Torah: Exodus 38:21-40:38
Haftarah: 1 Kings 7:51-8:21
Gospel: John 6:1-71
Torah Portion for March 6-12, 2016
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.
(Zechariah 8:3; 14:40)
Our Eyes shall behold Your return with mercy to Zion.
Blessed are you, LORD, that brings back His Shekinah to Zion.
(Prayer from the Siddur: See under Shekinah in Torah Portion below)
The readings for this week March 6-12, 2016 are called P’kudei—“Accountings Of—”
TORAH: Exodus 38:21—40:38
HAFTARAH: I Kings 7:51—8:21
*THIS TORAH PORTION carefully describes the concluding stages of constructing the Tabernacle, even down to itemizing the amount of precious metals used. It is noteworthy that neither in this account of finishing the work, nor in last week’s account of beginning it, are the Urim and Thumim (Exodus 28:29-30) mentioned. This suggests that they were not “fashioned” by the creative skills of men, but given by God to be placed in the Breastplate of Judgment.
The Portion then ends with the completion of the work of the Tabernacle (39:32), its erection (40:17), and the coming of the manifest Presence of the LORD to fill it with His Glory—that He might dwell among His people in their travel to Canaan. SIMILARLY, THE HAFTARAH ends with the Ark of the Covenant being brought up from the City of David to the new Temple built by Solomon, with its being placed in the Temple’s inner court, and with the cloud of God’s glory filling the House of the LORD (I Kings 8:11).
*I Kings 8:8. This takes care to point out that in Solomon’s Temple, the poles used to transport the Ark of the Covenant were so prominent that they extended out of the Inner Sanctuary of the Temple so as to be visible in the Holy Place. The LORD’s instructions in the Torah for carrying the Ark had evidently been viewed as ‘lesser details’ by David when he sought to bring it up to Jerusalem from Kiryat Yearim (II Samuel 6:3), resulting in the death of one of his men when the ox pulling the cart stumbled.
PLEASE PRAY that we be attentive to the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27)—realizing that details are just as critically important as what seem to be the ‘big pictures.’
Both of the readings this week have to do with completing preparations of a place—and then the coming of God’s Presence to dwell among His people. Although it does not appear in Scripture, a Hebrew word sometimes used for the manifestation of the glory of His Presence on Earth is Sh’khinah, or in English: “Shekinah.” It is related to the word shakhan which we discussed several weeks ago, when we read in Exodus 25:8 of God’s desire to shokhen—to dwell closely with, to neighbor with His people. And of His delight that they should so also desire for Him to be among them, that they would willingly sacrifice to prepare a mishkan (tabernacle)—a place for Him to dwell.
In this week’s Parahsha, the Glorious Presence—the Shekinah of God—comes into the place prepared for it. There would be a tragic time, many years later, when that Presence would depart from its mishkan (Ezekiel 11:23). It has been a longing within the Jewish soul ever since that it return. The Siddur, an ancient Hebrew prayer book still used in Synagogues today, contains the following prayer:
Our Eyes shall behold Your return with mercy to Zion. Blessed are you, LORD, that brings back His Shekinah to Zion.
In parts of the Body of Messiah today, one may hear of a longing for the coming of the Shekinah—the manifest presence of the Glory of God. This can be of course a blessed longing (Moses cried, “Show me your glory!”). In welcoming Shekinah—we are not merely calling for some “glorious” experience or manifestation—we are instead responding in our hearts to His desire to shokhen—to dwell among us!
“I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am YHVH their God” (Exodus 29:45).
“And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of Hosts has sent Me to you.” (Zechariah 2:11).
“Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land” (Psalm 85:9).
“ ‘For I,’ says the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her [i.e. Jerusalem], and I will be the glory in her midst’” (Zechariah 2:5).
PLEASE PRAY: for an awakened longing in Israel for the Presence of the LORD to return to His Land. Pray for grace among us as Believers in preparing the way for His Glory. And pray for revelation among Israelis that preceding Messiah’s physical return to the Land, it is possible for His glorious Spirit to take up residence within the individual hearts of all of His people (Ephesians 2:22)—to commune with them and encourage them, and to lead, even as did the cloud and the fire of His Presence in the wilderness.
The Torah and Haftarah portions for next week March 13-19, 2016 are called : VaYikra–“And He Called”:
TORAH: Leviticus 1:1—6:7 + “Shabbat Zakhor”:
HAFTARAH: I Samuel 15:2-34
NOTE: In a note to last week’s Parashah we wrote that the usual Haftarah for VaYa’k’hel was Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26. It should have read I Kings 7:13-26; 40-50.