“Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete.  Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yod or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened.  So whoever disobeys the least of the commandments and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven”
(Matthew 5:17-20). 

What is a Parashah?  It is the Hebrew word for ‘portion’.  Over the centuries, the rabbis came up with parashot (plural of parashah) for reading the first five books of the Bible or Torah in one year. (The links below are the yearly readings).  The year begins on Simchat Torah in the fall when the Torah scroll is rolled back on itself so it can be read from the beginning again.   The Torah includes the basic foundations and history that are necessary have a walk of faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel.  The Torah is the most obvious place to start learning about God’s Kingdom, His family, His plan of redemption and restoration of Israel if you are a believer in Messiah Yeshua.   Many followers of the Messiah use the weekly Torah portions to understand Yeshua and His teachings and instructions.  

There are four rabbinical ways or levels with which to study the Torah: the p’shat, the remez, the ‘drash, and the sohd.  The p’shat is  literal meaning of the text.   The words of the text mean what they say and say what they mean.  It’s that simple.  When Yeshua lifts the cup at Passover and says that he is instituting the new covenant, he is instituting the promised covenant found in Jeremiah 31 and not something else.

The remez is what the text alludes to or prophesies.  This would include types and shadows found in the Feasts of the Lord located throughout the Scriptures.  For example, words like ‘ate unleavened bread’ allude to Passover while ‘no one knows the day or the hour’ is an idiom for Yom Teruah or Feast of Trumpets. 

The drash is the analysis of the text.  From the word drash  comes midrash.  A midrash is when a group of people come together from differing points of view of a passage and discuss it until they come to a unity of understanding.  From the midrash comes the rabbinical concept of ‘abolishing’ or ‘fulfilling’ Scripture.  If a  passage is wrongly interpreted, it is considered ‘abolished’ while if it is rightly interpreted, it has ‘fulfilled’ its purpose.  Yeshua says he is the Rabbi who does not ‘abolish’ the Torah, but ‘fulfills’ it.  This means that his teachings rightly interpret the Torah rather than ‘abolish’ it by wrong interpretation.

Finally, the sohd is the deeper spiritual meaning and purpose learned from the text.  For example, Yeshua says at Passover, “This is my blood poured out for you.”  He didn’t literally pour his blood into the cup, but was pointing to a deeper spiritual purpose – the pouring out his blood as the Lamb of God on the cross.

I am not a Bible scholar and would never claim to be, therefore, my Torah portion thoughts are going to come from questions our family asked, searched out, and may even still have.  Sometimes they are just a repetition of the Scriptures because we thought those had some meaning and purpose that we didn’t have  ‘eyes to see’ at that point in time.   It is important to remember that the literal interpretation comes first and is most important when studying Scripture.  Though there may be allegories and allusions, those are secondary and are drashed out.

It is also important to remember that when the Scriptures were written down by Moses, he didn’t have the fullness of the Scriptures we have today with the prophets, the gospels and the letters.  We have a more complete picture of God’s eternal plan while he had just what he was given in that moment. Spiritual applications are very important and so it follows that we should find spiritual application to our lives.

A final point, when Yeshua walked on the earth, he only had the Hebrew portion of the Scriptures – the Torah and the Prophets.   These were the only Scriptures he taught from and it is these Scripture that contained the commandments he taught us to obey.

Hazak, hazak, v’nit’chazek!

Be strong, be strong, and let us be srengthened!