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“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

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This file is in PDF format List of Torah Portions for 5783 This file is in PDF format
A Multi-Year Reading Schedule is Here
Weekly Parashot

Unless otherwise indicated, the text used for my commentary and related parashot is my own paraphrase based primarily on The World Messianic Bible (which is in the Public Domain) with constant reference to the original Hebrew and Greek texts, as well as other reliable English versions.

Parashot IndexBible Book Index

for the
Torah Section
of My Commentary

The Weekly Torah Service

Every Saturday morning, in synagogues all over the wold, Torah scrolls are ceremoniously removed from arks, carried through the aisles to be touched reverently by the congregants (the custom symbolizes devotion to the Word of God), and then placed on the bimah (or pulpit). Seven persons are called up to recite blessings before they or more experienced readers read the Hebrew text of the Torah from the scroll. The practice of public reading from the Torah dates back at least to the time of Ezra,[1] if not to King Y'hoshofat[2] or King Yoshiyahu;[3] and the B'rit Hadashah [the Messianic Writings or so-called “New Testament”] attests to it as well.[4] The portion (parashah) read each week, anywhere between one and six chapters long,[5] is not picked on the spur of the moment but follows a prescribed sequence tied to the Jewish year. Fifty-four parashot are read in order, Commencing with B'resheet (Genesis) 1 on the autumn holiday Simchat-Torah (Rejoicing of the Torah) and ending with D'varim (Deuteronomy) 34 on Simchat-Torah the following year, when with great joy the scroll is immediately re-rolled, and B'resheet 1 is read again.

Moreover, the reading from the Bible does not end with the Torah portion. After the Torah, a related section from the Prophets is read; this is called the haftara (completion), since it completes the prescribed synagogue Scripture reading. The B'rit Hadashah reports that in Natzaret (Nazareth) Yeshua was invited to read the haftarah, which that week was from the book of Isaiah, and He daringly applied the passage to himself.[6] In times past there was also a reading from the Writings section of the Bible, but this custom has fallen away.[7]

Being called up to the bimah for the Torah reading is an honor. The Hebrew word for such an invitation is 'aliyah; it means “going up.” (The same word, 'aliyah, means “immigrating to Israel,” since it is a spiritual “going up” for a Jew to return to the land God gave to our people.) The first 'aliyah is given to a cohen (priest) if one is present, the second to a Levi (Levite) if present, and the rest to any Jew. The 'oleh (the person called up for an 'aliyah) recites the blessing, stands at the bimah while he or the ba'al-kore (pronounced ba•'al ko•ray — the master reader) reads from the scroll; he then recites the closing blessing, remains standing there during the following 'aliyah, shakes hands all around, and then returns to his seat. In Orthodox Judaism only men are given 'aliyot; in Conservative and Reform [and Messianic] Judaism both men and women may be called up. (David Stern, The Complete Jewish Bible introductory material, page xlviii.)

Rightly “Dividing” the Word of Truth

The first Bible in English to use both chapters and verses was the Geneva Bible published in 1560. These verse divisions soon gained acceptance as a standard way to notate verses, and have since been used in nearly all English Bibles and the vast majority of those in other languages.

No matter how useful they are, these divisions of the text can be misleading. They are human interpretations of the sacred text, and humans can get things wrong. Those who are used to reading the text according to these arbitrary divisions frequently read — and attempt to understand the text — out of context, which nearly always leads to an incorrect understanding of the text. And then there are those accursed “Verse of the Day” that many people receive in their email or on their smartphone. These are the worst of all, and are taken totally out of context to (I believe) intentionally lead the recipients into false appropriations of “Bible promises.” Let me illustrate how a “verse of the day” might produce some interesting results.

There once was a man who wanted to determine God’s will for his life, so he opened his Bible and began reading at random. He opened to Matt 27:5 and read that Judas went and hanged himself. “Surely you don't want me to do that, Lord!” the man wailed.

He quickly turned to another random passage of Scripture, this time his eyes coming to rest on Luke 10:37, where he read, “You go, and do likewise.”

“Lord!” the man cried in anguish, “surely that can't be your will for my life!”

And again he turned to another random passage, John 13:27. There he read, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

Centuries before the Bible was divided into chapters and verses the Sages created various sections, parashot, of the Sacred Scrolls. The parashah is a section of the Torah (Five Books of Moses) used in Jewish liturgy during a particular week. There are 54 parshas, or parashot in Hebrew, and the full cycle is read over the course of one Jewish year.

Parashot appear in manuscripts as early as the Dead Sea Scrolls, in which the division is generally similar to that found in the masoretic text. The idea of spacing between portions, including the idea of "open" and "closed" portions, is mentioned in early midrashic literature and the Talmud. Early masoretic lists detailing the Babylonian tradition include systematic and detailed discussion of exactly where portions begin and which type they are. As a group, Tiberian masoretic codices share similar but not identical parashah divisions throughout the Bible. Unlike the Babylonian mesorah, however, Tiberian masoretic notes never mention the parashah divisions or attempt to systematize them. This is related to the fact that the Babylonian lists are independent compositions, while the Tiberian notes are in the margins of the biblical text itself, which shows the parashot in a highly visible way. In the centuries following the Tiberian mesorah, there were ever-increasing efforts to document and standardize the details of the parashah divisions, especially for the Torah, and even for Nevi'im and Ketuvim as time went on. (Wikipedia)
   Each Torah portion consists of two to six chapters to be read during the week. There are 54 weekly portions or parashot. Torah reading mostly follows an annual cycle beginning and ending on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, with the divisions corresponding to the lunisolar Hebrew calendar, which contains up to 55 weeks, the exact number varying between leap years and regular years. One week is always Passover and another is always Sukkot, and the final parashah, V'Zot HaBerachah, is always read on Simchat Torah. Apart for the "immovable" final portion, there can be up to 53 weeks available for the other 53 portions. In years with fewer than 53 available weeks, some readings are combined to achieve the needed number of weekly readings. The annual completion of the Torah readings on Simchat Torah, translating to "Rejoicing in the Law", is marked by Jewish communities around the world.
   Each weekly Torah portion takes its name from the first distinctive word in the Hebrew text of the portion in question, often from the first verse. The appropriate parashah is chanted publicly by a designated reader (ba'al koreh) in Jewish prayer services, starting with a partial reading on the afternoon of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, i.e. Saturday afternoon, again during the Monday and Thursday morning services, and ending with a full reading during the following Shabbat morning services (Saturday morning). The weekly reading is pre-empted by a special reading on major religious holidays. Each Saturday morning and holiday reading is followed by an often similarly themed reading (Haftarah) from the Book of Prophets (Nevi'im).
   The division of parashiot found in the modern-day Torah scrolls of all Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Yemenite communities is based upon the systematic list provided by Maimonides in Mishneh Torah, Laws of Tefillin, Mezuzah and Torah Scrolls, Chapter 8. Maimonides based his division of the parashot for the Torah on the Masoretic text of the Aleppo Codex. (Wikipedia)

My “Design” for the Torah Section

I “designed” the Torah section (the five Books of Moses, or the Pendateuch) of my commentary so that it can be read for instruction, for devotion, or for contemplation on the weekly parashah, the “Portion” that is read weekly in every Jewish synagogue in the world, whether Rabbinical or Messianic.

In the Torah section (Genesis through Deuteronomy) I have inserted into the text indications for each parashah along with the appropriate before and after brachot (blessings) that are to be recited. Each 'aliyah is also indicated, following the Sephardic tradition. Ashkinazic 'aliyot are indicated like (A:ii) where they differe from the Sephardic. I have also included both the text and the brachot for the haftarah and readings from the Apostolic Writings. For those who like bite-sized daily readings, those are also included.

How to Use This Section

How you will choose to use the Torah section of my commentary will depend upon your desired goal for the reading.

Navigating Through My Torah Section

At the very top of each page the first thing you will find is an option to have Google translate the page into nearly every major language on the globe. Just below that is a section of links to the sub-sections of the current section of the website plus links to some additional information. Just below that is a line that displays the current date on both the Julian and Hebrew calendars, plus a link to a Hebrew calendar for the current month. Then there is a line which provides you with the opportunity to share the page with others.

The next thing you will see on the page is a link to the Introductory Notes on the commentary. If you have not already done so, I strongly recommend that you take the opportunity to read this page. It is much like the preface to any printed book you might encounter and provides some insight into why I felt I should write a commentary in the first place, then a bit about my objectives and philosophy behind the effort.

Below that is a link to this page followed by a selection of links to the introductory comments to the Torah section, plus links to each of the five books of the Torah. to a page of notes that are applicable throughout the commentary in particular and the website in general, plus a link to each of the 54 parashot, including a list of the dates for the current Hebrew year on which the parashot are to be read in the synagogues around the world.

After the page title is a selection of links the the introductory notes on the chapter in the Bible, links to each chapter of the book being examined, plus links to additional useful information. This is followed by an indication of which weekly parashah is being presented on that page. If it is the first page of the parashah, there are links to other commentaries on that week’s parashah from Messianic, Rabbinical, and Christian points of view. This is followed by a suggested daily reading for the week. This is followed by the Brakhah (blessing) to be read prior to the public reading of the parashah. This is followed immediately by the text of the passage.

Reading for Instruction in the Text

If you are reading this commentary primarily for instruction in the text — the main reason that most people would choose to read any biblical commentary — you will probably want to skip all the information pertaining to the parashah and begin reading at the beginning of the chapter. As you read through the text I have provided links for you to Continue Reading and skip over the parashah information.

For each chapter you will find outline headings imbedded in the text, some with links to external passages. In most cases these outlines will provide some historical context for the passage you are reading. When you find dates in the outline and comments, realize that these dates are only educated guesses by a few authors. The sources for the dates I have used are given HERE.

Where additional comments might amplify my paraphrase of the text, they are given in footnotes. Some few comments are imbedded directly into the text [like this]. To get the most out of this commentary, I strongly suggest that you read all footnotes and follow all hyperlinks.

Reading for Devotion

If your are reading my commentary for devotion and contemplation on the text itself, feel free to skip all the footnotes and other comments and just continue reading through the text by clicking on Continue Reading wherever it appears. If you are interested in a “verse of the day” experience, simply click on the daily links under “This Week’s Reading Schedule.”

Reading for Contemplation on the Weekly Parashah

My sincere hope is that most of you will want to use my commentary for both instruction in the text and for contemplation on the weekly parashah. If that is your goal, you will want to read all footnotes and follow all hyperlinks in addition to working your way through the parashah.

At the beginning of each parashah is a link to the “Parashot Index” which gives a list of all 54 parashot and the dates on which each will be read in synagogues around the world. The parashah title is followed by links to other commentaries from First Fruits of Zion, or, and Directly below those three links are links to suggested daily readings which will allow you to break down your reading into “bite sized” morsels.

If you are planning to read through the entire weekly parashah, haftarah, and Gospel reading for the week, simply scroll straight down the page. As you come to each brakhah (blessing) I suggest you click on the link to hear the brakhah canted while you follow along on the page. As you scroll on through, each parashah will be followed by the haftarah and Gospel reading along with the appropriate brakhot for each.

My sincere prayer is that you will be blessed as you read these pages.

  1. Nehemiah 8:1. [BACK]

  2. 2 Chronicles 17:9. [BACK]

  3. 2 Kings 22:8-23:3. [BACK]

  4. Acts 13:14-15. [BACK]

  5. The entire Parashah, or portion, is a hundred or more verses in length, and reading the entire Parashah along with its related Haftarah and readings from the Apostolic Writings often takes an hour or longer. So some Messianic congrgations have elected to shorten the Torah service by reading only a portion of the weekly portion in order to spend more time in instruction in the Word. Other congregations have the Torah service only once or twice each month, and still others omit the Torah service altogether. [BACK]

  6. Luke 4:16-30. [BACK]

  7. Most Messianic Synagogues that practice a Torah service add a selection from the Apostolic Writings as a recognition of this practice. [BACK]

Page last updated on Saturday, 30 September 2023 10:49 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return

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