For more than two thousand years, the entire Jewish community all around the world has focused on the same part of the Scriptures each week called (in English) the Torah portion. Except during Hebraic holy days, the weekly Torah portion is featured in the synagogue (house of study) every Shabbat.
Typically, the Torah is divided into 54 portions so that the Torah is entirely cycled through once each year. It is a long-standing and fascinating tradition that has kept the entire Israelite community unified in a special way, wherever they might be, for thousands of years.
There is also a Triennial reading cycle which divides the Torah into thirds, and then into smaller portions so that cycling through the entire Torah requires three consecutive years. Instituted during the 19th century, the triennial cycle allows more in-depth focus on smaller sections of Scripture than the traditional annual cycle.
Traditionally, in many synagogues, a Torah scroll is ceremonially removed from the ark (a dedicated cabinet) and is opened to the weekly portion from which a segment is read. At ARIEL, the ark is opened with a traditional Torah blessing, but not often removed, and a selected highlight of the weekly portion is read from an English translation. Afterwards, the ark containing the Torah is respectfully closed as another traditional blessing is said.
The Torah portions at ARIEL are also recorded each week and posted here online. Enjoy!
Patrick Shannon studies the list of commanded offerings in Numbers 28 which give us some interesting insights regarding our forms of worship today based on other correlating Scriptures. A very challenging teaching on what is actually required for those of us who claim to be His people.
After clicking on the Play button below to listen, click here for the slideshow to follow along.
Patrick Shannon presents the story of Israel falling to idolatry at Peor, showing the progression toward irreversible sin and linking it with similar progressions in the Scriptures that reveal the source of temptation, and how to overcome it in order to avoid sin.
Rick Ortiz shares some interesting insights on the red heifer that was to be offered in order to make one ceremonially clean after having contact with a dead person.
Rick Ortiz highlights some of the attitudes of Korach, from the Levital clan of Kohath, and shows how these attitudes were spread to to his neighbors in the tribe of Reuben. A cautionary story of how we need to be careful of what our neighbors say.
Patrick Shannon shares the importance of keeping the Passover at it’s appointed time and explains the cycles of the moon to know the times for certain. He also shows how the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai most likely happened on Shavuot (Pentacost) and how the Spirit that was put on the 70 elders in the 2nd year probably occurred on Shavuot as well. Then the pagan origins of birthday celebrations are exposed with the original meanings of many birthday traditions.
R. Paul Falk connects the Passover command to eat bitter herbs with the hard bondage in Egypt, the bitter waters at Marah, and the test for an adulterous wife to reveal a very interesting meaning of it all pertaining to what comes out of our mouths.
Rick Ortiz shares from the Torah portion, BeMidbar, highlighting God’s separation of the firstborn sons, choosing of the Levites to replace the firstborns, and how the commanded redemption of the firstborns is connected to the Creator’s threat to Pharaoh about releasing Israel, His firstborn son, or He would kill all the firstborn sons of Egypt.
R. Paul Falk continues the series on Passover and specifically on purging out the leaven from our lives, which often takes the form of idolatry in ways that we many not recognize. He also shows from Leviticus how the Father removes this leaven when we do not.
Patrick Shannon analyzes the story of the man that is stoned to death by for blaspheming the name of YHVH, starting from exactly what the name is, the elusive pronunciation, what it means to blaspheme or profane the name, and a central point revealed by the chiastic structure of the story.
R. Paul Falk delves into the meaning of Yeshua’s mysterious charge to his disciples to eat his body, and to drink his blood. Though represented by bread and wine, this difficult-to-understand metaphor holds the key to having true life “in” Messiah. Many relevant passages are pieced together to finally understand what Yeshua meant by, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.” (John 6:53)