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Regular Forum Beresheet (Genesis 1:1-6:8)
It's overwhelming- trying to study the portion of Torah this week. I can't seem to get past the first word! Beresheet (beginnning) means more than simply the starting point. It is compound word (in Hebrew) beit (meaning two, or second) raish (which means first or head). In the beginning can mean "second start" (boy, doesn't THAT get the curiosity flowing). But, more naturally, it reads as "the two firsts" (the first of the heavens and the first of the earth). Now, don't go crazy with any of this. The word "beresheet" can and does simply mean "the beginning". But, within the complexity of the language, there is so much more that is hinted out. The comparison between heaven and earth: earth being a place of chaos, heaven (contrastingly) a place of order- it makes sense: heaven is the abode of the Most High and the earth has been given to the sons of men (Psalm 115:16)
Wondering at Creation: Take a moment to re… Dec 3 2011, 07:59 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 21 Replies: 0
Regular Forum Noakh (Genesis 6:9-11:32) The earth was full of violence Oct 20 2012, 07:57 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 21 Replies: 2
Regular Forum Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)
Torah portion “Lech Lecha” begins with the command of the Most High God instructing Abram to “go”. But the word “go” (Hebrew “bo”) isn’t used. Instead, He chooses terminology that roots from the word “halek-ha” which describes the normal and regularly travelled paths. Abram wasn’t being asked to simply relocate from point “A” to point “B”. “Lech Lecha” is better understood in terms used by Paul to the Corinthian church: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Abram was given the challenge to live life from a perspective totally foreign to anything he had ever experienced: walking by faith, not by sight. The challenge of Lech Lecha is not to move from point “A” to point “B” but to totally change your mode of transportation… daily: never resting upon the experiences of yesterday but always meeting the new day with the anticipation that God is bringing you someplace you have never been.
Egypt spells Trouble Oct 27 2012, 07:42 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 16 Replies: 1
Regular Forum VaYera (Genesis 18:1-22:24)
“And He appeared” or “made manifest”: the presence of Adonai Elohim (our Lord God) was clearly evident. Such is the example provided for us through Abraham’s life: that God was and is clearly evident because we conduct ourselves in a manner that is demonstrative of His presence. In a culture where faith is defined as little more than a moral preference, it is difficult to perceive a distinction between the varying theologies. All of them promote righteousness as a lifestyle. All of them express allegiance to God. All of them encourage a sense of belonging and community. The evidence of true faith may not be so easy as who has the right answers and whose teachings are most consistent with the Bible. It may not in the list of behaviors we perceive as righteous. The question must lie in if we conduct ourselves in such a way because we believe that it is the right thing to do or because the presence of Adonai is truly evident in our live.
Abraham's Appeal and Our Hope Nov 3 2012, 07:59 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 12 Replies: 0
Regular Forum Chayay Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)
It always seems odd to read the portion entitled “the Life of Sarah” and find that Sarah dies in the first verse and little else is said of her. But, as I read through the Text, and recognize the imprint of her life upon her son and the generations to follow, it is clear that the portion has much to say about her without saying anything at all. My own desire in life is not for fame or renown, but, like Sarah, to leave a lasting impact upon the world around me for generations to come. I think, at times, we do a disservice to great people who have done great things, exalting the finished works that they may have accomplished without following the pattern of their example. I think the Messiah, Himself, may suffer disappointment in my life, where I have given Him credit and glory without it affecting my life.
Rebecca's level of righteousness Nov 19 2011, 08:02 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 10 Replies: 0
Regular Forum Toledot (Genesis 25:19-28:9)
The genealogy, or family tree, of the house of Isaac is contained in his two sons: Jacob and Esau. The word “tol’dot” carries the idea of heritage or foundation. Each of us makes the decision as to which foundation we will build upon: will our life grow out of the understanding of this world, the ways of man or will it grow out of the Covenant. Esau was a man’s man. He was the dude that everyone looked to with admiration. He was the joy of his father. Jacob is described as “plain.” The English description of “tawm” (plain) is a poor representation of the idea we are given concerning Jacob. It is more of the idea of being settled, complete, confident, having nothing to prove. This must have been a dynamic contrast between the two brothers, as it is between the experiences we see in our faith and our relationship with God. Are we resting, settled and confident (though always growing) or are we constantly struggling to prove ourselves (by the world’s standards)?
Predestination Nov 17 2012, 07:26 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 14 Replies: 0
Regular Forum VaYetse (Genesis 28:10-32:3)
There’s always a sense of finality connected with leaving. Not necessarily in a morbid sense: even as we part from someplace we expect to frequent time and again, it will never be quite exactly the same again. Either it will have changed, if even slightly, or I will have changed. Vayetzei is about leaving. Jacob finds himself removed from the comfort, protection and familiarity of home to be surrounded by the savage indifference of this world. We should certainly be able to relate. There is a unique sense of security in this lifestyle that we have chosen: hedging our minds and our homes, finding rest in the Sabbath day. It is so absolutely contrary to the world around us, pressing to take advantage of us or bowl over us without the slightest consideration. Vayetzei is about our daily experiences, holding on to the Covenant Promises of God. When we walk out of our home, traditionally we kiss our finger-tips and touch them to the mezuzah, guarding our homes from the world and its influences. We also kiss it when return, demonstrating the gratitude we feel for this very special place.
Second Adam Genesis 12:28 Nov 24 2012, 06:05 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 19 Replies: 2
Regular Forum VaYishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43)
Some translations say that Jacob “commanded” his servants. Some translations say that he “sent” them. It’s not that these words are so different that makes it worth mentioning. It is rather that they are so compatible. In the Greek Septuigent, the word chosen to represent this idea is “apostalon” or “to apostle.” Suddenly these guys who are sent out in front to meet the potentially violent and angry brother are folks with which we may be able to somehow relate: ones who have been sent into a potentially hostile world on behalf of our Master. The servants could likely rest comfortable that they really had nothing to fear. After all, Esau’s beef wasn’t with them but with the Master who followed. Often, we may find ourselves similarly caught in the middle. We must evaluate what it means to represent the Master and how far we are really willing to hold to that end.
Genesis 32 rap Dec 10 2011, 09:13 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 32 Replies: 1
Regular Forum VaYeshev (Genesis 37-40)
In a vibrant clarity that overwhelming, the Torah Portion “Vayehshev” is about Messiah. At first glance the story seems to be exclusively about Joseph and the hardships of injustice that he suffers. Then this parenthetical story involving Judah is thrown in there. While the understanding of Messiah ben Joseph is well acknowledged: that Messiah must come and suffer in order to make a way for our redemption, Messian ben David (ben Judah) is maybe less obvious: that the Father, Himself, must provide the Son of Promise.
These are the generations of Jacob Dec 8 2012, 05:59 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 32 Replies: 1
Regular Forum Mikets (Genesis 41:1-44:17)
Nothing happens by accident. This is a principle that underlies all of the stories and examples given to us throughout all of Scripture. One interesting method of study acknowledges that not only the context holds significance to our interpretation; but also the presentation of the Text itself. While the chapter and verse divisions we find today were not present in the original Writings, believing that the Text has been superintended by the Spirit of God (the Ruakh haKodesh) throughout the centuries: and nothing is by accident. Relevant to this portion is the title “miketz”, which means, “at the end” or “to the extremity.” The portion this week is about walking in the margins: being taken to the end of what may be considered reasonable, or even possibly, and there finding grace. The story of Miketz is very appropriate to this holiday season (regardless of which of the winter holidays you happen to be celebrating this week). Both of the traditional celebrations revolve around the idea of providing for our greatest needs exactly at the moment we needed it most. A funny thing about most miracles is that they tend to be private. Both the miracle of the Hanukkah and the miracle of Christmas were missed by the general public. Both were only witnessed by the handful of people who needed to see them most.
Endurance Dec 24 2011, 08:48 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 14 Replies: 0
Regular Forum VaYigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27) Joseph gave them all clothes Dec 31 2011, 06:43 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 12 Replies: 0
Regular Forum VaYechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)
Vayechi means “and he lived…” and boy did he! Lots of folks go through life trying to make it just as uneventful as they possibly can. Their only adventure or experiences are what they see on television. Such is not what we should expect in the life pursuing a relationship with Adonai Elohim (our Lord God). Messiah said, “I have come that you may have life to the fullest.” His audience may very likely have understood: a life like David or a life like Israel. Living isn’t the same thing as vacation. A full life should never be equated as a life without turmoil. Both Israel and David are apt examples for us to use. While their blessings and joy and experiences were complete, so was the pain and the struggle and the heart-ache. The challenge of Vayechi is to consider that life is really worth living: not just passing through the existence in a passive state; but truly seeking to know the Most High and willing to take the trip, exhausting and painful though it may be, to get us closer to Him. It’s not always a fun trip; but what a ride!
Israel must lie with his fathers Dec 29 2012, 07:47 AM, By MarkStaneart
Topics: 30 Replies: 4
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