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Weekly D’rash and Parsha B'reishit

We once again begin the Torah reading cycle for the New Year. This year, we are introducing an opportunity to read though the Bible in a year featuring the weekly Torah Portion reading cycle. This particular plan was developed by Rabbi Eric Meiri and may be found here. When we think of the beginning of Genesis, we think about creation and the rebellion of humanity. All we need to do is look around us and we still see the ramifications of the decision of the man and woman to eat from the forbidden tree. The chaos that we see in every facet of the creation is indirectly the result of the rebellion of humanity. As many people have commented, humanity went into exileand has never yet quite returned. Yeshua the Messiah came to lead us out of the exile, and those who embrace him are on the path back to Eden which is the path back to order. The Haftarah portion for this week comes from Isaiah chapter 42 which introduces us to the Servant of the Lord. The first four verses of the chapter describe the Servant as the one who will be a blessing to the nations. Sometimes the ‘Servant’refers to Israel who is called to be a light to the nations. Other times the ‘Servant’is personified in the Messiah who will redeem both Israel and the nations. TheHaftarah portion begins in verse 5, which reminds us that the One who called the Servant is the One who has complete authority over all of creation. See Isaiah 40:12 and the immediately following verses for a similar description. In the New Covenant Scriptures, we read this type of language about Yeshua himself (see, for example, Colossians 1:15–17). If he has authority over all of creation, then he can be trusted to bring the promise of the restoration of humanity to pass. Isaiah 42:5–9 sounds like a victory song of assurance. God will indeed bring to pass the complete restoration of humanity and the whole of creation. Isaiah 42:10–25 describes the failure of Israel as the Servant and therefore the need for the Messiah, the personification of the Servant. Chapter 43:1–10 is a glorious passage that once again proclaims the Redeemer as the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Israel will be redeemed and indeed fulfill her calling to bring the nations to the God of Israel. Yeshua is the glory of Israel and a light of revelation to the nations (Luke 2:42). The future is assured, but even now God in Messiah Yeshua is in the process of transforming us into the people he created us to be. He has authority and power over everything. The more we embrace our need to depend on him, the more we will see change in our lives. At the beginning of Genesis, humanity declared its independence from God which led to chaos. As we return to him and receive new light, we depend on him for our lives and wellbeing. This brings the joy and shalom that we so dearly desire. Whatever chaos we find ourselves in today, remember that in the Messiah we have access to the Creator who brings us out of the chaos and into order. Again, the reading plan developed by Rabbi Eric Meiri may be found here. Shabbat Shalom! Rabbi Howard

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