ROF Sunday Shul
Archived posts from this Category
Archived posts from this Category
This week’s lesson is on two Torah readings; Acharey Mot (after death) and Kedoshim (holy / holiness). The readings cover Leviticus 16-20. One of the key points from this week’s study is the idea of Biblical holiness. While much of our culture defines holiness according to various non-Hebraic and “other worldly” views, the Hebrew Bible clearly defines it as something which is achievable here and now…on earth. Not only is it achievable, it is an expectation and a command!
Ross to Teach Again on Sabbath
There will be NO Sunday Shul effective this week, but the teaching will still take place every week. I hope that you will be able to join us live this coming Sabbath and every Sabbath (Saturday mornings at 10:30 Central).
Shalom to all of you!
Sunday Shul Torah Study – Tazria and Metzora
Here is the audio class for Torah Readings Tazria and Metzora. I am a bit behind due to other obligations. I hope to publish my study notes for the past couple of lessons soon.
Sunday Shul Torah Study – Shemini
Here is the teaching on Torah Reading Shemini. The study notes for this class will be posted in the next couple of days.
Here is my class to prepare you for the coming Festival of Pesach. I will post my study notes as soon as practical.
Tzav - Shabbat HaGadol
Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36
Regular Haphtarah is Jeremiah 7:21 - 8:3; 9:22 – 23
Malachi 3:4 - 24 / English Bibles - Malachi 3:4 ? 4:6
25th Torah Reading, 2nd in Leviticus
Leviticus comes from the Greek word that means, “pertaining to the Levites”. It was anciently known as “torat haKohanim” – instructions to the priests. The Hebrew name for the book is VaYikra – and he called.
Click the link PDF link near the bottom for a Printable version of the Study Notes
1 Kings 7:40-50
22nd Torah Reading, 10th in Exodus
1 Kings 7:51-8:21
23rd Torah Reading, 11th in Exodus
Overview / Commentary
This week two portions are combined; VaYakheil (and he assembled) and Pekudai (accounts). We also complete the Book of Exodus (Shemoth) this week. This Sabbath is also one of 4 special Sabbaths around Purim. Shekalim and Zacor come before Purim and Parah and this week’s special reading HaHodesh come after.
This special Sabbath gets its name from the opening words of Exodus 12:2 - HaHodesh hazeh – The verse literally translated says, “This month is to you a head of months; it is a first one to you - for months of the year. I love this time of year. The flowers are in bloom and all of nature sings that newness is in the air. Time for Israel, was to begin with their freedom.
The special section of the Torah that is read on this Sabbath HaHodesh is Exodus 12:2-20. It tells of Pesach (Passover) and contains the command to keep Passover and Unleavened Bread.
Click the link below for a printable version of this Torah Study
1 Kings 18:1-39
21st Torah Reading, 9th in Exodus
Longest Parsha in Exodus, 10th longest in the Torah (139 verses)
Connecting theme between Torah and Prophet Reading (idolatry)
Overview / Commentary
Exodus 30:11-16 – HaShem reveals to Moses the rules for taking a census of the Israelites (literally, a lifting of the head). Every person is to give a 1/2 shekel (20 years and up in age). No distinction is to be made based upon social standing poor and rich pay the same). This payment was to be a donation to YHWH and was to make “atonement for” their souls. A point that can be gained from this is that all souls are valued the same in the eyes of God. See 2 Samuel 24 for additional studies on taking a census.
Exodus 30:17-21 - A laver was to be constructed for the washing of the ministering priests.
Exodus 30:22-25 - Anointing oil was to be made and used ONLY for holy purposes.
Exodus 30:26-29 - Moses is instructed to use the anointing oil on the Tent of Meeting (Ohel Moed - tent of appointment) and the objects associated with worship. Those who touch anointed objects are declared holy as well.
Exodus 30:30-33 - Aaron and his sons to be anointed for their duties as priests, thus making them in a biblical sense messiahs, or anointed ones. See Psalm 133 for a poetic description of Aaron’s anointing.
Exodus 30:34-38 - Instructions provided for the making of the holy incense. Like the anointing oil, the incense was to be used for ONLY holy purposes.
Exodus 31:1-11 - God reveals to Moses that he has selected Bezalel and Oholiab to make the sacred objects and filled them with the spirit to empower them to carry out their tasks.
Exodus 31:12-17 - Moses is commanded to charge the Children of Israel to keep the Sabbath. The Sabbath was to be an eternal sign between God and the children of Israel. The Sabbath is here associated with creation. In this section (v.17) we are told “on the 7th day God ceased and was refreshed“. The Hebrew word translated “refreshed” is used only one other time in the Torah (Exodus 23:12). There it is in reference to the “refreshing” of the animals, the son of the maid and the alien by the Sabbath as well as the sons of Israel. This teaches us that God cares for every living thing and that the Sabbath is to be a delight to the entire creation. See Isaiah 56 for an example of the universal intent of Sabbath rest. See Exodus 22:21 and 23:9 for more on God’s concern for the stranger.
Exodus 31:18 - Moses is given the tablets of the Testimony, made of stone and written by the finger of God. See also 32:16 for more details on these tablets. What we know is that they would likely fit in one hand if we were to take the Torah literally (the singular is used). We also know that the writing was on both sides.
Exodus 32:1-6 - The people see that Moses’ return is delayed and so they assemble and go to Aaron requesting that he make them a god. Aaron orders the people to provide their jewelry. They do so and Aaron fashions a god - a Golden Calf. Later, and perhaps because of this infraction a law is clearly put in place against this practice (Exodus 34:17).
Exodus 32:7-14 - This event (the making of the idol) is less than 6 weeks after the giving of the torah at Sinai! God tells Moses of the actions of the people, which he refers to as “your people that you brought forth out of Egypt”. He further exclaims that this people have corrupted themselves, turning quickly from the way “that I have commanded them”. God wants to destroy the people and begin again with Moses, making him a great nation. Moses pleads on behalf of the people and God gives in to his plea. The intercessions of Moses play a key role in this Torah reading. We learn much about God and about Moses through these examples. Moses has come a long way from the way he was when we first meet him at the bush in Exodus chapter 3!
Exodus 32:15-29 - Moses descends from the mountain, the Testimony in hand. When he hears and sees the people in their idolatry, he angrily casts the tablets to the ground and breaks them. He burns the idol, grinds it into powder and scatters it across the face of the waters and then causes the people to drink. This is reminiscent of the test for a suspected adulterous woman found in Numbers 5. Moses then questions Aaron whom he had left in charge and Aaron does not speak the truth according to what we know from the story as recorded in the Torah earlier. Moses draws a line in the sand and the Levites align themselves with him. 3,000 are killed as a result of the idolatry and perhaps as a result of enacting the law found in Exodus 22:20.
Exodus 32:30-35 - Moses declares to the people that they have committed a great sin and tells them that he is going to seek atonement from haShem for them. He begins his petition with the Hebrew word “anna“. This word is translated “please”. It is found in only one other passage in the torah (Genesis 50:17). There it is also associated with a plea for forgiveness. Moses asks God to bear their sin and if he will not, then Moses expresses that his name be taken from God’s scroll! His noble plea offering vicarious atonement is denied. God tells him plainly “the soul who has sinned against me, I will blot out”. We are left wondering if anyone can truly pay for the sins of another. HaShem strikes the people with a plague for their idolatry.
Exodus 33:1-6 - God tells Moses to go up to the land of promise with the people. He tells him that an angel (malak) will go with them. God says he will not go because the people are hard necked and if he goes is likely to finish them on the way. The people hear this grave report and repent. They are instructed to strip themselves of their jewelry and they comply.
Exodus 33:7-11 - We read about the Tent of Meeting (ohel moed) for the first time in the torah. This may not be what is later referred to as the tabernacle. It is more than likely Moses’ own tent. When Moses goes to this tent, the people rise and stand at their own tent doors, watching Moses until he enters the tent. When he enters the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the door of the tent. Then and there, God would speak with Moses “face to face - panim el panim”. When the people witnessed this communion between God and Moses, they would bow down. The torah speaks elsewhere of the remarkable relationship and communion between God and Moses (See Numbers 12:3-8). There it says that God would speak with Moses “mouth to mouth - Peh el peh”).
Exodus 33:12-23 - Moses makes a request from God to reassure him that he has truly found favor in his eyes - further requesting God to make his way known to him so that he would know for certain that he has found favor and that “this nation is God’s people”. Moses asks to see God’s glory. God says he will cause all of his goodness to pass in front of Moses but Moses will not be allowed to see God’s face since “no man can see God’s face and live”. He tells Moses that he will place him in a cleft of the rock and cover his face with his hand while God passes by. Once God has passed, he will remove his hand and Moses will be allowed to see God’s back.
Exodus 34:1-4 - HaShem tells Moses to make (literally, carve for yourself) two tablets like the first, and bring them up for God to write on them “the words that were on the first ones”. God warns Moses that he alone is to come up.
Exodus 34:5-7 - Moses carves the two tablets and rises early in the morning. He ascends the mount, tablets in hand and God comes down ad called on the name YHVH. He passes in front of Moses and declares his personal character. This oft
repeated description of God is perhaps the most frequently repeated phrases in the entire Hebrew bible. See the following passages where all are part of this phrase occur (Numbers 14:18-19; Jonah 4:2; Joel 2:13; Micah 7:18; Psalm 86:15, 103:8,145:8; 2 Chronicles 30:9; and Nehemiah 9:17 & 31). It is important to note that this follows Moses’ request to know God’s way (Exodus 33:13), so these words answer the question! Notice the order of these words in describing God; merciful, gracious, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, but will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers….etc. A study of the Hebrew words is essential and quite enlightening.
Exodus 34:8-9 - Moses pleads with God to go with the children of Israel. He seeks pardon for the sin and iniquity and requests that God take them for an inheritance.
Exodus 34:10-28 - God says he will make a covenant with the people and perform miracles and marvels and assures Moses that he will go with them. He then provides Moses with the conditions of the covenant. Moses is with God for 40 days and nights with no food or drink. The new tablets are delivered.
Exodus 34:29-35 - Moses comes down from the mount with the new tablets of the Testimony. His face is shining. The people are afraid of Moses. Moses communicates what YHVH had spoken to him in the mount. Moses veils his face when he is with the people but removes the veil when in the presence of God.
Ki Thissa in the New Testament
The only passages from the Christian Scriptures that refer to passages in this torah reading are found in a letter attributed to the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians chapter 3). I find it very difficult to reconcile Paul’s commentary on these passages with the words of the torah. Paul refers to the 10 words, written with the finger of God, as the “ministry of death”. I see these words in light of what Jesus / Yeshua proclaimed. I see them as bringing LIFE (Matthew 19:17).
Torah Studies with Ross Nichols
Roots of Faith 2009
In this class, Ross summarizes his teachings over the past several weeks. He covers all of the essential teachings from the entire series on James Tabor’s book, Restoring Abrahamic Faith.