet Moses and the nation, which has come out of Egypt. Jethro gives to Moses some organizational tips regarding how to judge the people, explaining that he should divide them into ministers of thousands, ministers of hundreds, ministers of fifty, and ministers of ten.
The children of Israel arrive at Sinai Desert on the third month of their exodus from Egypt, as it is written, “And Israel camped there, before the mountain” (Exodus, 19:2). Moses climbs Mount Sinai and the Creator tells him, “And now, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be to Me a Segula (chosen/virtue/remedy) out of all the nations, for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel” (Exodus, 19:5-6).
Moses informs the elders of the people about the words of the Creator, and they say, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). The Creator commands the people through Moses to sanctify themselves for two days, and be ready on the third day, for this is when the Creator will appear before the whole nation.
On the third day, the children of Israel stand at the bottom of the mountain, but they do not want to meet the Creator face to face, so Moses and Aaron climb Mount Sinai and Moses brings down the Ten Commandments.
The children of Israel ask Moses to speak to them instead of the Creator because they are afraid to die. Moses explains to them that they need not fear because the Creator is coming down in order to test them, and to set the fear of Him in them so they will not sin.
The Creator instructs Moses to tell the children of Israel that because they saw Him speaking with them they are forbidden to make gods of silver and gold. Instead, they must build an altar on the ground and sacrifice on it.
Jethro, priest of Midian, is not from Israel. He is from the will to receive in order to receive, a Klipa (shell/peel) that has been mitigated by Moses. Jethro rises and connects to Moses through his Nukva (female), his daughter Zipporah, with whom Moses has two sons. This is the big and broken will to receive that the Moses in us is gradually correcting.
When Moses comes to Jethro after he has fled, a connection is made between the point in the heart, Moses, and the ego. Thus, a correction is made so that afterward it will be easier for a person to make corrections on the more advanced stages.
The correction helps one begin to divide oneself into tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands, meaning to build the structure of the soul. The whole Torah deals with the construction of our soul and how we turn our egoistic desire into a desire with the aim to bestow. When the desire acquires the aim to bestow, it is called a “soul.”
The force of reception is called the “self,” “this world.” Everything I see and everything I feel is the force of reception. The force of bestowal is exit from reception. When I work in order to bestow, in “love your neighbor as yourself,” I obtain my soul. My inner Moses is pulling away from the quality of reception toward the quality of bestowal, bringing me out of myself, and allowing me to see the upper world and begin to feel the Creator.
The Book of Zohar speaks about it in great detail in the portion, Jethro, but it is still not easy to grasp. It concerns the three lines, the structure of the soul, reception, bestowal, and the middle line, which is the proper combination between them. The Zohar describes how to divide the soul—first into ten Sephirot, according to the Ten Commandments, then according to the three lines, which is thirty. There is also a division into Rosh, Toch, Sof (head, interior, end respectively), and there are many other inner divisions that include the Sephira (singular for Sephirot) Daat.
When we relate to ourselves as coming out of Egypt, examining ourselves from the outside, we examine how we can use our egos to advance us spiritually, toward the aim to bestow. We go through difficult situations such as the escape from Egypt, the tearing of the Red Sea, until we reach Mount Sinai. This is how we build ourselves on the way to correction—through Jethro’s counsels, as well as though actions.
Being at the foot of Mount Sinai requires preparation. This is the “main event,” when we meet the Creator. While we are in the dark, we do not understand why we need to advance. We follow the point in our hearts, Moses.
In a sense, Moses helps us out of Egypt when we escape in the dark. However, we are not conscious participants in this process. At the foot of Mount Sinai is where the upper force first appears to us. This is when we begin to understand our own essence and the essence of the upper force, as well as how to relate to our situation and the way we need to move forward.
In this portion, the first awareness happens. With it awaken all of man’s desires, called “the people,” or the “nation,” and they are afraid. These desires still cannot connect to the Creator; they cannot see or hear Him. They tell Moses, “You speak.” This is the state at which we arrive from the exile, Egypt, our ego. We begin to hear a little bit only by coming down from Keter (crown), which is the Creator. This process unfolds through Hochma and Bina—when Moses and Aaron begin to bring down the great light that appears to the will to receive as laws, as the Ten Commandments, beginning with the first commandment, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus, 20:2), and ends with the final commandment.
The Ten Commandments include all 620 Mitzvot (commandments). These are 620 corrections, which are 613 plus seven Mitzvot of our sages, by which we have to correct our desires. That is, we consist of 620 desires that divide into 613+7 desires.
The 613 Mitzvot connect within them into 248 and 365, and these comprise the structure of the soul. The soul itself consists of ten parts, ten Sephirot, and their correction is called Ten Mitzvot, or Ten Commandments, which are the primary Mitzvot that were given to man. We ascend according to our position, by how we stand before the light that appears to us. Hearing is the degree of Bina, and seeing is the degree of Hochma.
One who has gone through the entire process and has come out of Egypt rises above the ego and is willing to receive the program of bestowal, the program of connecting with the whole of humanity. Such a person is ready for the revelation of Godliness in the connection between all people, as it is written, “Love your neighbor as yourself; Rabbi Akiva says, ‘It is a great rule in the Torah.’” This rule is both the foundation and the result of keeping the Ten Commandments, with the goal being Keter, achieving love, and through the love of others to achieve the love of the Creator.
In our current state, part of humanity is discovering it is in Egypt, another part is discovering that it wants to come out of Egypt, and a part is discovering how to come out and advance toward Mount Sinai. We are beginning to feel we are in the dark, in a process we do not understand. Each day our need for the light is growing, for the revelation of the Creator, for it to shine a tiny illumination on our lives so we may understand what is happening to us.
We need to fix Jethro, the egoistic will to receive, as it is written, “If one should tell you, ‘there is wisdom in the nations, believe.” If Moses did not connect to the desire called Jethro, he would not receive from him the knowledge of judgment and ruling, which is a necessary part for the reception of the Torah.
By disseminating the method of correction to the nations of the world, the method of Arvut (mutual guarantee), and by circulating the necessity for the wisdom of Kabbalah, we are doing the work that Moses did with Jethro. By that we will be rewarded with standing at the foot of Mount Sinai.
In the portion, Jethro, the people of Israel receives the Ten Commandments. This may be the most important portion because the Torah is correction. So why is this portion named after an “external” desire, Jethro?
Jethro is the priest of Midian, a Klipa that stands opposite. He is one of Pharaoh’s servants, similar to other forces that stood next to the will to receive and helped Pharaoh connect and elicit as much as possible from the desire to bestow—Israel. The Zohar appears to be writing bad things about him, but he is help made against us. After all, everything is within us.
What comes out of Egypt is Kelim (vessels), meaning desires. In the desires that come out there is still no intention to work with the will to receive. Moses, the force of Bina, wants to judge the will to receive, which is detached from him. Even while standing before Pharaoh, he wanted to draw the will to receive, though not in order to connect or to elicit anything from it, but to judge it. However, he was unsuccessful.
When we arrive at the state that exists between Moses and the nation that has come out of Egypt, including the mixed multitude and all the layers that oppose the process of bestowal and love of others, there has to be a special system built according to the will to receive, according to corporeality. Moses cannot build it; he can only give from above, seemingly “pouring down,” this is not absorbed in the people. As it is written, Moses grows tired, and the people, who cannot find the right connection, stands next to him all day.
We cannot find the proper relationship between our desire upward, toward the Creator, and our egos—in the family, at work, and in the rest of our worldly life. We need a system that will provide us with Jethro. The wisdom must come specifically from the will to receive, as it is written, “If one should tell you, ‘there is wisdom in the nations, believe.” Although it does not belong to the degree of Bina, it was previously included in it, when Moses spent forty years with Jethro. Moses grew to the degree of Bina with Jethro; now Jethro is seemingly paying back.
Does Jethro put order between Moses and the desires so that Moses can free himself for the real thing—the receiving of the Torah?
Jethro returns to Moses what he received from him when Moses was with him. Moses came to Jethro after fleeing from Pharaoh. He grew while at Jethro’s from the degree of Malchut to the degree of Bina, pure bestowal. He grew at Jethro’s home and “over” Jethro, through his connection with Zipporah and the two sons that he had—from the right and from the left, with him in the middle. Everything that Moses has given to Jethro and instilled in him is now returning to him—Jethro, Zipporah, and the two sons. There was a mingling of Bina in Malchut, and now Malchut is giving back to Bina.
In this way Moses can now build the entire system of connecting Bina to Malchut, and he is ready to receive the Torah. This is why the first encounter with the Creator is named after Jethro, since precisely because of the system that was built before, it is now possible to reach the state of being at Mount Sinai.
On the one hand, the children of Israel were afraid of turning to the Creator for fear of dying. On the other hand, it is known that the Creator receives specifically prayers that come from the heart. So where does the fear come from? Why were the children of Israel afraid?
Our will to receive is still not equipped with a Masach (screen) that can withstand the light. That is, the light still seems like darkness. What is the exodus from Egypt in the dark? There is no dark, but it seems dark to us because we are still not corrected. The Aramaic word Ohrta (night) is very similar to the Hebrew word Ohr (light). That is, at one time it is night, and at another time it is light, depending on how a person experiences it.
From The Zohar: And Jethro Heard
They all shook and looked at Jethro, who was wise and the great appointee over all the idols of the world. When they saw him approaching and serving the Creator, saying, “Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods,” they all veered away from their works and knew that they were futile. Then the glory of the holy Name of the Creator was glorified on all sides. This is why this portion was written in the Torah, and the beginning of the portion is with Jethro.
Zohar for All, Jethro, item 42
Jethro is the first will to receive that surrenders and accepts the sovereignty of the Creator. This is why this portion is named after him. The Zohar also mentions Gematria, why Jethro is called Jethro, why Zipporah is called Zipporah, and all the other events in the portion.
In this portion we hear that the children of Israel camped at the foot of Mount Sinai. What does it mean to camp there?
Camping is similar to what happens on Hanukah. It is clear that we cannot correct our ego at that time, but only take an advice, a way, a program, a goal that can be implemented over time according to the level of our understanding of the program. Only at the end of the desert, at the entrance to the land of Israel, does the people discover everything that Moses said to them in his final words prior to his demise.
From The Zohar: You Shall Not Kill; You Shall Not Commit Adultery
When that filth was removed from them, Israel remained pure bodies without any filth, and the soul inside the body was as the brightness of the firmament to receive light. So were Israel, who saw and regarded the glory of their master. This was not so on the sea because the filth was not removed from them at that time, while here in Sinai, when the filth stopped from the body, even fetuses in their mothers’ intestine saw and looked at the glory of their Master. All of them, each and every one, received as befitted him.
Zohar for All, Jethro, items 572-573
Spiritual ascension can be the result of two states—an awakening from above and an awakening from below. In an awakening from above, the light shines from above and sanctifies the person, giving one the force of bestowal through which one begins to look into the distance against one’s ego. Such a person sees the world outside oneself, the spiritual world. That person knows the upper force, the Creator. An awakening from below comes from the person through extensive work on connecting with others. When one collects awakenings from everyone, one reaches the same awakening as the one that can be received from above.
Naturally, our own work from below is more desirable and appreciated because if we collect the forces from the friends, and each of them collects strength from the friends, as well, and each has his or her own strength, that force becomes permanently theirs. Here a person is seemingly camping only to take advice as to what to do. To hear the advice, one must wake up. It is similar to the exodus from Egypt through a force from above, an external force that pushes us and pulls us. But afterward we must actualize the forces we have received during the forty years in the desert.
Something special happens at Mount Sinai, purification, a special force we receive.
The light that affects us is called “the light that reforms.” It is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice” because “the light in it reforms them.” It reforms the evil inclination and makes it good. Initially, we are all in the evil inclination, egoists, and all we need is the Torah, assuming it is the real Torah, as it is written, “If one should tell you, ‘there is wisdom in the nations, believe; there is Torah in the nations, do not believe.”
A “person from the nations” is a desire to receive that wants to receive for itself. Israel is one who strives to achieve bestowal, love of others, and from the love of others to achieve the love of the Creator.
This is why those how are craving are called “Israel,” and they learn the wisdom of Kabbalah because it brings the light that reforms. This is how we become sanctified, acquiring the force of bestowal and rise through it. The greater the force of bestowal one possesses, the greater the love of others, and the holier that person is considered to be.
From this portion we can learn that to an extent, our connection between the desire to bestow and the will to receive has to constantly exist. The wisdom of Kabbalah does not tell us to ruin our egos, but rather to use it correctly. This is why it is called Hochmat ha Kabbalah (the wisdom of receiving); it is the wisdom of how to use the vessels of reception.
We do not need to avoid using the vessels of reception, or to be “above” the worldly life. Rather, we need to discover the evil inclination detaching us from connection with the rest of the world, as it was said to Moses, “And you will be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nations” (Exodus, 19:6). That is, the role of the people of Israel is to offer itself to the service of the rest of the world.
 “Love your neighbor as yourself. Rabbi Akiva says, ‘It is a great rule in the Torah’” (Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b)..
 Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b
 Midrash Rabah, Eicha, Parasha 2, Paragraph 13
 Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b
 Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2
 Midrash Rabah, Eicha, Parasha 2, Paragraph 13