Parashah B’resheet 2018 (In the beginning) Genesis 1:1 – 6:8

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

Please don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE using the button in the right-hand margin.


In the beginning, there was nothing anywhere except for God, who (of course) has no beginning.

We are told about how God made the earth and everything in it, finishing with man and woman. The serpent fools the woman into eating the apple, she fools the man and they are all punished. The man and the woman have children, and the brothers are at odds with each other, ending up with the first murder. Sadly, this killing of one human by another is just the beginning.

The earth becomes populated and the evil of mankind is of such a terrible stench that it rises up to the heavens and God, seeing only one righteous man in all the world, Noah. This parashah ends with God informing Noah of his plan to destroy mankind and start over.

So much to talk about and so little time to do it.  As I was reading through this, something caught my attention that I didn’t really think about before. It is right at the beginning, Genesis 1:14-20:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.  God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.  God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

I would like to sidestep for a second to add an interesting note: before the sun, moon, and stars were created to give light to the earth, the plants were created. Scientists will tell you that this couldn’t be possible since plants need sunlight to perform the photosynthesis which feeds them. But there is a greater and more powerful, nourishing light that existed before the sun- and that takes us to today’s message.

As I read this verse in Genesis, it reminded me of a verse at the far end of the Bible, in Revelation. You may know what I am thinking about…Revelation 22:5 where we are told:

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. 

I think we can all agree that the term “light” is used in different ways, identifying something that can be either a physical thing or used figuratively. It can be illumination, something that removes darkness and allows us to see with our eyes. It can also be something that we see with our minds, as “seeing the light”, like the picture of a light bulb flashing on over someone’s head.

We also know that sunlight has life-giving substances within it, as well as deathly rays that can burn us. And isn’t God sort of like that, as well? He can give us nourishment from heaven, life from death and warmth to fend off the deathly cold. At the same time, he can burn us with the light of his truth.

God was the light that provided the nourishment for the plants he created before he ever made the sun, and when all things are done and God’s plan of salvation is complete he will, again, be the only light that will be needed.

The Bible identifies a definite beginning for Mankind, but there is no end. The world and pretty much everything God created will come to an end, but Mankind (those who remain faithful to God and Messiah) will have no end. And just as life was first created with only the light from God, his Shekinah glory, so we will again bask and be nourished by the Shekinah glory of God throughout all eternity.

Here at the beginning we already know what to expect at the end- living for all eternity nourished and illuminated by the light of God. No more sun, no more moon, no more stars to guide us because we won’t need them. We will never again be in darkness, physically or spiritually.

What a great thing to look forward to!

Parashah Chol HaMo’ed Sukkot (Exodus 33:12-34:26) Feast of Tabernacles Intermediate Sabbath

This special reading recounts when Moses asked God to travel with the people. This is right after the sin of the Golden Calf, and God has agreed not to destroy the people but Moses has removed the Tent of Meeting from within the camp, due to the sin of the camp. Moses asks God to allow him to see His Glory and God agrees, but only from the back.

God has Moses make another set of tablets for the 10 Commandments and after Moses begs God to stay with the people, God tells Moses He will travel with them. God also tells Moses He will destroy the enemies of the people and that the Israelites are to totally demolish all forms of idol worship and all the standing poles and idols they find of the conquered peoples. They are not to intermarry or allow them to be part of their lives. This commandment is also a warning that by not doing so the people will become seduced into idol worship. This special reading ends with God reminding Moses about the major festivals when the people are to go to worship where God has determined to place His name.

It seems pretty obvious why this reading is for this special Shabbat- the Feast of Tabernacles is all about the joy God has when He is able to be with His people, and the joy we have when He is with us. Tabernacles is more than just living in a booth for a week- it is symbolic of the love God has for us: so much love, in fact, that the spiritual wants to dwell with the physical. It is an image of what it was like in Eden, when God was able to walk side-by-side with Adam and Eve. Two different planes of existence, ethereal and corporeal, existing together. That is what Tabernacles is really about: a reminder of Eden past, and a vision of the future when we will live in God’s presence again, forever.

I read once that the “Rabbi’s” said it is impossible for God to “come down” to the Earth, as it is said in the Tanakh, because He is already here. God is everywhere, all the time, so He can’t really “go” anywhere because wherever He wants to go, He is already there! So why, then, do we need the Feast of Tabernacles? If God is always with us, why do we need a special time to dwell with Him?

I think it’s because even though God is always here, we don’t recognize His presence because we are too busy paying attention to ourselves. How many times have you been told that you totally missed the turn you knew you had to take while driving because you were paying attention to someone walking, or talking to another person, or just thinking to yourself about something else?  How many times have you thought of something important, then got distracted for a moment and the thought was gone?

God is always right here. Doesn’t Moses tell us that the Law is not far from us? So close we can reach out and touch it? (Deut. 30:11) God is Torah, and the Torah is God. Just as John said that the Word became flesh (Yeshua), the Word is God- it is who He is, what He is about, His thoughts and desires. That’s why this time is so important. We need to refocus our gaze off of us and back onto God.

When you wake up in the morning and it is still dark, you can see much of what is there. Your eyes have adjusted to seeing in the darkness, although we don’t see everything. When you turn on the light, it makes you squint because the brightness is overpowering. As our eyes adjust to the light, we see much more of what was always there but, in the darkness, we couldn’t see.

We live in a very dark place- a cursed world. We grow up in it, we are used to seeing in it (although we can’t see many things all around us, and I am talking figuratively as well as factually) and for those of us who see the Light (have come to know God), we see as if in the brightness of the noon day. God has opened our eyes to what there is all around us that we couldn’t see in the darkness of our godless existence before- and what we see is sin. Being in God’s presence lights up the sin that is hidden to those still seeing only in the dark.

The world sees TV shows about vampires in love; I see the world accepting demonic creatures as being OK- they’re just like us.

The world sees people who live in defiance of God’s commandments as normal and acceptable, and I see the governments of the world accepting the mark of the enemy.

The world sees technology as wonderful and I see people and nations building their houses on sand (Matt. 7:24-27: the silicon chip is what makes today’s technology possible, and silica is sand.)

Those of us who have accepted God, accepted Messiah Yeshua and who have devoted our lives to T’Shuvah (turning from sin) so that we can honor and glorify God in all we do, we are living in the light and we are commanded to be a light to those still in the darkness. That’s why it is so hard talking to people about God- the light hurts your eyes when you first see it.

Tabernacles is a physical reminder of the spiritual truth that God wants to dwell with us. Although we do it once a year, we should be spiritual tabernacles to the world every day of the year.  And just as God comes from His perfectly wonderful environment and suffers to dwell in this physical world, we should also be willing to go into the darkness to seek those who need the light.

Celebrate this time of the year with joy, and honor God all the rest of the year with your service to His desire for you to bring light into the darkness.