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This week we see a very important portion, especially in Judaism. In my opinion, Genesis 22:1-19 is one of the most difficult of all the trials Abraham faced. Here he is asked to offer his only son, whom he loves, as an offering. This whole passage contains messianic foreshadowing of Yeshua’s ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.  Some of the parallels include; Isaac being the “only son, whom you love” and Yeshua being G-d’s only Son; both being offered as an offering upon G-d’s request; the wood, which was the source of death since it sustained the fire, was placed on Isaac and he carried it up the mountain just as Yeshua carried the wooden cross up the hill; both Isaac and Yeshua had the faith to walk out their father’s will; and so on.

In Parasha Vayera we see yet another fascinating parallel between Isaac and Yeshua. In the last portion G-d commands Abraham,

“You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and that shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. At the age of eight days every male among you shall be circumcised, throughout your generations..” Genesis 17:11-12

Sure enough Abraham’s “only son, whom you love”, Isaac, is miraculously born and circumcised on the eighth day. Not only was Isaac promised to Sarah and Abraham just as Yeshua was promised to Mary and Joseph, but both mothers gave birth despite the physical impossibility. It is just as impossible for a woman without a menstrual cycle to give birth as it is for a virgin to give birth. It appears that Isaac is the first male to be circumcised on the eighth day. Ishmael was thirteen and there isn’t any indication that the people in Abraham’s household had just been born. Why is this significant? Because Isaac is the first child to fulfill the entire commandment of circumcision. Yeshua also fulfilled this commandment in its entirety by being circumcised on the eighth day.

“And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2:21

There are even similarities in the outcome of the sacrifices of Isaac and Yeshua. The writer of Hebrew’s mentions,

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that G-d was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” Hebrews 11:17-19

Which sounds similar to,

“When Abraham bound his son Isaac on the altar, and slew him and burned him, (the lad) was reduced to ashes, and his ashes were scattered on Mount Moriah; then the Holy One, blessed be He, brought down life-giving dew and revived him […] See S. Spiegel in the Abraham Weiss Jubilee Volume (New York, 1964), pp. 553-566.]1 (emphasis mine)

Also, we know that Yeshua died and rose from the dead. However, the difference between Yeshua and Isaac is the most important part. Yeshua was, is and always will be G-d. His precious blood provided eternal atonement and it is through Him that we may be grafted in to Israel His bride. It is our responsibility to read the Apostolic Scriptures through the lens of the Tanach. In regards to Yeshua, those who believed recognized Him from Scripture. They saw the prophecies being lived out. They saw the messianic references in the Tanach come alive before their eyes. We may not have the incredible honor and privilege of walking physically with Yeshua, but as He said in John 20:29,

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

Shabbat Shalom!

 


1 Courtesy of Curious Jew blog. Cambridge University Library manuscript (Or. 1080, Box I: 48), of the Midrash on Shibbole ha-Leket
http://curiousjew.blogspot.com/2007/01/isaac-died-alternative-version-of.html

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33And the L-RD spoke to Moses, saying, 34“Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the L-RD. 35On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. 36For seven days you shall present food offerings to the L-RD. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the L-RD. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.

37“These are the appointed feasts of the L-RD, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the L-RD food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day, 38 besides the L-RD’s Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the L-RD.

39“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the L-RD seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. 40And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the L-RD your G-d seven days. 41 You shall celebrate it as a feast to the L-RD for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the L-RD your G-d.” Vayikra [Leviticus] 33-43

The commandment of Sukkot is found in Vayikra [Leviticus] 23, Bamidbar[Numbers] 29, and Devarim [Deuteronomy] 16 with several other mentions throughout Scripture. It is crucial that these verses be the starting point for anyone interested in celebrating Sukkot. Once a solid knowledge of literal Scripture is acquired then one should begin reading the traditions of the feast. Have the ability to distinguish between man-made traditions and the mitzvot [commandments] of HaShem. In most cases Jewish traditions support the mitzvot [commandments] and make mitzvot [commandments] easier to keep. For example the mitzvah [commandment] of writing the words of the Sh’ma on the doorposts of your house is made easier by affixing a mezuzah. Although, some traditions may distract from the purpose and are not scriptural. For example, stepping over a silver spoon as a bride and groom enter the secluded room. Do you have any questions about what is commanded and what is tradition in relation to sukkot?

Please leave a comment with your questions. Also, here are some great resources to expand your knowledge of Sukkot and celebrate this joyous occasion together with Israel.

Overview of Sukkot:

http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday5.htm

Basic and advanced information [audio, text, video]:

http://www.ou.org/chagim/sukkot/

Special Torah Readings for Sukkot:

Sukkot, Day 1 Lev 22:26-23:44 Num 29:12-16 Zech 14:1-21
Sukkot, Day 2 I Kings 8:2-21
Sukkot, Chol Ha-mo’ed Day 1 Num 29:17-25
Sukkot, Chol Ha-mo’ed Day 2 Num 29:20-28
Sukkot, Chol Ha-mo’ed Day 3 Num 29:23-31
Sukkot, Chol Ha-mo’ed Day 4 Num 29:26-34
Sukkot, Intermediate Shabbat Ex 33:12-34:26 Ezek 38:18-39:16
Hoshanah Rabbah Num 29:26-34
Shemini Atzeret Deut 14:22-16:17 Num 29:35-30:1 I Ki 8:54-9:1

Blessing upon entering a sukkah:

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam,
asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu leishev ba-sukkah.

Blessed are You, L-RD our G-d, King of the Universe,
Who sanctifies us with His mitzvot and has commanded us to dwell in the sukkah.

Ordering Etrog and Lulav sets:

http://www.esrogfarm.com/2010/07/esrog-lulav-sets-for-shipping/

Additional Scripture Readings:

Numbers 29 12 “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall keep a feast to the L-RD seven days.”

Deuteronomy 16 13 “You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress.”

Ezra 3 4 “And they kept the Feast of Booths, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the rule, as each day required,..”

Nehemiah 8 14 “And they found it written in the Law that the L-RD had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month,..”

Ezekiel 45 25 “In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month and for the seven days of the feast, he shall make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, and grain offerings, and for the oil.”

Hosea 12 9 “I am the L-RD your God from the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.”

Zechariah 14 16 “Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the L-RD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.”

John 7 2 “Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand.”

Did you build a sukkah? If so, tell us about it!

Sanctifying HaShem throughout our community is a more difficult concept than I had originally thought because of a line from this weeks’ parasha [portion], Ha’azinu. HaShem said to Moshe in Deuteronomy 32:51 that he would not enter the Land,“because you did not sanctify Me among the Children of Israel.” Consider who Moshe was. He wrote the Torah, he preformed many miracles, he spoke with HaShem “face to face”, he saw with his own eyes HaShem’s back; just to identify a few incredible experiences. Yet Moshe still made a mistake and did not sanctify HaShem.

Not a single person in this generation is as righteous as Moshe. He is one of the most revered men throughout the Tanach. So much so that our Moshiach is actually referred to as “a prophet like unto Moses.” The intention of this post is not to disrespect or belittle Moshe, Heaven forbid! The thought I am trying to convey is understanding the difficulty of sanctifying HaShem and how we need to constantly seek to draw closer to Him. If it was difficult in Moshe’s time to sanctify HaShem how much more difficult is it today. Society in general is filled with distractions, idols, and temptations. If you are content or complacent with your halachah [walk] then you are not sanctifying His Name. Sanctification is a daily process of living life in accordance with Torah and proclaiming HaShem’s holiness with thoughts, words, and deeds. It is because of His mercies that all of us awoke this morning to find Yom Kippur speedily approaching. He is holy and His Name is holy.

Sanctifying HaShem is difficult because it requires disregard for fleshly desires, pure thoughts, and a constant selfless attitude. Personally I am far from living how I know I must but each day is a step closer. He is worthy of all our praise and He deserves to be sanctified.

What are you personally doing to sanctify HaShem in your community with your life?

May this Yom Kippur motivate true teshuva [repentance] from sin.

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