Here we are, again, at the end of a Torah cycle.
Time to march the Torah around the neighborhood, with singing and shofar blowing. Then, after returning to the synagogue, we read the last lines of Deuteronomy and while the congregation sings and dances we roll back the Torah to the beginning and read the first lines of Genesis.
(Rolling the Torah back gives you forearms that look like Popeye’s!)
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“Simchat Torah” means the Joy of Torah: the joyful part being the fact that we get to read it, all over again. The Torah is split into 54 separate readings, each reading is called a “parashah” and the weekly parashah is read at the Saturday morning Shabbat service. This is what we have done every Shabbat for millennia, even from before the time Yeshua walked the earth. These parashot (plural) are designed for an annual cycle, although in some synagogues they use a three-year cycle instead of the one-year cycle.
After the parashah is read, we read the Haftorah portion, which is from the other parts of the Tanakh and is relatable to the Torah portion. This is how it works: we read the Torah, which is the direct word of God telling us how we should live, worship, and treat each other, and then we read the Haftorah to see the practical application (or failure, thereof) of the Torah portion we just read which occurred during our history.
For example, Parashah Naso (Numbers 4:21 to the end of Chapter 7) includes the laws regarding the vow of the Nazirite. The Haftorah portion is from the Book of Judges 8:2-25, which is the story of the birth of Shimshon (Samson), who was to be a Nazirite from birth.
In some cases, there is a double parashot reading which is done to make sure the final reading comes out on the 8th day of Sukkot.
Yes, I know Sukkot is only 7 days, but the story goes that God so loved to be with his children that he extended it an extra day, which is called Shemini Atzeret (this is also Simchat Torah.)
It is very sad that so many Christians pretty much ignore the Torah. Not only is this sad because they can never really understand who Yeshua (Jesus) is if they don’t know his people’s history (he is, after all, Jewish) and they also can’t really fathom the depth of the lessons in Shaul’s (Paul) letters if they don’t know where he is “coming from”, meaning the mindset and beliefs of the Jewish people, which is given in the writings of the Torah.
They miss learning the wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs, and let’s not forget experiencing the beauty of the poetry in the Psalms; even though many churches do take from the Psalms, now and then. However, the full impact cannot be felt without knowing the history that motivated those songs.
And the worst part of all when Christians ignore reading the Torah is that they do not know what God said we should do, and no matter what their Priest, Minister, Pastor or whatever tells them Paul said, or John said, or even James said- it is what God said that counts!
Yeshua never taught anything different than what is in the Torah. Why people said he talked as no man has talked before is because he taught the spiritual understanding of God’s commandments. The Pharisees only taught the literal meaning, what we call the P’shat, but Yeshua went deeper than that and taught the Remes, the underlying spiritual meaning.
Here’s proof, which we get directly from Matthew 5 when we read the Sermon on the Mount: the Pharisees taught “Do not kill” but Yeshua said not to even so much as hate in our hearts; the Pharisees said “Do not commit adultery” but Yeshua said that wasn’t enough- you must not even lust with your eyes. Yeshua taught what God wanted us to know, which is not just the letter of the law but the very spirit of it.
If you aren’t that familiar with the Torah, please take it out and read it. Make it part of your daily reading. I keep my Bible in the bathroom because I know that every day I will have (at least) enough time alone and undisturbed to read a chapter or two. You will be surprised how quickly you get through the entire Bible that way. I start at Genesis and go all the way through to Revelation, then start all over again.
Of course, since I am reading much more than the Torah, alone, it takes me more than a year to go through the entire Bible, but doing it this way I have read the whole Bible many times over the past 25 or so years, and each time I get to start it over I am excited to do so.
Reading only the New Covenant is like building a house starting with the second floor. You may end up with something, but it will never be complete.
Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. The more people who hear these lessons, the more people who will know what God really says. The whole purpose of this ministry is to grow and teach people what they need to know so they can make an informed decision about where they want to spend eternity.
Also please subscribe here and only my YouTube channel as well (use the link above), and remember that I always welcome your comments; you can make them here or on my Facebook discussion group called Just God’s Word.
PS: I have finished the draft of my latest book, which is debunking the different lies that have been traditionally handed down, in both Christianity and Judaism, about Messiah Yeshua. I hope to have it self-published and available for purchase within the next month or so and will announce it on my website when it is ready.
That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!