Parashat Shemot

Parashat Shemot

Exodus 1 – 6

א וְאֵ֗לֶּה שְׁמוֹת֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הַבָּאִ֖ים מִצְרָ֑יְמָה אֵ֣ת יַעֲקֹ֔ב אִ֥ישׁ וּבֵית֖וֹ בָּֽאוּ׃

ברְאוּבֵ֣ן שִׁמְע֔וֹן לֵוִ֖י וִיהוּדָֽה׃

ג יִשָּׂשכָ֥ר זְבוּלֻ֖ן וּבְנְיָמִֽן׃

ד דָּ֥ן וְנַפְתָּלִ֖י גָּ֥ד וְאָשֵֽׁר׃

 

My thoughts this week in the Torah Portion comes from a lecture I heard from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks where he states ”

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” said Moshe to God. “And how can I possibly get the Israelites out of Egypt?” On the surface the meaning is clear. Moshe is asking two things. The first: who am I, to be worthy of so great a mission? The second: how can I possibly succeed?

God never answered the first question. Perhaps in a strange way, Moshe answered himself. In Tanakh as a whole, the people who turn out to be the most worthy are the ones who deny they are worthy at all. Through a close examination of the text, we can understand Moshe’s question leading to a deeper exploration of worthiness and identity. ”

Who am I?

Seventeen years ago, I began a journey, and I still do not know where it will take me. As Rabbi Sacks spoke in his lecture on the question Moshe had, concerning, who was He/Moshe? I could identify with the book of Shemot, and I gathered a greater insight into my own question of, who am I? People often ask me, why do you care so much about where you come from? Why does it matter so much about your heritage? You were not born Jewish and you have lived as an Egyptian and a Midianite, in a place, so far away from Judaism.

Moses to was raised as a prince in Egypt, and removed from the Jewish people. Moshe was known as an Egyptian raised by an Egyptian princess in the palace of Pharoah. Moshe was also known as a Midianite, who was married to a Midianite priest’s daughter. Shemot 2:21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man; and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 22 And she bore a son, and he called’ his name Gershom; for he said: ‘I have been as a stranger in a strange land.’

Moshe was never raised with the Jewish people. He never suffered or understood their thoughts and ways. Moshe did not even know if they would accept him as a Jew. I have the same question and experience.

Rabbi Sacks spoke of the similarities between Moshe and Ruth.  Just like Moshe and Ruth, I felt as a stranger in a place not my own. Just like Moshe, I was born a Jew, but I did not belong to the Jewish people. I looked like an Egyptian and acted like an Egyptian. I did not grow up Jewish, therefore, I did not belong to the Jewish people. Ruth was not Jewish by birth and therefore she did not belong to the Jewish people but both knew when they identified with the suffering and the hardship they saw and they could not walk away from the suffering of the Jewish people.

I constantly hear in Christian and Messianic chatter, that, the Jews are lacking what Christian and Messianics have. That, they have some insight given to them because of Yeshua or Jesus and the so-called New Testament. That the Jews are going to be fooled in the end and follow a false Messiah because of their lack of seeing what they see. That the Temple is a Synagogue of Satan or the Jews have the Temple mount in the wrong place. That the oral law is made up and can not be trusted.  Many of these people are Jewish or identify as Jews.  Yet, they still have this idea that because of their knowledge and belief in the Nazarean they have a superior knowledge over the Jewish sages and rabbis.

In last weeks Torah portion Parashat Va’yehi, one would be lost without the oral tradition. Genesis Chapter 49 Verse 1
(1) And Jacob called unto his sons and said: ‘Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the end of days. (2) Assemble yourselves, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; And hearken unto Israel your father. Just a straightforward reading of these two passages do not make sense without the irrevocable connection between the written and oral tradition. Ya’acov says nothing about what is going to happen to them and then gives them some obscure blessings, that really are not blessings at all if you look at them.

With that in mind, the oral traditions, and the plight of the Jewish people, the future redemption, the suffering and birth pangs to come. The Redeemer, the land of Israel, the proper understanding of the Tanach. Who is the Messiah? With all that said, “I have been a stranger in a strange land.’ Like Moshe, I could have been content living the life of an Egyptian/Midianite. Shemot 2:21  “And Moses was content to dwell with the man”.  Moshe could have lived the life of a prince in Egypt in the palace of Pharoah. Or stayed in the land of Midian. As Rabbi Sacks said, “that was where he was at, but that is not who he was”. But Moshe could not stay in either place after seeing the suffering of his people. I can no longer stay in the same place either after seeing such hatred for Jewish people.

But who was Moshe? He was not Jewish because he was not raised Jewish. He did not know the suffering of the Jew. He could not identify with their history. He was raised as an Egyptian Prince and lived forty years as an Egyptian.  Moshe spent forty years as a Midianite Shepherd and was content to live there. Moshe spent eighty years as someone other than a Jew. But, had he not been moved because of who he was who knows what his destiny might have been.

He asked Hashem “who am I”.

I too have been troubled by my own place in the Jewish world. Who am I? My grandfather is a Cohen from Mexico and I am the great-grandson of Moshe and Aaron. My mother told me, that her parents told her, not to tell anyone that they were Jewish. I am hated by my own family because I identify myself as Jewish. Moshe and Aaron, they are my grandfather’s, yet I do not know the slightest thing about the Jewish way of life and plight and suffering because I have not lived with them.

I just know that when Christians and Messianics find out, that I am Jewish, and do not believe the way they do. I can see the suffering of my people in their eyes. I can see the disdain, and pity, and feeling of sorrow they have toward the Jewish people.They believe that we are cut off from Hashem and His promises and that we are, as my cousin Messianic Rabbi Dr. Dennis Otero, says ” John 15;16  If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned “.  (see Jeremiah 11:16-17) He says that we are not part of the so-called new covenant. That we have no authority, what so ever, in Jewish law, and that, the “believers” took the place of Rabbis.

It was at the fire of the burning bush, that Moshe found his answer to, “who am I”? The burning bush is connected to Mount Sinai and there the Jewish people also found Hashem in the fire of the mountain. Hashem told Moshe, “they will know who sent you because “I will be with you”. (Not, I am, that I am” The Christian Bible misquotes the Hebrew every time in this passage)

Who I am, is where you will find, me. Shemot 2:11 “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown up, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren”.

In last weeks portion, Ya’acov told the sons of Israel to gather themselves as one man. As, in the Sephardi way, no reform, no Conservative, no Orthodox, just Jews. That is who I am.

I too am asking Hashem, “who am I to go”

Hashem has sent me to tell the Jewish people, to tell them,  stop the baseless hatred and the indifference for each other. I will not be around you because you are not Jewish enough. I am happy where I am and I don’t need anyone else outside those who think like me.

Hear what Ya’acov our forefather said, Ezekiel 37 : (18) And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying: Wilt thou not tell us what thou meanest by these? (19) say into them: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions; and I will put them unto him together with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in My hand. (20) And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thy hand before their eyes. (21) And say unto them: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; (22) and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all; (23) neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them; so shall they be My people, and I will be their God. (24) And My servant David shall be king over them, and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in Mine ordinances, and observe My statutes, and do them. (25) And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children, for ever; and David My servant shall be their prince for ever. (26) Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them—it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will establish them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for ever. (27) My dwelling-place also shall be over them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (28) And the nations shall know that I am the LORD that sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for ever.’

I will not stand with a people who claim, the Jews are blind, and they do not know the Messiah, and they are harlots, and teach an oral and written law that is man-made, and leads to destruction. The Torah is over and done. The New Testament is better. The Rabbi’s have no authority and we don’t follow men.

Yosef never spoke one word to his father about what his brothers did to him. Who is Messiah? 

Parashat Va’yigash Genesis 44 – 47

Parashat Va’yigash

Genesis 44 – 47

יח   וַיִּגַּ֨שׁ אֵלָ֜יו יְהוּדָ֗ה וַיֹּאמֶר֮ בִּ֣י אֲדֹנִי֒ יְדַבֶּר־נָ֨א עַבְדְּךָ֤ דָבָר֙ בְּאָזְנֵ֣י אֲדֹנִ֔י וְאַל־יִ֥חַר אַפְּךָ֖ בְּעַבְדֶּ֑ךָ כִּ֥י כָמ֖וֹךָ כְּפַרְעֹֽה׃

יט אֲדֹנִ֣י שָׁאַ֔ל אֶת־עֲבָדָ֖יו לֵאמֹ֑ר הֲיֵשׁ־לָכֶ֥ם אָ֖ב אוֹ־אָֽח׃

As we approach the city of Jerusalem moving to its rightful place in the world, the capital of Israel, and the light of the world, and as Judah moves closer to bring the Torah to its rightful place in the nations. We face a world full of hate for the Jewish people and our religion.

Our sages tell us that one day Judah will approach Joseph and they will embrace each other. As Jews pray daily for the return of Ephraim and the lost tribes we hope the meeting will be one of great joy and salvation for Klal Israel.

As we approach the seventh anniversary of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. I would say, that the last ten years have been one of great growth, and knowledge for those outside of Judaism. The nation has been learning the Oral Torah, and Kabalah, and Jewish philosophy from some of the greatest Jewish Rabbis we have to offer. This is from Hashem because He is close to making this world His dwelling place.

Much progress has been made, but still, there is a gulf between those who say, they love Israel, and the Jewish people, and their willingness to trust our Rabbis and Hashem, to save us, without following something that our forefathers never knew or were told to follow.

As Judah approaches its redemption, my prayer is that the nation would do their job and help us, the Jewish people, be the best Jews we could be, instead of trying to convert Jews to a religion that can only take us further away from  the covenants of promise, trust the God of Israel, that He will keep His promise to us and save us.

Instead of bow and sword and horseman, try Hashem and baseless love.

 Hosea1:But I will have compassion upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, nor by horses, nor by horsemen.’

And Judah approached….

Where will you be?

Parashat Miketz Genesis 41 – 44 א 

Parashat Miketz

Genesis 41 – 44

א וַיְהִ֕י מִקֵּ֖ץ שְׁנָתַ֣יִם יָמִ֑ים וּפַרְעֹ֣ה חֹלֵ֔ם וְהִנֵּ֖ה עֹמֵ֥ד עַל־הַיְאֹֽר׃

ב וְהִנֵּ֣ה מִן־הַיְאֹ֗ר עֹלֹת֙ שֶׁ֣בַע פָּר֔וֹת יְפ֥וֹת מַרְאֶ֖ה וּבְרִיאֹ֣ת בָּשָׂ֑ר וַתִּרְעֶ֖ינָה בָּאָֽחוּ׃

 

וַיְהִ֕י מִקֵּ֖ץ  And it was in the end”.
Have you ever questioned, why you had to endure such challenges in your life?
Why has my life been lived in such a way, that it has brought about all the things that has to lead me to this place? A place of uncertainty and unrest. A place of questions and lost in space.
What is life truly about?
משלי
Proverbs 14:23 “In all labour there is profit, But the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury”. Midrash Rabbah Mikketz 2

And it was in the end that I knew the journey.  

Parashat Va’yeshev Genesis 37 – 40 וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַעֲקֹ֔ב

א  בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן׃ 
ב אֵ֣לֶּה ׀ תֹּלְד֣וֹת יַעֲקֹ֗ב יוֹסֵ֞ף בֶּן־שְׁבַֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ הָיָ֨ה רֹעֶ֤ה אֶת־אֶחָיו֙ בַּצֹּ֔אן וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י בִלְהָ֛ה וְאֶת־בְּנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֖ה נְשֵׁ֣י אָבִ֑יו וַיָּבֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶת־דִּבָּתָ֥ם רָעָ֖ה אֶל־אֲבִיהֶֽם׃
Where is Chanukah in the Torah? (see commentary at the end of the article).
Why do Sephardic Jews and Ashkenazi and all other Jews treat each other with such disdain?
Where is the Beit Hamikdash?
Is Yerushalayim the light to all nations?

And he (Israel) settled in the end. (וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַעֲקֹ֔ב)

The Torah is a blueprint for the cosmos and our world. With Chanukah just a week away. The question may be asked? Who will we be fighting in the future to free our spiritual lives? Yaakov wrestled with a man. (Himself)

Just as the Greeks tried to remove our spiritual connections to Hashem and His Torah. So, the world is busy trying to distract us from our heritage and culture as Jews.

How do we bring the light of Judaism to a world that is steeped in darkness when we as Jews continue to hate each other without a cause.

The story of Yosef is the axis for many of our pains as Jews. Today we fight between Ashkenazi and Sephardic and the many different sects within our Jewish communities.

Will our enemies ask us, when they try to destroy us, are your Sephardic or Haredi or Mizrachi, conservative or reform?

Please listen to the song “Echad”.

We, are Klal Israel, and we must make Tikkun in the end where our forefathers failed. We can not settle in the end, the way our Torah portion begins with baseless hatred for each other.

Jews must be that shining light to the nations and bring them close to Torah and Hashem. We must teach them, that, Torah is the only blueprint that Hashem has given to mankind to fix our lives.

We do not need some “heavenly escape plan” as some outside of Torah Judaism say, but we must see that our world can not survive with each one us only concerned about him or herself. We must stop this baseless hatred and bring the miracle of Or HaGanuz, “the hidden light.”

So, let us rededicate ourselves, to this hidden light, that was always there from the beginning. Let us light the light of Chanukah as we are told in Vayikra 24:”1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 ‘Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually. 3 Without the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, shall Aaron order it from evening to morning before the LORD continually; it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations. 4 He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the LORD continually.

(By the way what festival comes after Sukkot? Chanukah)

Let us settle, Chanukah/Dedication, in the end with giving (אהבה). Love and Torah.

Vayishlach | וישלח | “He sent “

Parashat Va’yishlah

Two portion that are connected Vayetse Yaakov meets Rachael

“…ויגש יעקב ויגל את האבן מעל פי הבאר וישק את צאן לבן אחי אמו: וישק יעקב לרחל…”. “האבן” = חן = 58. “הבאר” = יצחק = 208. “צאן” = 141. “וישק” = “רעה צאן” = “יצחק יצחק”. “רחל” = 238. “וישק” = “רחל” + “חפץ” = “יצחק יצחק”.
 How do we close the cycle of life? How do we correct our sins?  How do Ismael and Esau return to Am Israel? Many times in life do we have to go to the opposite side of things to achieve what we want to accomplish. What is it that you must go to on the opposite side to make the (apple) open and satisfy the desire of those around you?

Genesis 32 – 36

ד וַיִּשְׁלַ֨ח יַעֲקֹ֤ב מַלְאָכִים֙ לְפָנָ֔יו אֶל־עֵשָׂ֖ו אָחִ֑יו אַ֥רְצָה שֵׂעִ֖יר שְׂדֵ֥ה אֱדֽוֹם׃

ה וַיְצַ֤ו אֹתָם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר כֹּ֣ה תֹאמְר֔וּן לַֽאדֹנִ֖י לְעֵשָׂ֑ו כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ עַבְדְּךָ֣ יַעֲקֹ֔ב עִם־לָבָ֣ן גַּ֔רְתִּי וָאֵחַ֖ר עַד־עָֽתָּה׃

Bible Codes Revealed at Yiboneh with Rabbi Moshe Zeldman

Many people say that Kabballah is something that has its origins in the minds of men and was something that had nothing to do with Hashem.

Many claims that the Jewish people have formulated  Kabballah out of “witchcraft” or white magic. They write ugly things, about our faith as Jews, and say that we are following men/Rabbis who make up laws out of thin air to control the Jewish people.

Over the last several years in my studies, I have been learning from one of Israel greatest Kabbalist (on-line) and have seen how many of our laws can be proven through Bible codes and here are few example: The claim is The Six Hundred and Thirteen Laws are man-made and have no proof in the Bible. Well, come and see.

A Second Thought About Giving Charity

A Second Thought About Giving Charity

A homeless person begging

The Talmud tells the amazing story of Mar Ukva who would go everyday to the home of a poor man and slip cash into his door post. The poor man really wished to know who was doing this and decided one day to find out. On that day Mar Ukva and his wife made the trip to the poor man’s house together but just as they were opening the door post the poor man came running towards them. The two of them fled because they did not want to embarrass the poor man by him finding out that one of the greatest rabbis of the generation was coming personally to his home everyday to secretly help him. The Talmud says that the only way they could escape him was to jump into a hot oven where the coals had already been raked. Mar Ukva’s feet began to burn and his wife told him to put his feet on top of hers because her’s were not burning. The Talmud explains that her merit of charity was greater than his because, being in the home, she could offer the poor instant care with ready made food while her husband’s care was only in the form of money. What makes the story even more incredible is that the Talmud says that when Mar Ukva was about to die he had a ledger where every coin he ever gave to charity had been recorded. And even though the amount was amazing he said, “the road is long and my supplies are few” referring to his upcoming trip to the Next World. He then gave away fifty percent of all his holdings which was considered ten times what the Talmud normally considered to be exceptionally wealthy. From this story you see an outstanding Torah scholar, a leading rabbi and perhaps one of the wealthiest men of his generation who not only took time and money to personally care for the poor but dreaded the thought of being discovered and honored for his donations. Something for us to all think about next time we pledge donations for honor or we feel particularly holy because we slipped a small coin into a desperate person’s hand. Talmud Kesubos 67b

https://www.facebook.com/thepeoplestalmud/

Vayetze | ויצא | “He went out ” Torah: Genesis 28:10-32:2

Parashat Va’yetzeh

How does one water the sheep when a great stone is in the way? How do the nations drink from the well when there is no Rabbi to teach them the way of Torah? There are many secrets that must be revealed in this weeks Torah portion and only Chazal have the answers. Their students are waiting for the sheep to gather and in the meantime, many Rabbi’s are watering them from the well and there they are kissing each other and bring chesed to the world.

Genesis 28 – 32 Beit El

י וַיֵּצֵ֥א יַעֲקֹ֖ב מִבְּאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ חָרָֽנָה׃

יאוַיִּפְגַּ֨ע בַּמָּק֜וֹם וַיָּ֤לֶן שָׁם֙ כִּי־בָ֣א הַשֶּׁ֔מֶשׁ וַיִּקַּח֙ מֵאַבְנֵ֣י הַמָּק֔וֹם וַיָּ֖שֶׂם מְרַֽאֲשֹׁתָ֑יו וַיִּשְׁכַּ֖ב בַּמָּק֥וֹם הַהֽוּא׃

יב וַֽיַּחֲלֹ֗ם וְהִנֵּ֤ה סֻלָּם֙ מֻצָּ֣ב אַ֔רְצָה וְרֹאשׁ֖וֹ מַגִּ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמָ֑יְמָה וְהִנֵּה֙ מַלְאֲכֵ֣י אֱלֹהִ֔ים עֹלִ֥ים וְיֹרְדִ֖ים בּֽוֹ׃

Toldot | תולדות | “Consequences”

Parashat Toldot

Is being blind such a bad thing? Can we assume that Yitzach made so many bad decision? Who is Yitzach and what was his motivation in our Jewish history? Yitzach was an expert in finding water where there seems to be no water. Have you ever have seen a man who digs in the rocky desert for water? Yitzach was a great man of strength to dig for the answers of life and the deep waters of Torah. So being blind can help sharpen one’s senses if you are sensitive to Hashem’s ways.

Sometimes having your eye open can lead to doing Hashem’s will.

Genesis 3: 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves girdles. 8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden toward the cool of the day; and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9And the LORD God called unto the man, and said unto him: ‘Where art thou?’

Can you see where you are? Faith is knowing what your eyes do not see and not knowing what your eyes do see. Faith is not blind. 

Genesis 25 – 28

יט וְאֵ֛לֶּה תּוֹלְדֹ֥ת יִצְחָ֖ק בֶּן־אַבְרָהָ֑ם אַבְרָהָ֖ם הוֹלִ֥יד אֶת־יִצְחָֽק׃

כ וַיְהִ֤י יִצְחָק֙ בֶּן־אַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה בְּקַחְתּ֣וֹ אֶת־רִבְקָ֗ה בַּת־בְּתוּאֵל֙ הָֽאֲרַמִּ֔י מִפַּדַּ֖ן אֲרָ֑ם אֲח֛וֹת לָבָ֥ן הָאֲרַמִּ֖י ל֥וֹ לְאִשָּֽׁה׃