Scriptural Meditation- Joshua 2:8

Joshua 2:8
The two men had not yet lain down [to sleep] when she returned to the roof

This little verse really says a lot to me. These two spies Joshua sent are so confident, so full of faith and so courageous that as there are men pursuing them they decide to go to sleep while they let an unarmed woman handle the situation. They trusted that armor and swords could not defeat linen and perfume. That may be going a bit far. Taking this little story as it comes, trying to push out of my mind that this is Jericho, forgetting what I know of that city’s fate; these guys were in real trouble. Honestly, what was to stop the soldiers sent to Rahab from searching her inn? Were there really only two of them? Perhaps there were more. As far as I can tell from the English, there is no number indicating how many men had been sent from the king to pursue these spies. The spies certainly had no way of knowing. Their faith was so great that they trusted that the Almighty would protect them to the point that they could settle down to sleep under stalks of flax while armed men, eager to kill or capture them, were only steps away.

I find that impressive. Joshua 1:9 says to be bold and courageous and this one little verse beautifully illustrates what that can look like.

Scriptural Meditation- Joshua 1 and Matthew 1

Joshua 1:9
Haven’t I ordered you, ‘Be strong, be bold’? So don’t be afraid or downhearted, because The LORD your G-d is with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 1:20
But while he was thinking about this, an angel of The LORD appeared to him in a dream and said, “Yosef, son of David, do not be afraid to take Miryam home with you as your wife; for what has been conceived in her is from the Ruach HaKodesh.

There is a theme of courage in the verses I picked. Joshua is on a mission from G-d. He has seen the defeat of Egypt, the miraculous sojourn through the Wilderness and now he is on the frontier about to head into captive territory that he has been tasked to free. Along the way he has to lead a people who are the children of slaves into becoming a nation of priests so that they can fulfill a holy destiny of connecting the whole world to the one true G‐d.

Joseph is a good man. He is looking forward to entering into a marriage with a girl even as his people live under the occupation of a pagan Empire. When he learned of Miriam’s apparent infidelity, he wanted to deal with it in the best way he knew: by quietly divorcing her. He contemplated this but before he could act, G-d intervened. Joseph was given a noble task: to take on a woman and son who would always carry with them a stigma. He was given a mission like Joshua to lead and shepherd a family through parts unknown.

Joshua and Joseph were commanded to have courage and not be afraid. Fear is a corrosive element and it has to be put in check if we are to live the lives G-d jas planned for us.

Bereshit 5781 Reading of Haftorah and Apostolic Writings

The first portion of the book of Bereshit/Genesis is Bereshit, which means “In the Beginning”

Torah Portion: Genesis 1:1- 6:8
Haftorah: Samuel 1 20:18-42
Apostolic Writings: Isaiah 42:5-43:11

You can read or listen to the portions below:


Isaiah 42:5-43:11

Thus says God, Adonai,

who created the heavens and spread them out,

who stretched out the earth and all that grows from it,

who gives breath to the people on it

and spirit to those who walk on it:

“I, Adonai, called you righteously,

I took hold of you by the hand,

I shaped you and made you a covenant for the people,

to be a light for the Goyim,

so that you can open blind eyes,

free the prisoners from confinement,

those living in darkness from the dungeon.

I am Adonai; that is my name.

I yield my glory to no one else,

nor my praise to any idol.

See how the former predictions come true;

and now new things do I declare —

before they sprout I tell you about them.”

Sing to Adonai a new song!

Let his praise be sung from the ends of the earth

by those sailing the sea and by everything in it,

by the coastlands and those living there.

Let the desert and its cities raise their voices,

the villages where Kedar lives;

let those living in Sela shout for joy;

let them cry out from the mountaintops!

Let them give glory to Adonai

and proclaim his praise in the coastlands.

Adonai will go out like a soldier,

like a soldier roused to the fury of battle;

he will shout, yes, he raises the battle cry;

as he triumphs over his foes.

“For a long time I have held my peace,

I have been silent, restrained myself.

Now I will shriek like a woman in labor,

panting and gasping for air.

I will devastate mountains and hills,

wither all their vegetation,

turn the rivers into islands

and dry up the lakes.

The blind I will lead on a road they don’t know,

on roads they don’t know I will lead them;

I will turn darkness to light before them,

and straighten their twisted paths.

These are things I will do without fail.

Those who trust in idols,

who say to statues, ‘You are our gods,’

will be repulsed in utter shame.

Listen, you deaf! Look, you blind! —

so that you will see!

Who is as blind as my servant,

or as deaf as the messenger I send?

Who is as blind as the one I rewarded,

as blind as the servant of Adonai?”

You see much but don’t pay attention;

you open your ears, but you don’t listen.

Adonai was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake,

to make the Torah great and glorious.

But this is a people pillaged and plundered,

all trapped in holes and sequestered in prisons.

They are there to be plundered, with no one to rescue them;

there to be pillaged, and no one says, “Return them!”

Which of you will listen to this?

Who will hear and give heed in the times to come?

Who gave Ya‘akov to be pillaged,

Isra’el to the plunderers?

Didn’t Adonai, against whom we have sinned,

in whose ways they refused to walk,

he whose Torah they did not obey?

This is why he poured on him his blazing anger

as well as the fury of battle —

it wrapped him in flames, yet he learned nothing;

it burned him, yet he did not take it to heart.


But now this is what Adonai says,

he who created you, Ya‘akov,

he who formed you, Isra’el:

“Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you;

I am calling you by your name; you are mine.

When you pass through water, I will be with you;

when you pass through rivers, they will not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire, you will not be scorched —

the flame will not burn you.

For I am Adonai, your God,

the Holy One of Isra’el, your Savior —

I have given Egypt as your ransom,

Ethiopia and S’va for you.

Because I regard you as valued and honored,

and because I love you.

For you I will give people,

nations in exchange for your life.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

I will bring your descendants from the east,

and I will gather you from the west;

I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’

and to the south, ‘Don’t hold them back!

Bring my sons from far away,

and my daughters from the ends of the earth,

everyone who bears my name,

whom I created for my glory —

I formed him, yes, I made him.’”

Bring forward the people who are blind but have eyes,

also the deaf who have ears.

All the nations are gathered together,

and the peoples are assembled.

Who among them can proclaim this

and reveal what happened in the past?

Let them bring their witnesses to justify themselves,

so that others, on hearing, can say, “That’s true.”

“You are my witnesses,” says Adonai,

“and my servant whom I have chosen,

so that you can know and trust me

and understand that I am he —

no god was produced before me,

nor will any be after me.

I, yes I, am Adonai;

besides me there is no deliverer.

Apostolic Writings

Romans 5:12-21

Here is how it works: it was through one individual that sin entered the world, and through sin, death; and in this way death passed through to the whole human race, inasmuch as everyone sinned. Sin was indeed present in the world before Torah was given, but sin is not counted as such when there is no Torah. Nevertheless death ruled from Adam until Moshe, even over those whose sinning was not exactly like Adam’s violation of a direct command. In this, Adam prefigured the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the offence. For if, because of one man’s offence, many died, then how much more has God’s grace, that is, the gracious gift of one man, Yeshua the Messiah, overflowed to many! No, the free gift is not like what resulted from one man’s sinning; for from one sinner came judgment that brought condemnation; but the free gift came after many offences and brought acquittal. For if, because of the offence of one man, death ruled through that one man; how much more will those receiving the overflowing grace, that is, the gift of being considered righteous, rule in life through the one man Yeshua the Messiah!
In other words, just as it was through one offence that all people came under condemnation, so also it is through one righteous act that all people come to be considered righteous. For just as through the disobedience of the one man, many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the other man, many will be made righteous. And the Torah came into the picture so that the offence would proliferate; but where sin proliferated, grace proliferated even more. All this happened so that just as sin ruled by means of death, so also grace might rule through causing people to be considered righteous, so that they might have eternal life, through Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord.

Two Year Torah Portion and Bible Schedule

Download the PDF or image to print out or keep on your devices. You might need to “right-click” and save as or do a long press on the links, if you are using a touch-screen device.

5781 Holiday Calendar

“So teach us to count our days, so that we will become wise.”

-Psalm 90:12 by Moshe, the Man of G-d

Chabad Calendar (Year)

Yom Kippur
Begins sunset of Sunday, September 27, 2020
Ends nightfall of Monday, September 28, 2020

Review laws and customs: ASAP

Begins sunset of Friday, October 2, 2020
Ends nightfall of Friday, October 9, 2020

Review laws and customs: ASAP

Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah
Begins sunset of Friday, October 9, 2020
Ends nightfall of Sunday, October 11, 2020

Review laws and customs: ASAP

Begins sunset of Thursday, December 10, 2020
Ends nightfall of Friday, December 18, 2020

Review laws and customs: November 9, 2020

Fast of Tevet 10
Begins sunrise of Friday, December 25, 2020
Ends nightfall of Friday, December 25, 2020

Review laws and customs: November 25, 2020

15 Shevat
Thursday, January 28, 2021

Review laws and customs: December 28, 2020

Begins sunset of Thursday, February 25, 2021
Ends nightfall of Friday, February 26, 2021

Review laws and customs: January 25, 20201

Begins sunset of Saturday, March 27, 2021
Ends nightfall of Sunday, April 4, 2021

Review laws and customs: February 27, 2021

Second Passover
Monday, April 26, 2021

Review laws and customs: March 26, 2021

Lag B’Omer
Friday, April 30, 2021

Review laws and customs: March 30, 2021

Begins sunset of Sunday, May 16, 2021
Ends nightfall of Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Review laws and customs: March 16, 2021

The Three Weeks
Sunday, June 27, 2021 through Sunday, July 18, 2021

Review laws and customs: May 27, 2021

The 15th of Av
Saturday, July 24, 2021

Click through to find out when you might need to take time off of work for these festivals.

It is customary review the laws and customs of each festival about one month before it occurs. Having a meaningful experience during the festivals is easier when we understand the customs and rituals we are enacting as well as their sources.

Click the links to get a Two Year Bible Schedule (PDF and Image File) to take on a new holy task in this new year. With this schedule you will be able to get through the ENTIRE Bible in two years, by adding a couple chapters a day to your daily reading!

V’Zot HaBrachah 5780 Reading of Haftorah and Apostolic Writings

The eleventh portion of the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy is V’Zot HaBrachah, which means “This is the Blessing”

Torah Portion: Devarim 33:1- 34:12

Haftorah: Joshua 1: 1-18

Apostolic Writings: Matthew 17: 1-9

You can read or listen to the portions below:


Joshua 1: 1-18

After the death of Moshe the servant of Adonai, Adonai said to Y’hoshua the son of Nun, Moshe’s assistant, “Moshe my servant is dead. So now, get up and cross over this Yarden, you and all the people, to the land I am giving to them, the people of Isra’el. I am giving you every place you will step on with the sole of your foot, as I said to Moshe. All the land from the desert and the L’vanon to the great river, the Euphrates River — all the land of the Hitti — and on to the Great Sea in the west will be your territory. No one will be able to withstand you as long as you live. Just as I was with Moshe, so I will be with you. I will neither fail you nor abandon you.

“Be strong, be bold; for you will cause this people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers I would give them. Only be strong and very bold in taking care to follow all the Torah which Moshe my servant ordered you to follow; do not turn from it either to the right or to the left; then you will succeed wherever you go. Yes, keep this book of the Torah on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed. Haven’t I ordered you, ‘Be strong, be bold’? So don’t be afraid or downhearted, because Adonai your God is with you wherever you go.”

Y’hoshua instructed the officials of the people to go through the camp and order the people, “Prepare provisions, because in three days you will cross this Yarden to go in and take possession of the land Adonai your God is giving you.”

To the Re’uveni, the Gadi and the half-tribe of M’nasheh Y’hoshua said, “Remember what Moshe the servant of Adonai ordered you: ‘Adonai your God has let you rest and will give you this land.’ Your wives, your little ones and your livestock will stay in the land Moshe gave you on the east side of the Yarden; but you are to cross over armed as a fighting force ahead of your brothers, to help them; until Adonai allows your brothers to rest, as he has allowed you; and they too have taken possession of the land Adonai your God is giving them. At that point, you will return to the land which is yours and possess it, the land Moshe the servant of Adonai gave you in ‘Ever-HaYarden to the east, toward the sunrise.”

They answered Y’hoshua, “We will do everything you have ordered us to do, and we will go wherever you send us. Just as we listened to everything Moshe said, so will we listen to you. Only may Adonai your God be with you as he was with Moshe. If anyone rebels against your order and doesn’t heed what you say in every detail of your order, he will be put to death. Just be strong, be bold!”

Apostolic Writings

Matthew 17: 1-9

Six days later, Yeshua took Kefa, Ya‘akov and his brother Yochanan and led them up a high mountain privately. As they watched, he began to change form — his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became as white as light. Then they looked and saw Moshe and Eliyahu speaking with him. Kefa said to Yeshua, “It’s good that we’re here, Lord. I’ll put up three shelters if you want — one for you, one for Moshe and one for Eliyahu.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them; and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the talmidim heard this, they were so frightened that they fell face down on the ground. But Yeshua came and touched them. “Get up!” he said, “Don’t be afraid.” So they opened their eyes, looked up and saw only Yeshua by himself.

As they came down the mountain, Yeshua ordered them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Two Year Torah Portion and Bible Schedule

Download the PDF or image to print out or keep on your devices. You might need to “right-click” and save as or do a long press on the links, if you are using a touch-screen device.

Ha’Azinu 5780 Reading of Haftorah and Apostolic Writings

The eleventh portion of the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy is Ha’Azinu, which means “Hear”

Torah Portion: Devarim 32:1-52

Haftorah: 2 Samuel 22: 1-51

Apostolic Writings: 1 Corinthians 10:1-20

You can read or listen to the portions below:


2 Samuel 22: 1-51

David said the words of this song to Adonai on the day Adonai delivered him from the power of all his enemies and from the power of Sha’ul. He said:

“Adonai is my Rock, my fortress and deliverer,

the God who is my Rock, in whom I find shelter,

my shield, the power that saves me,

my stronghold and my refuge.

My savior, you have saved me from violence.

I call on Adonai, who is worthy of praise;

and I am saved from my enemies.

“For death’s breakers were closing over me,

the floods of B’liya‘al terrified me,

the ropes of Sh’ol were wrapped around me,

the snares of death lay there before me.

In my distress I called to Adonai;

yes, I called to my God.

Out of his temple he heard my voice,

and my cry entered his ears.

“Then the earth quaked and shook,

the foundations of heaven trembled.

They were shaken because he was angry.

Smoke arose in his nostrils;

and from his mouth, devouring fire,

with coals blazing from it.

He lowered heaven and came down

with thick darkness under his feet.

He rode on a keruv and flew,

he was seen on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness his canopy around him,

thick clouds in the skies dense with water.

From the brightness before him,

fiery coals flamed out.

“Adonai thundered from heaven,

Ha‘Elyon sounded his voice.

He sent out arrows and scattered them;

with lightning he routed them.

The channels of the sea appeared,

the foundations of the world were exposed

at Adonai’s rebuke,

at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

“He sent from on high, he took me

and pulled me out of deep water;

he rescued me from my powerful enemy,

from those who hated me, for they were stronger than I.

They came against me on my day of calamity,

but Adonai was my support.

“He brought me out to an open place;

he rescued me, because he took pleasure in me.

Adonai rewarded me for my uprightness,

he repaid me because my hands were clean.

“For I have kept the ways of Adonai,

I have not done evil by leaving my God;

for all his rulings were before me,

I did not depart from his regulations.

I was pure-hearted toward him

and kept myself from my sin.

“Hence Adonai repaid me for my uprightness,

according to my purity in his view.

With the merciful, you are merciful;

with the champion of purity, you are pure;

with the honest, you are honest;

but with the crooked you are cunning.

People afflicted, you save;

but when your eyes are on the haughty, you humble them.

“For you, Adonai, are my lamp;

Adonai lights up my darkness.

With you I can run through a whole troop of men,

with my God I can leap a wall.

“As for God, his way is perfect,

the word of Adonai has been tested by fire;

he shields all who take refuge in him.

For who is God but Adonai,

and who is a Rock but our God?

“God is my strength and protection;

he makes my way go straight.

He makes me swift and sure-footed as a deer

and enables me to stand on my high places.

He trains my hands for war

until my arms can bend a bow of bronze;

You give me your shield, which is salvation;

your answers make me great.

You lengthen the steps I can take,

yet my ankles do not turn.

“I pursued my enemies and wiped them out,

without turning back until they were destroyed.

I destroyed them, crushed them; they can’t get up;

they have fallen under my feet.

“For you braced me with strength for the battle

and bent down my adversaries beneath me.

You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,

so that I could destroy those who hate me.

“They looked, but there was no one to help,

even to Adonai, but he didn’t answer.

I pulverized them like dust on the ground,

pounded and stamped on them like mud in the streets.

“You also freed me from the quarrels of my people.

You kept me to be the head of the nations;

a people I did not know now serve me.

Foreigners come cringing to me;

the moment they hear of me, they obey me.

Foreigners lose heart as they stagger from their fortresses.

“Adonai is alive! Blessed is my Rock!

Exalted be God, the Rock of my salvation,

the God who gives me vengeance

and makes peoples submit to me.

He brings me out from my enemies.

You raise me over those who rebel against me,

you rescue me from violent men.

“So I give thanks to you, Adonai, among the nations;

I sing praises to your name.

He is a tower of salvation for his king;

he displays grace to his anointed,

to David and his descendants forever.”

Apostolic Writings

1 Corinthians 10:1-20

For, brothers, I don’t want you to miss the significance of what happened to our fathers. All of them were guided by the pillar of cloud, and they all passed through the sea, and in connection with the cloud and with the sea they all immersed themselves into Moshe, also they all ate the same food from the Spirit, and they all drank the same drink from the Spirit — for they drank from a Spirit-sent Rock which followed them, and that Rock was the Messiah. Yet with the majority of them God was not pleased, so their bodies were strewn across the desert.

Now these things took place as prefigurative historical events, warning us not to set our hearts on evil things as they did. Don’t be idolaters, as some of them were — as the Tanakh puts it, “The people sat down to eat and drink, then got up to indulge in revelry.” And let us not engage in sexual immorality, as some of them did, with the consequence that 23,000 died in a single day. And let us not put the Messiah to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. And don’t grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the Destroying Angel.

These things happened to them as prefigurative historical events, and they were written down as a warning to us who are living in the acharit-hayamim. Therefore, let anyone who thinks he is standing up be careful not to fall! No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and God can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure.

Therefore, my dear friends, run from idolatry! I speak to you as sensible people; judge for yourselves what I am saying. The “cup of blessing” over which we make the b’rakhah — isn’t it a sharing in the bloody sacrificial death of the Messiah? The bread we break, isn’t it a sharing in the body of the Messiah? Because there is one loaf of bread, we who are many constitute one body, since we all partake of the one loaf of bread. Look at physical Isra’el: don’t those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? So, what am I saying? That food sacrificed to idols has any significance in itself? or that an idol has significance in itself? No, what I am saying is that the things which pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice not to God but to demons; and I don’t want you to become sharers of the demons!

Nitzavim-Vayalech 5780 Reading of Haftorah and Apostolic Writings

The eighth and ninth portions of the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy are Nitzavim and Vayalech, which mean “Standing” and “He went.”
Torah Portion: Devarim 29:8(9)-30:20 and 31:1-30
Haftorah: Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9
Apostolic Writings: Luke 8: 4-18 and Luke 9:1-6, Romans 10:5-10

You can read or listen to the portions below:


Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9

I am so joyful in Adonai! My soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in salvation, dressed me with a robe of triumph, like a bridegroom wearing a festive turban, like a bride adorned with her jewels. For just as the earth brings forth its plants, or a garden makes its plants spring up, so Adonai , God, will cause victory and glory to spring up before all nations.


For Tziyon’s sake I will not be silent, for Yerushalayim’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out brightly and her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your vindication and all kings your glory. Then you will be called by a new name which Adonai himself will pronounce. You will be a glorious crown in the hand of Adonai, a royal diadem held by your God. You will no longer be spoken of as ‘Azuvah [Abandoned] or your land be spoken of as ‘Sh’mamah [Desolate]; rather, you will be called Heftzi-Vah [My-Delight-Is-In-Her] and your land Be‘ulah [Married]. For Adonai delights in you, and your land will be married — as a young man marries a young woman, your sons will marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, your God will rejoice over you. I have posted watchmen on your walls, Yerushalayim; they will never fall silent, neither by day nor by night. You who call on Adonai , give yourselves no rest; and give him no rest till he restores Yerushalayim and makes it a praise on earth. Adonai has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: “Never again will I give your grain to your enemies as food; nor will strangers drink your wine, for which you worked so hard; but those who harvest the grain will eat it with praises to Adonai ; those who gathered the wine will drink it in the courtyards of my sanctuary.” Go on through, go on through the gates, clear the way for the people! Build up a highway, build it up! Clear away the stones! Raise a banner for the peoples! Adonai has proclaimed to the end of the earth, “Say to the daughter of Tziyon, ‘Here, your Salvation is coming! Here, his reward is with him, and his recompense is before him.’” They will call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of Adonai . You will be called D’rushah [Sought-After], ‘Ir Lo Ne‘ezvah [City-No-Longer-Abandoned].

Who is this, coming from Edom, from Botzrah with clothing stained crimson, so magnificently dressed, so stately in his great strength? “It is I, who speak victoriously, I, well able to save.” Why is your apparel red, your clothes like someone treading a winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the peoples, not one was with me. So I trod them in my anger, trampled them in my fury; so their lifeblood spurted out on my clothing, and I have stained all my garments; for the day of vengeance that was in my heart and my year of redemption have come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I was appalled that no one upheld me. Therefore my own arm brought me salvation, and my own fury upheld me. In my anger I trod down the peoples, made them drunk with my fury, then poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” I will recall the grace of Adonai and the praises of Adonai , because of all that Adonai has granted us and his great goodness toward the house of Isra’el, which he bestowed on them in keeping with his mercy, in keeping with the greatness of his grace. For he said, “They are indeed my people, children who are not disloyal.” So he became their Savior. In all their troubles he was troubled; then the Angel of His Presence saved them; in his love and pity he redeemed them. He had lifted them up and carried them throughout the days of old.

Apostolic Writings

From Nitzavim:

Luke 8: 4-18

After a large crowd had gathered from the people who kept coming to him from town after town, Yeshua told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the path and was stepped on, and the birds flying around ate it up. Some fell on rock; and after it sprouted, it dried up from lack of moisture. Some fell in the midst of thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. But some fell into rich soil, and grew, and produced a hundred times as much as had been sown.” After saying this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear with, let him hear!” His talmidim asked him what this parable might mean, and he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of God; but the rest are taught in parables, so that they may look but not see, and listen but not understand. “The parable is this: the seed is God’s message. The ones along the path are those who hear, but then the Adversary comes and takes the message out of their hearts, in order to keep them from being saved by trusting it. The ones on rock are those who, when they hear the word, accept it with joy; but these have no root — they go on trusting for awhile; but when a time of testing comes, they apostatize. As for what fell in the midst of thorns these are the ones who hear; but as they go along, worries and wealth and life’s gratifications crowd in and choke them, so that their fruit never matures. But what fell in rich soil — these are the ones who, when they hear the message, hold onto it with a good, receptive heart; and by persevering, they bring forth a harvest. “No one who has lit a lamp covers it with a bowl or puts it under a bed; no, he puts it on a stand; so that those coming in may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nothing is covered up that will not be known and come out into the open. Pay attention, then, to how you hear! For anyone who has something will be given more; but from anyone who has nothing, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”
From Vayalech:

Luke 9:1-6

Calling together the Twelve, Yeshua gave them power and authority to expel all the demons and to cure diseases; and he sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, “Take nothing for your trip — neither a walking stick nor a pack, neither bread nor money; and don’t have two shirts. Whatever house you enter, stay there and go out from there. Wherever they don’t welcome you, shake the dust from your feet when you leave that town as a warning to them.” They set out and went through village after village, healing and announcing the Good News everywhere.

Romans 10:5-10

For Moshe writes about the righteousness grounded in the Torah that the person who does these things will attain life through them. Moreover, the righteousness grounded in trusting says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend to heaven?’” — that is, to bring the Messiah down — or, “‘Who will descend into Sh’ol?’” — that is, to bring the Messiah up from the dead. What, then, does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” — that is, the word about trust which we proclaim, namely, that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be delivered. For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance.

Ki Tavo 5780 Reading of Haftorah and Apostolic Writings

The seventh portion of the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy is Ki Tavo, which mean “When you come”
Torah Portion: Devarim 26:1-29:8(9)
Haftorah: Isaiah 60:1-22
Apostolic Writings: Romans 11:1-15

You can read or listen to the portions below:


Isaiah 60:1-22

“Arise, shine [Yerushalayim],

for your light has come,

the glory of HaShem

has risen over you.

For although darkness covers the earth

and thick darkness the peoples;

on you HaShem will rise;

over you will be seen his glory.

Nations will go toward your light

and kings toward your shining splendor.

Raise your eyes and look around:

they are all assembling and coming to you;

your sons are coming from far off,

your daughters being carried on their nurses’ hips.

Then you will see and be radiant,

your heart will throb and swell with delight;

for the riches of the seas will be brought to you,

the wealth of nations will come to you.

Caravans of camels will cover your land,

young camels from Midyan and ‘Eifah,

all of them coming from Sh’va,

bringing gold and frankincense,

and proclaiming the praises of HaShem.

All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered for you,

the rams of N’vayot will be at your service;

they will come up and be received on my altar,

as I glorify my glorious house.

“Who are these, flying along like clouds,

like doves to their dovecotes?

The coastlands are putting their hope in me,

with the ‘Tarshish’ ships in the lead,

to bring your children from far away,

and with them their silver and gold,

for the sake of HaShem your G-d,

the Holy One of Isra’el, who glorifies you.

Foreigners will rebuild your walls,

their kings will be at your service;

for in my anger I struck you,

but in my mercy I pity you.

Your gates will always be open,

they will not be shut by day or by night,

so that people can bring you the wealth of nations,

with their kings led in procession.

For the nation or kingdom that won’t serve you will perish;

yes, those nations will be utterly destroyed.

“The glory of the L’vanon will come to you,

cypresses together with elm trees and larches,

to beautify the site of my sanctuary —

I will glorify the place where I stand.

The children of your oppressors will come

and bow low before you,

all who despised you will fall at your feet,

calling you the city of HaShem,

Tziyon of the Holy One of Isra’el.

“In the past you were abandoned and hated,

so that no one would even pass through you;

but now I will make you the pride of the ages,

a joy for many generations.

You will drink the milk of nations,

you will nurse at royal breasts

and know that I, HaShem, am your Savior,

your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Ya‘akov.

“For bronze I will bring you gold,

for iron I will bring you silver,

bronze in place of wood,

and iron in place of stones.

I will make shalom your governor

and righteousness your taskmaster.

Violence will no longer be heard in your land,

desolation or destruction within your borders;

instead, you will call your walls Salvation

and your gates Praise.

“No more will the sun be your light by day,

nor will moonlight shine on you;

instead HaShem will be your light forever

and your G-d your glory.

No longer will your sun go down;

your moon will no longer wane;

for HaShem will be your light forever;

your days of mourning will end.

All your people will be tzaddikim;

they will inherit the land forever;

they will be the branch I planted,

my handiwork, in which I take pride.

The smallest will grow to a thousand,

the weakest will become a mighty nation.

I, HaShem, when the right time comes,will quickly bring it about.”

Apostolic Writings

Romans 11:1-15

“In that case, I say, isn’t it that G-d has repudiated his people?” Heaven forbid! For I myself am a son of Isra’el, from the seed of Avraham, of the tribe of Binyamin. G-d has not repudiated his people, whom he chose in advance. Or don’t you know what the Tanakh says about Eliyahu? He pleads with G-d against Isra’el, “HaShem, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars, and I’m the only one left, and now they want to kill me too!” But what is G-d’s answer to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not knelt down to Ba‘al.” It’s the same way in the present age: there is a remnant, chosen by grace. (Now if it is by grace, it is accordingly not based on legalistic works; if it were otherwise, grace would no longer be grace.) What follows is that Isra’el has not attained the goal for which she is striving. The ones chosen have obtained it, but the rest have been made stonelike, just as the Tanakh says,

“G-d has given them a spirit of dullness —

eyes that do not see

and ears that do not hear,

right down to the present day.”

And David says,

“Let their dining table become for them

a snare and a trap, a pitfall and a punishment.

Let their eyes be darkened, so that they can’t see,

with their backs bent continually.”

“In that case, I say, isn’t it that they have stumbled with the result that they have permanently fallen away?” Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary, it is by means of their stumbling that the deliverance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy. Moreover, if their stumbling is bringing riches to the world — that is, if Isra’el’s being placed temporarily in a condition less favored than that of the Gentiles is bringing riches to the latter — how much greater riches will Isra’el in its fullness bring them! However, to those of you who are Gentiles I say this: since I myself am an emissary sent to the Gentiles, I make known the importance of my work in the hope that somehow I may provoke some of my own people to jealousy and save some of them! For if their casting Yeshua aside means reconciliation for the world, what will their accepting him mean? It will be life from the dead!

Ki Tetze 5780 Reading of Haftorah and Apostolic Writings

The sixth portion of the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy is Ki Tetze, which mean “When you go out”

Torah Portion: Devarim 21:10 – 25:19
Haftorah: Isaiah 54:1-10
Apostolic Writings: Mark 10:2-12

You can read or listen to the portions below:


Isaiah 54:1-10

“Sing, barren woman who has never had a child! Burst into song, shout for joy, you who have never been in labor! For the deserted wife will have more children than the woman who is living with her husband,” says Adonai . Enlarge the space for your tent, extend the curtains of your dwelling; do not hold back, lengthen your cords, make your tent pegs firm. For you will spread out to the right and the left, your descendants will possess the nations and inhabit the desolated cities. Don’t be afraid, for you won’t be ashamed; don’t be discouraged, for you won’t be disgraced. You will forget the shame of your youth, no longer remember the dishonor of being widowed. For your husband is your Maker, Adonai – Tzva’ot is his name. The Holy One of Isra’el is your Redeemer. He will be called the God of all the earth. For Adonai has called you back like a wife abandoned and grief-stricken; “A wife married in her youth cannot be rejected,” says your God. “Briefly I abandoned you, but with great compassion I am taking you back. I was angry for a moment and hid my face from you; but with everlasting grace I will have compassion on you,” says Adonai your Redeemer. “For me this is like Noach’s flood. Just as I swore that no flood like Noach’s would ever again cover the earth, so now I swear that never again will I be angry with you or rebuke you. For the mountains may leave and the hills be removed, but my grace will never leave you, and my covenant of peace will not be removed,” says Adonai , who has compassion on you.

Apostolic Writings

Mark 10:2-12

Some P’rushim came up and tried to trap him by asking him, “Does the Torah permit a man to divorce his wife?” He replied, “What did Moshe command you?” They said, “Moshe allowed a man to hand his wife a get and divorce her.” But Yeshua said to them, “He wrote this commandment for you because of your hardheartedness. However, at the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two are to become one flesh. Thus they are no longer two, but one. So then, no one should break apart what God has joined together.” When they were indoors once more, the talmidim asked him about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against his wife; and if a wife divorces her husband and marries another man, she too commits adultery.”

Two-year Bible Reading Schedule*

*This excludes Psalms, Proverbs, Ruth, Esther and Jonah which are read throughout the year and as part of moedim.

Teach Us to Count Our Days

I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t know how broadly special timing applies in spiritual matters, but I want to share this with as many godly people as I can because I think I have a godsend here.

Psalm 90 is credited to Moshe. I found these verses particularly moving

“So teach us to count our days,
so that we will become wise.
Return, LORD! How long must it go on?
Take pity on your servants!
Fill us at daybreak with your love,
so that we can sing for joy as long as we live.
Let our joy last as long as the time you made us suffer,
for as many years as we experienced trouble.
Show your deeds to your servants
and your glory to their children.
May the favor of The LORD our G-d be on us,
prosper for us all the work that we do —
yes, prosper the work that we do.”

-Psalm 90: 12-17

If “coincidence is not a kosher word,” as it is said, then what are the odds that these elements would coincide?

  • I started diligently reading one chapter a day from the book of Psalms 90 days ago.
  • Psalm 90 is written by Moshe.
  • We are deep into the book of Devarim. The Torah and Moshe’s life are coming to a close. It is taught that Devarim is Moshe’s 36 day long address to the People of Israel before he dies and they enter the Land without him.
  • Today is the 1st of Elul. Elul is the start of a focused reading of the book of Psalms, scheduled to be read to completion by Yom Kippur.

What is the message here? What is the purpose? What should I do? What should you do?

I for one am going to take Moshe’s advice here and figure out a way to count my days. I have already been keeping a journal to help me keep track of my readings and the like. Can I do more there? Maybe. What does it mean to count our days? This is not a rhetorical question. Please help me to figure this out. I want to know what you think. How would you go about counting your days? What does it mean to you?

I have some observations I would like to share.

Psalm 90 feels like it has an almost foreboding tenor. It is a warning and an exhortation, a one-two punch to wake up these people, whose fathers and grandfathers died for their faithlessness despite all they had seen. These men heard the voice of the Most High and turned away from it. They preferred to have Moshe tell them what came from Heaven. When the spies gave the evil report, these same men listened to it. They chose to listen to men, instead of their Heavenly Father. They repented, but they still had to suffer the consequences. Mercifully, their children were left to take possession of the Land. We must learn from their example. We must listen to G-d above all else. We should deepen our communal bonds yes, but we must also act on our own. Only you can make your relationship right with G-d.

Elul is the last month of the Jewish year. One year is waning and another is about to begin. Like Moshe and like the generation who left Egypt, the year is passing. Like Yehoshua and the children of Israel, we stand at the threshold of a new frontier. Be strong, take courage, trust in G-d and fight the good fight. Conquer the year before you for the glory of our Lord and King!

An excerpt from Chabad’s calander entry for today.

Elul Observances

As the last month of the Jewish year, Elul is traditionally a time of introspection and stocktaking — a time to review one’s deeds and spiritual progress over the past year and prepare for the upcoming “Days of Awe” of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.

As the month of Divine Mercy and Forgiveness (see “Today in Jewish History” for Elul 1) it is a most opportune time for teshuvah (“return” to G-d), prayercharity, and increased Ahavat Yisrael (love for a fellow Jew) in the quest for self-improvement and coming closer to G-d. Chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi likens the month of Elul to a time when “the king is in the field” and, in contrast to when he is in the royal palace, “everyone who so desires is permitted to meet him, and he receives them all with a cheerful countenance and shows a smiling face to them all.”

Specific Elul customs include the daily sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn) as a call to repentance. The Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of reciting three additional chapters of Psalms each day, from the 1st of Elul until Yom Kippur (on Yom Kippur the remaining 36 chapters are recited, thereby completing the entire book of Psalms).


This message goes hand in hand with the Count Down to Rosh Hashanah.