Torah Portion for October 2-8, 2016

THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION: 


Vayelech (וילך | He went)

Torah: Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30

Haftarah: Isaiah 55:6-56:8

Gospel: Luke 24:13-43

A special portion for Shabbat Shuvah is read this Shabbat!

Shabbat Shuvah (שבת שובה | Shabbat of Return)

Haftarah: Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20; Joel 2:15-27

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parasha) 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. All texts are those of English translations of the Scriptures.

The Parashah this Sabbath, October 8, is called VaYelech—“And He Went”

TORAH: Deuteronomy 31:1-30

HAFTARAH: (Shabbat Shuvah—“Sabbath of Return”) 

Hosea 14:1-9; Joel 2:15-27; Micah 7:18-20

NOTE: The Sabbath falling between Yom T’Ruah (“Day of Sounding the Shofar”) and Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”) is called Shabbat Shuvah—“Sabbath of Return” because the special Haftarah used on that day begins with Hosea 14:1, “Return, O Israel!”

TORAH

*Deuteronomy 31:6. “All of you, Be Strong! Be Courageous! Do not fear nor tremble at their faces; for YHVH your God, HE is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Here Moses literally commands strength and courage into the young generation who will shortly be entering the land. And he admonishes against being terrified by the faces (literal Hebrew) of the enemies they will be “facing”. God has created humankind “in His image”-this includes a communicative power, which may be released from their faces. Fallen man retains that power-even when they have become the enemies of God and of His people. A powerful defense against the terrors released by the evil countenances of God’s enemies is released into us as we spend time being renewed in the Light of His face! His is a countenance which strikes fear into the hearts of His enemies, but love and courage into those who seek it in love and trust.

*Deuteronomy 31:7. “Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it.” 

This declaration “Be strong and of good courage” (Hebrew: Chazak v’ematz!) will appear over and over, spoken this time by God Himself in Joshua chapter 1. These verbs are in the “command” or “declarative”—strength and courage are being commanded/proclaimed directly into the person.

*Deuteronomy 31:11. “When all Israel comes to appear before the face of YHVH your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this Torah before all Israel in their hearing.” 

Deuteronomy 31:17-18. “Then my anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them…And I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they have done…”  

In Hebrew, the word “face” in relation to the LORD is used to signify both His Presence and the glory of His loving attention (or lack of it) shining upon His people. Psalm 27 refers to the importance of “seeking His face” when we hear His call (8), setting our hearts to do so (8b), and earnestly pleading with God that He “Hide not His face” from us (9). Psalm 31:16 links the shining of God’s face on His servant with salvation in His loving kindness; and three times Psalm 80 declares “Cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved.”

PLEASE PRAY: for a hatred of darkness and a longing for the light of the face of God in Israel—with a realization that, “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.” (Psalm 44:3). “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9). “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua the Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

HAFTARAH

*Hosea 14:1-2. “O Israel, return to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, ‘Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.”

*Joel 2:12-13. “ ‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.”

*Joel 2:18. “Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, and pity His people.”

*Micah 7:18-20. “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in lovingkindness. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and lovingkindness to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old.” 

Earlier in the week on Rosh Hashanah, many devout Jews partake of an ancient custom called Tashlikh—the “casting” or “throwing.” They go to a body of water and empty their pockets or throw stones into the water, repeating these final three verses from the prophet Micah.