Devarim (These Are the Words) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion
THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION:
Devarim (דברים | Words)
Torah: Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27
Gospel: Mark 14:1-16
A special portion for Shabbat Chazon is read this Shabbat!
Shabbat Chazon (שבת חזון | Vision)
Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27
This Week’s Torah Portion | July 19 – July 25, 2015 – 3 Av – 9 Av, 5775
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 Parashah for this week August 7-13, 2016 is called D’varim- “Words”
TORAH: Deuteronomy 1:1—3:22
HAFTARAH: Isaiah 1:1-27 (Shabbat Chazon—“Sabbath of Vision”)
Shabbat Chazon—“Sabbath of Vision”, so-called because the Haftarah for the Sabbath coming before Tish’a B’Av (the Ninth of Av) is always taken from the first chapter of Isaiah, which begins “The vision of Isaiah”. It is the third and final “Haftarah of Affliction/Admonition”
This week we enter the Book of Deuteronomy (Hebrew: D’varim—“Words”), a great collection of addresses given by Moses to Israel shortly before his death. It includes reminiscences regarding where they have been, what God has done, final instructions, warnings and admonitions regarding what is ahead.
*Deuteronomy 1:2-3. “It is eleven days’ journey from Horev by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea. Now it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him as commandments to them…”
The implication is that the 40-year journey to Canaan from Mount Sinai (Horeb) might have lasted only eleven days, but for the peoples’ rebellion and unbelief (Hebrews 3:16-19).
*Deuteronomy 1:7-8. “Turn and take your journey, and go to…the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them.”
After over 2000 years, Israel has miraculously regained her ancient tongue, and begun to be gathered and returned to a portion of the land described here; she is once again a great nation, one to be reckoned with in the world. Her circumstances ‘on the ground’ are, however, still very different from when she was first set marching into Canaan by her God.
*That God would establish Israel’s boundaries according to His timetable. That He will give her leaders revelation regarding those boundaries. Where are the boundaries to lie at present? (Obviously Israel does not at this time lay claim to all those areas lying within Lebanon, Syria and the present-day Kingdom of Jordan originally promised to her). How is Israel to relate to non-Jewish peoples who are presently dwelling in portions of these lands?
*That God’s “kingdom come” among Jewish people living in both internationally recognized Israel and the disputed territories—that Jacob’s children have supernatural revelation regarding both the Kingdom of Heaven and their place in it here on earth in the land of their Fathers.
*Deuteronomy 1:16-17. “Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s….”
Isaiah: 1:26 (From this week’s Haftarah). “I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the ‘City of Righteousness’, ‘The Faithful City.’”
In Israel, there is no “trial by jury”—rather, the “judge” (or a group of judges) decides each case. We are grateful for the integrity and rightness evident in the decisions often made in the civilian courts—everyday ‘traffic’ courts, misdemeanor courts, etc. At the same time, we are aware of cases in which judges appear to have been strongly influenced in their rulings by Orthodox intimidation, or other factors related to “political correctness”. And the higher courts are often influenced by spiritual powers of which they are not aware. Our Supreme Court building itself was designed and laid out for construction under obviously strong Masonic influence; part of its outer décor includes a ‘pyramid’ structure atop the roof.
PLEASE PRAY: That righteousness be supernaturally restored to Israel’s courts. That God anoint and raise up righteous judges as of old—such as Othniel, Ehud, Jephthah, Deborah and Samuel—who will be protected in their youth, and in times of need and repentance rise into their places in wisdom, truth and favour. “Righteousness exalts a nation…” (Proverbs 14:34); “For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice…” (Psalm 33:4-5).
- Deuteronomy 2:10-12; 20; 22; 3:11. In these passages Moses carefully lists the Emim (2:10); Horites (2:12,22); Zuzim/Zamzumim (2:20), and Rephaim (2:11; 3:11) as peoples “great, numerous and tall” who had nevertheless been easily conquered by the time Israel came to enter the Promised Land. It was terror-rumours of these same peoples which had contributed to the evil report of the ten spies forty years before (Numbers 13). If only they could have considered (as perhaps did Joshua and Caleb) that Chedorlaomer, who had defeated all of these giant races (Genesis 14:5, 16), had himself been subdued by their father Abraham through faith in the power of his God, they might have brought back a different report.
Notably absent from the list of “giants” in Deuteronomy 2-3 is any mention of the Nephilim, mentioned, in their terror, by the ten spies in Numbers 13:33. As noted previously, the only place where “Nephilim” are mentioned after the Flood is in that evil report of those spies (including their theory that “the descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim.”). It is the opinion of the writers that, for all the recent interest in Nephilim, both in secular and some Christian circles, Biblical evidence points to their identification with the “angels who did not keep their proper domain…(whom) God has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).
PLEASE PRAY there when faced by evil terrors and spiritual giants which still linger, we will remember the God who was the shield of Abraham (Genesis 15:1) and his victory over all such powers.
*Isaiah 1:16-18. “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”
PLEASE PRAY: That these words will pierce Jewish hearts through the Holy Spirit when they are read in synagogues this weekend—that Jews will find the Way revealed and open for them to come into this cleansing!
*Isaiah 1:27. “Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her penitents with righteousness.”
Praise God! for a redemption which is altogether just…and which brings all who repent (both Jew and Gentile) into a place of true righteousness before the Father—
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).
TISHA B’AV & PRAYING FOR RETURN OF THE GLORY!
Saturday August 13th will be the 9th day of the Hebrew month Av—Tisha B’Av. Because it falls on a Sabbath, the fast day will be commemorated the next day, Sunday August 14th.
From ancient times it has been observed as a fast day (It is mentioned as the “Fast of the Fifth Month” in Zechariah 7:3-5, 8:19), and commemorates the destruction of the Temple of Yehovah in Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.
In Jewish tradition as well as recorded history many other calamitous events have taken place on or near that date—
*the Return of the Spies with an “evil report” after scouting out Canaan (Numbers 13); *destruction of the 2nd Temple by Titus in 70 C.E.,
*the order by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella for expulsion of all Jews refusing conversion from Spain in 1492. In more modern times—
*67 Jewish adults and children were massacred by Muslim Arabs in Hebron in 1929;
*in 1994 the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina was bombed, killing 86 and wounding more than 300;
*On the 10th of Av in 2005 thousands of Jews began to be forcibly expelled from 25 towns and settlements in the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria.
This is only a small selection of dire occurrences on this date. It seems that forces of darkness are stirred to increase their activity against the Covenant people at this time.
*We believe during this season it is important to pray for God’s watchful protection over His people (Psalm 121). Please pray for “Magen Avraham”—the shield of Abraham (Genesis 15:1) to be over all the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Pray that Angels watch over and protect those “who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14).
Because of these events, this has for many become a season of fear and superstition; especially these last nine days “between the straits.”
*Please pray Numbers 23:23: “For there is no sorcery against Jacob, nor any divination against Israel.” Pray against superstition, but that Jews would be led to submit their spirits into the hand of their Redeemer, realizing that their times are safe in His Hand! That in the light of His face, they are delivered from the hand of their enemies (Psalm 31:5, 15-16).
On this day, many religious Jews seek to meditate soberly upon the destruction of the First Temple. We believe this to be right and good. Yet, before the burning of that beautiful building, something much more terrible had occurred. I Samuel 4:21 tells of a day some 450 years earlier, when the Ark of God had just been stolen, and the dying wife of one of the slain priests gave birth to a son, who was given the name Ee-Khavod (Ichabod)—“without glory” or “the glory is departed.” During David’s reign, the Glory was returned. Now in 586 BC, Jerusalem had fallen and the Temple was destroyed. But what was incomparably worse had taken place sometime earlier, when the very Glory of the Presence of the LORD—the Glory whose presence had made the building holy—had again departed, leaving behind a defiled and empty shell (Ezekiel 10:3, 18-19; 11:23).
But that Glory is going to return! –when the One who is “the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature (Heb. 1:3) is recognized and received. In Zechariah 2:5 the LORD declares, “For I will be a wall of fire around her (i.e. Jerusalem), and I will be her glory within!”
A prayer recited in Synagogues from the Siddur reads:
“Our eyes shall behold Your return with mercy to Zion. Blessed are You, LORD, that brings back His divine presence to Zion”
- That the Glory of the LORD will return to Jerusalem—that His Spirit will awaken a longing for that glory in Jewish hearts—and revelation so that He will be recognized and received when He comes.
*Pray that the day hasten when “The fast of the fifth month…shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah!” (Zechariah 8:18).
ON TISHA B’AV (OBSERVED), THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES WILL BE READ IN SYNAGOGUES AROUND THE WORLD:
TORAH: Deuteronomy 4:25-40
Haftarah: Jeremiah 8:13—9:23
Book of Lamentations
The Torah and Haftarah portions for next week (August 14-20, 2016) are called Va’Et’chanan—“And I Pleaded…”
TORAH: Deuteronomy 3:23—7:11
HAFTARAH (Shabbat Nachamu – “Sabbath of Comforting”) Isaiah 40:1-26
In A Nutshell
The portion, Devarim (These Are the Words) begins with a long speech that Moses makes before the people of Israel just before his death. The portion contains a historic review of the forty years in the desert, which Moses describes to the people of Israel.
The portion also deals with appointing the presidents of the tribes and the judges, the sin of the spies and the punishment, the relationships between Israel and Edom, Israel and Moab, and Israel and Amon, as well as the wars with Sihon and Og. Moses reinforces Joshua, son of Nun, as the next leader of the people of Israel, who is to lead them into the land of Israel.
From the cascading of the spiritual degrees and what we learn about the perception of reality, we know there is no world outside of us. All that exists are the spiritual states we go through, states that are depicted within us. Everything is within us, as it is said, “man is a small world.”
We move from state to state. Each state emerges out of its predecessor and is included in it. This is called a Partzuf (face). Each state contains what exists in the previous one, the Reshimot (recollections), impressions, and memories out of which it is born, and which it must now implement. Nothing comes out of thin air; everything relies on what precedes it.
These are the stages by which one ascends from the degree of the desert to the degree of the land of Israel. The degree of the land of Israel contains all the previous degrees, from Adam HaRishon (the first man, Adam), with whom the Torah begins. This is why we find that the Torah always repeats states described in previous books and extends them to the next, higher degree.
We use the same pattern in our daily lives at schools, repeating the same material each time on a higher level. That is, we study the same laws but in greater detail. When we study Newton’s laws on a college level, we reencounter what we have already learned several times at school. The difference is that more formulas are added. This pattern repeats itself in various areas in life.
In this portion we ascend to a very high degree. “The land of Israel” comprises all of man’s desires that are processed and corrected into having the aim to bestow, meaning completely corrected.
All we need is to correct what is in us from the state in which we were born and in which we evolved. We need to turn it from aiming to use our traits egotistically, into using them for the sake of others, as in “Love your neighbor as yourself; it is a great rule in the Torah.” Actually, it is the whole Torah, which explains to us how to correct the heart, meaning of all our desires, which are called “heart.”
Today we do not know where we are. We want to discover the meaning of our lives, the reason for life, and what life is for. These and other similar questions awaken specifically in our generation, and often lead to depression, and drug and alcohol abuse. We have no idea what to do with ourselves.
A little less than a century ago we thought that the more we had, the happier we would be. We believed that over consumption was better than balanced consumption, until we found ourselves in a state of crisis specifically because we received too much and did needless things only to satisfy ourselves. We acted out of the assumptions, “the more we sell, the happier we will be,” and “the more we buy, the happier we will be.” We created the monstrous advertising industry to advertise redundant products and to make us think that they were actually essential.
In the last one hundred years or so humanity has progressed in this manner until we have come to a situation where we are not only unhappy, but are also becoming increasingly poor. We are experiencing repeated instances of scarcity, emptiness, and helplessness.
And yet, we have to learn all that on our flesh. It is the first stage in our development, the “preparation period.”
From that current stage we will advance to the next one, in which spirituality develops. We will understand that if we continue living as we have been, we will ruin ourselves completely. We have become a machine that consumes and disposes, but in the end, the world will be depleted of raw materials and we will have nothing with which to sustain ourselves in a reasonable manner.
This brings us back to the old questions, “How are we to survive?” “How can we have a happy life in a society that is balanced, just, and equal?” “What are the values we should follow in order to have a good life, where we have what we need and deserve?”
The heart of the problem is that part of the society receives without any restraints, while others suffer. To mend that, we are entering with the questions we just mentioned into the next stage—the stage of correction, when we must correct ourselves. That stage begins at the foot of Mount Sinai, when we realize that we must establish a just and equal society, with spiritual happiness among everyone, which will spread through unity and mutual guarantee. If we agree to it, we will take upon ourselves the correction method.
The wisdom of Kabbalah is the correction method. It explains how we go through the first stages of our correction. The first stage after the preparation period is called “forty years in the desert.” In that stage we must have a leader who understands what must be done, who moves ahead, and whom everyone follows toward the desert.
A desert is a place where we do not know how to survive, or how to sustain ourselves—our children and women, as well as the cattle—without food and water. It is a people that passes through the desert, an entire nation, or an individual, in whom there are desires and thoughts that one must gradually correct.
In the desert we correct all our desires to the degree of “desiring mercy.” On that degree a person consumes what is necessary for living, and gives the rest to society. “The rest” is everything that one can produce or do in favor of others. A person dedicates everything to society. This is the correction of desiring mercy. Moses, who is in that correction, is the one who pulls a person from the ego into bestowal upon others. He is the one who takes a person through various individual corrections.
Within that process there is a disclosure of man’s egotistical desires, which are called “the sin of the spies,” “waters of quarreling,” and wars with certain nations—Amon, Moab, and Edom—some of which should be “slaughtered.” These are desires we must refrain from using for the time being because they are so intense that we cannot correct them, but only restrict them.
Under special conditions, a person can correct some of one’s egotistical desires, such as “women.” One can also correct desires that were not used egotistically, but still belong to the ego.
For example, the spoils are some of those desires, some of the Kelim (vessels), the abilities that one can correct. This is how we advance through the desert, where each portion is a stage as we pass through stops and camps where we advance and correct ourselves toward a stage of “desiring mercy.”
This is why the children of Israel, with all the tribes, count who is and who is not advancing toward the state of desiring mercy. It is work for the sake of the public. Each person has what he or she needs for normal sustenance. This is called “just division.” The rest, one gives to the public.
It is not that we all have the same. Rather, it is that each of us has what is suitable for our relative consumption. In other words, since everyone is born different and unequal, the meaning of equality is interpreted differently for every person.
Moses’ speech prepares the people for the next degree. The next degree is not one to which Moses belongs, but is the degree where Joshua continues. How can he prepare the people for the future challenges in the land of Israel—with just division and equality among them—when they conquer the land, encountering desires they have never used but must now cope with? How can Moses prepare them for this degree?
The children of Israel used the desires that they corrected, and which they will now correct on a deeper level. In total, there are 613 degrees within us. First, we correct them only on the level of the desert, meaning use them only on the degree of Bina, the degree of desiring mercy. Subsequently, on the level of “the land of Israel,” a person turns these desires to ones with the aim to bestow.
These are the same desires; there are no others but them. Within us is a kind of package of desires, all of which are egotistical with respect to others. They are called the “evil inclination.” We correct these desires in two stages—the “desert” stage and the “land of Israel” stage. However, we always work with the same desires.
In the “desert” stage, a person corrects the desire using the special upper force—the Creator. However, the means to do that is Moses, who is our connection to the upper force. Within us is a quality named Moses, where by using it and connecting to it, we connect to the upper force. This is why Moses is called a “leader.” A leader is one who can help us connect to the upper force. The leader understands and knows all the processes we must go through, or we would have no need for him. He is the highest quality within us, which recognizes the Creator and is similar to Him. Through it, he connects to the upper force.
A person sets himself in a special, direct line, where all of one’s desires connect to Moses, and through Moses to the Creator. For now, this is how he discovers the Creator—partially, from time to time. He “speaks” to Moses openly, and through signs to others, as much as those desires in a person can discover the Creator.
In the next stage, when we enter the land of Israel, the quality of Moses in a person can no longer accompany us. There needs to be a more advanced quality toward the other corrections, a quality called Joshua, son of Nun. In fact, it is still Moses but with a higher role, with more responsibility. Although Moses seemingly gives him this role during their forty years in the desert together, in fact, Joshua is Moses having ascended to the degree of the land of Israel.
The degree of Moses passes away on Mount Nevo, on the other side of the Jordan River. The desires are divided within us into the land of Israel, Jordan, beyond the Jordan River, Lebanon, Syria, and so forth.
Afterward Moses begins the next degree, called Joshua, son of Nun. We all begin our corrections on the degree of the land of Israel. That is, all the desires at the level of the desert climb up to the level of the land of Israel, becoming fully in favor of others.
First the people who live in Israel today must become aware that they are not yet in the “land of Israel.” Can it be said that we have hardly reached the desert?
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, we are in total exile, not even in the desert.
What about leadership, do we have it?
We have no leadership because we do not want one. If we wanted spiritual leadership we would receive one; we would discover the leader internally as well as externally.
How will there be leadership if we are entering uncharted territory?
Indeed, the leaders themselves have no idea what to do.
Where is Moses?
If we want him, we will have him.
Is it inner work?
It is also inner work. If we want to correct ourselves we will discover him on the outside, too. All of a sudden, a new leader will appear whom we did not see or know before. And we will know that it is truly him.
The children of Israel also did not wish to accept Moses’ leadership. Several times during the period of the desert they tried to bring him down. On each degree, a person must scrutinize if this is truly the force that one is following, since that power constantly increases.
It is not a nation or cattle that someone is taking with them. Everything is obtained by educating the people. Only through education does the people begin to see where to go and who can be the leader. The people will see it very clearly. This is why everything must be done by education. All the slogans that people write must first be explained: What is equality, what is justice?
Indeed, what is equality? After all, we are different and we have different needs.
True, everyone should receive differently in both quantity and quality. It cannot be any other way.
But someone might say, “My ego requires ten million dollars a year.”
This is why we first need an education system that will teach us Nature’s laws, the laws of Creation that are appearing before us now. First, we must all learn about it, open our eyes, and see the world we live in. Perhaps we are unaware of what the world is truly like; perhaps we are demanding things that harm us, as babies sometimes do.
Those who are suffering might listen, but right now not everyone is suffering.
We all think we are suffering, and we all think we deserve more. Therefore, according to the wisdom of Kabbalah we must begin to balance out society, and at the same time begin to educate, teach, and oblige everyone to study Nature’s laws. We send our children to approximately twenty years in school and university to prepare them for life. Now we are all as little schoolchildren in regard to the world that is appearing before us, and we must all go to school.
The wisdom of Kabbalah explains what we are facing. This is precisely why it is appearing. If we do not learn, we will continue on our path, just like an obstinate child who does not listen to its parents and puts itself in danger.
We need a preparatory stage. At the moment, many people are out on streets yelling with pain. First they need to be given something to calm them down so they may listen.
It has to be in tandem, or it will lead to terrible destruction.
You mean you cannot settle for just one of them, but must establish both?
The ruin of the Temple happened due to unfounded hatred. How can we avoid unfounded hatred today?
This hatred is the result of our heightened egos, the sin of the spies. We do not want to go to the land of Israel, and it seems to us that it is hard, forbidden, that it is not for us, that it is dangerous. We are made to think that Kabbalah can make us mad, that it is mysticism. In short, we are repelling our own correction any way we can.
The spies tell us, “We must correct ourselves; we must come to a state where we are all friends, brothers, in mutual guarantee and equality.” But what equality are they talking about? Do they want equality? These are nothing more than slogans. Everyone is saying, “Give me what I deserve!” But why do they deserve what they demand?
For people to listen there must be a terrible decline.
True, but we can prevent it. To do that, we need to make our real situation known. We are currently in a new generation, in a completely different place. Our reality is different. We have yet to find the proper name for it, but social ties are different, and so are our international connections.
When people are in pain they begin to hate those who are not like them. And yet, we are now witnessing a process of fusion. How do we keep from disintegrating due to unfounded hatred?
It is a process of coalescing whose purpose is to break, not to build. This is the biggest problem—that all these forces are now uniting in order to break. Therefore, we should explain as much as we can that there is something very risky here, that we must deliberate, that we must set up round table discussions and begin these discussions throughout the nation, continuously.
What is social justice? Is there such a thing as objective, absolute justice?
Yes there is—when each receives only what is needed to survive in a reasonable manner.
Who would monitor it?
According to the overall budget, as much as one can. First, it is tested in percents, how much each one needs overall. Similar to Social Security, everyone receives the same amount, the poor and the rich receive the same allowance from Social Security.
It is an economic calculation that in the end must be balanced out. The important thing is to bring the world and the nation to know where we are and why we are the way we are. Now we are required to understand what is a state (country), what is that system, how it works, and how to determine rules. Each of us must partake in it, giving something of ourselves.
What is the condition for success?
The condition for success is that we sit down and learn what is the new world, just as children are prepared for twenty years before they become productive citizens. We have yet to reach that level—being citizens of the integral world we live in. There are new laws that have surfaced, and no leader or government knows what do with them. Answers can come only by studying the new foundations, which the wisdom of Kabbalah reveals to us.