MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU FROM ZION – November Hebrew Song

MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU FROM ZION

讬职讘指专侄讻职讱指 讛’ 诪执爪旨执讬讜止谉 讜旨专职讗值讛 讘旨讟讜旨讘 讬职专讜旨砖指诇址讬执诐 讻旨止诇 讬职诪值讬 讞址讬侄讬讱指.

聽讜旨专职讗值讛 讘指谞执讬诐 诇职讘指谞侄讬讱指 砖指诇讜止诐 注址诇 讬执砖职专指讗值诇. 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽

转旨职讛执诇执讬诐, 拽讻讞 讛-讜

Yevare鈥檆hecha hashem mi鈥檛ziyon ur鈥檈 betuv yerushalayim,

Yevare鈥檆hecha hashem mi鈥檛ziyon, kol yemey ,yemey chayecha.

Ur鈥檈 vanim le-vanecha, shalom al yisra鈥檈l (X2)

May the Lord bless you from Zion;

May you share the prosperity of Jerusalem

All the days of your life, and live to see your children鈥檚 children.

May all be well with Israel.聽 Psalms 128, 5-6

This song is very popular in Israel. People sing it in weddings and in other occasions to express happiness. The song is comprised of these two verses from Psalms, without the 聽words聽 :鈥漚ll the days of your life鈥. (in Hebrew: 讻旨止诇 讬职诪值讬 讞址讬侄讬讱指.).

The verses are a blessing and explain the idea that if you are lucky to see the children of your children (your grand-children), then there will be peace on Israel, and on the rest of the world.

Sarah Israeli


The Thirty First Sunday of the Year

The Thirty First Sunday of the Year (5th November 2017)

Malachi 1:14b鈥2:2b, 8鈥10; Psalm 131; 1 Thessalonians 2:7b鈥9, 13; Matthew 23:1-12

Family disputes

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Some of the worst disputes take place within families or between branches of the same religious family.聽 The Gospel text for use in today鈥檚 liturgy is an example.聽 It portrays Jesus in conflict with the Pharisees, a religious movement active in the land of Israel between 2nd century BCE and 1st century CE (Harrington, 56). 聽It is thought that the Pharisees were the precursors of rabbinic Judaism and the group Jesus had most in common with (Levine, 527).聽 The seemingly hard words coming from the mouth of Jesus may reflect the ways rival groups debated with one another in the first century and competed with one another in the late first century after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.聽 The second group spoken of in this Gospel passage, the Scribes were people trained in the knowledge and interpretation of the Law.

In this chapter of Matthew, the authority of the Scribes and Pharisees is recognized using the image of their occupying the 鈥樷檆hair of Moses鈥, the person through whom God gave the Law to the people of Israel. The chair of Moses was also the name given to the special seat in ancient synagogues reserved for the most distinguished of the elders (Lachs, 366).聽 Jesus tells his listeners to do and observe what the Scribes and Pharisees tell them but not to follow their example. 聽聽His instruction is based on Deuteronomy 17:10, 鈥淐arry out exactly the decision announced to you鈥︹.diligently observing everything they instruct you鈥, a verse which became the biblical basis for rabbinic authority replacing that of the priests (Lachs, 366). 聽It seems, however, that there were some Scribes and Pharisees who instructed people what to do but who failed to carry out the instructions themselves.聽

聽Matthew鈥檚 Gospel also indicates that the behavior of some of these two groups of people was not consonant with the protocol of the day.聽 Phylacteries (the straps which attached the boxes worn by Jewish men to the forearm and to the forehead) were to be of a prescribed length. The tzitzit (fringes on the tephillin worn at prayer) were also required to be of a certain length. (Lachs, 366, 367)聽 There was protocol regarding seating at banquets and in the synagogue and regarding greetings.聽 If any of these protocols were ignored or if they were fulfilled with ostentation subsequent criticism was justified. 聽Lachs points out that there are many statements in the Mishnah decrying self-aggrandizement (366).聽

聽Finally, Matthew has Jesus tell his disciples that they must not be called 鈥淩abbi鈥.聽 Lach discusses whether this teaching is anachronistic as the title 鈥淩abbi鈥 was not used until after the destruction of the Temple (367)

Reflection questions:聽 1.How would you counter those who assert that Matthew identified the Scribes and Pharisees as Jesus鈥 enemies?聽 2. Can you name any ways followers of Jesus are guilty of self-aggrandizement today?

Bibliography: Daniel Harrington, The Synoptic Gospels Set Free, (Paulist Press, 2009), Samuel Lachs, A Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament, (Ktav, 1987), Amy Jill Levine (Ed), The Jewish Annotated New Testament, (Oxford, 2011)

This week鈥檚 Sunday Gospel Commentary was prepared by

Clare Jardine nds, BD, MA (Jewish Studies), Rome, Italy

clare@notredamedesion.org

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 [Copyright 漏 2017]

鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Gospel commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Sunday Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol.聽 Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome.

鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

1983-2017

鈥淐hristians Studying the Bible within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish Sources.鈥

gill@batkol.info Website: www.batkol.info

Parashat Vayera

Shabbat Table Talk

Parashat Vayera 鈥 Erev Shabbat 3rd 聽November 2017

Week of 29 October- 4 November 2017

Torah portion: Genesis 18:1-22:24 Haftarah: 2 Kings 4:1-37

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Central to all these eight stories related in this parashah is Vayera 鈥榟e (the Lord) appeared鈥. Fox names the various vignettes as follows: 1) Visit and Promise (18:1-15); 2) The Great Intercession (18:16-33); 3) The end of Sedom and Amora (c. 19); 4) The Wife 鈥 II (c.20); 5) Yitzhak is born (21:1-8); 6) Yishmael banished (21:9-21); 7) Treaty (21:22-34); and 8) The Great Test (c. 22).

The first story describes the Lord appearing to Abraham at the hottest time of the day. The Lord is firstly, 鈥榯hree men鈥 to whom Abraham offers immediate hospitality. The 鈥榯hree men鈥 bring a message that Sarah will have a child. The 鈥榯hree men鈥 then become 鈥業鈥 and the Lord who works wonders 鈥 Sarah in her old age will have a son.

鈥楾he Great Intercession鈥 describes 鈥榯he men鈥 gazing down on Sodom and Gomorrah. Then 鈥榯he Lord鈥 tries to decide whether to share the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah with Abraham, whom the Lord has chosen. The Lord then shares with Abraham concerning the evil in Sodom and Gomorrah. The men turn away and go to Sodom while Abraham is left standing before the Lord. Then follows the wonderful interchange of dialogue between Abraham and the Lord where Abraham pleads for the cities. Sadly, there are not ten just men and the Lord departs and Abraham returns to his place.

This section has echoes of God hearing the outcries of the Israelites in Egypt and the trusting open relationship between the Lord and Moses throughout Exodus to Deuteronomy. I have sometimes thought that the Lord and Moses are like a married couple discussing how they will deal with their children (Nm 14: 10b-20). 鈥楾he End of Sedom and Amora鈥 presents us with 鈥榯wo divine emissaries鈥. Lot offers them hospitality. They save Lot from the men of the city and blind them with lighting. The men reveal to Lot that the Lord is about to destroy the cities and that he and his family must escape. The men had to take Lot and his family by the hands to get them out of the city: their home with all their acquired possessions which Lot鈥檚 wife had to look back at with longing. When Lot and his two daughters were safely in Zoar, Sodom and Gomorrah were totally destroyed for their sinfulness. The Lord had saved Abraham and his family and Lot and his daughters from disaster.

Chapter 20 shows how God鈥檚 intervention in a dream prevents Abimelech from taking Sarah to be his wife. Abraham gains land and possessions from Abimelech 鈥 God鈥檚 plans will not be thwarted. 鈥業saac is born鈥 narrates the long-awaited son of promise. Sarah says: God has brought me to laughter; all who hear will laugh at me (21:6). Now Abraham has two sons whom he loves but he has to send Hagar and Ishmael away. Early the next morning (21:14) Abraham sends Hagar and their son away. In the wilderness Hagar meets God who consoles her and her son and promises that her son will be a great nation. The 鈥楾reaty鈥 is only of interest in this context because of what Abimelech and Pichol say to Abraham: God is with you in all you do (21:22b).

Finally we come to the 鈥楪reat Test鈥 which alone has been the subject of many commentaries and sermons. Here we see how in yet another experience of impending loss, God is present and guiding along the way: On the mount of the Lord, God will be seen (22:14). It is only when we climb the mountain of the Lord in faith and trust, in whatever circumstance and no matter how painful, that we shall 鈥榮ee鈥 the Lord and know the Lord鈥檚 will. The Lord鈥檚 messenger reveals to Abraham the Lord鈥檚 continued guidance of and graciousness towards Abraham鈥檚 descendants. The last five verses of this Parashah give the descendants of Abraham鈥檚 brother, Nahor and his wife, Milcah from whom Rebecca was born. So God has provided for the next generation in a wife for Isaac. Immanuel, God is with us (Is 7:14; Mt 1:23).

Reflection: Take note of the Lord God鈥檚 constant and varied appearances in your life. Praise, thank our God!

Bibliography: Eskenazi, T. C. Weiss, A.L.聽 A Women鈥檚 Commentary (New York: 2008); Fox, Everett. The Five Books of Moses (New York: 1997); African Bible (Nairobi: 2004).

This week鈥檚 teaching commentary is by

Bernadette Chellew, Durban, South Africa聽聽 聽

Bat Kol alum 2008

Email: btrnchellew@gmail.com

聽[Copyright 漏 2017]

鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹..

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Parashah commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol.聽聽 The commentaries, along with all materials published on the Bat Kol website, are copyrighted by the writers, and are made available for personal and group study, and local church purposes. Permission needed for other purposes.聽 Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome.

鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹…………………

Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

1983-2017

鈥淐hristians Studying the Bible within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish Sources.鈥

Website: www.batkol.info; Parashah Admin.: gill@batkol.info

THE 30th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

REFLECTIONS ON THE READINGS FOR

THE 30th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR, 29th OCTOBER, 2017, CYCLE A

Exodus 22:20-26; Psalm 18; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40

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Today our readings focus on the most important aspect of what it is to be fully human:聽 love of God and love of neighbour, making a fitting prelude to the coming celebrations of All Saints and All souls, which remember and honour those who truly loved God and neighbour.聽 In Matthew鈥檚 Gospel, Jesus answers the scribe鈥檚 question by saying that 鈥渢he whole law and the prophets鈥 depend on the commands to love God 鈥渨ith all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind鈥 and 鈥測our neighbour as yourself鈥.聽 Jesus, Jewish teacher that he is, is quoting here from Deuteronomy 6:4 and Leviticus 19:18. 聽He鈥檚 not unique in summarizing God鈥檚 law by these two central commands: his contemporary, the great rabbi Hillel, when challenged by a prospective convert to recite the whole Torah standing on one foot, replied, 鈥淲hat you hate for yourself, do not do to your neighbour.聽 This is the whole law.聽 The rest is commentary.鈥澛

Our reading from Exodus speaks of how placing themselves in the situation of others should determine the Israelites鈥 actions:聽 鈥淵ou must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt.鈥澛 Significantly, the Hebrew word for 鈥渟tranger鈥澛 here is 鈥済er鈥 , which is the term applied to the resident non-Israelite who could no longer count on the protection of his former tribe or community.聽 The 鈥済er鈥, mentioned 33 times in the Torah, was to be given every consideration.聽 Again and again, the Israelites were reminded that they themselves had been strangers in Egypt.聽

Those whom Paul is addressing in his Letter to the Thessalonians, written less than twenty years after the death of Jesus, were probably all gentiles, coming from the poor, non-elite of their society.聽 Their new faith in Christ meant that they had to abandon their traditional gods in favour of the one God, but that would have set them at odds against the rest of the society in which they lived, where kinship, politics, economics and religion were inextricably interrelated.聽 This meant that they would have been ostracized, even stoned in the streets: 鈥溾n spite of the great opposition all round you 鈥.you broke with idolatry when you were converted to God and became servants of the real, living God鈥. Paul encourages them to persevere and discover mutual strength in their new identity, at the same time calling them to treat outsiders well: 鈥淢ay the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race 鈥︹ (1 Thess 3:12).

In the Bible, love of God is often expressed as gratitude and remembrance for what God has done rather than what we do for God.聽 That is clearly the essence of Psalm 18, which begins, almost impetuously, with the words, 鈥淚 love you, Lord, my strength鈥.聽 The form of the Hebrew verb used for 鈥渓ove鈥 – 鈥渞aham鈥, is an Aramaic usage that appears only here in the Hebrew Bible.聽 It is, strikingly, better translated as 鈥淚 am impassioned of you, Lord, my strength!鈥澛 The passionate love of God 鈥 and neighbour – is key to our readings today and is our privileged calling.

This week鈥檚 Sunday Gospel Commentary was prepared by

Sr Margaret Shepherd, NDS, London, UK

margaretashepherd@gmail.com

[Copyright 漏 2017]

鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Gospel commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Sunday Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol. 聽Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome.

鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

1983-2017

鈥淐hristians Studying the Bible within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish Sources.鈥

gill@batkol.info Website: www.batkol.info

Parashat Lekh Lekha

Shabbat Table Talk

Parashat Lekh Lekha, Erev Shabbat 27 October 2015

Week of 22-28 October

Torah portion: Gen. 12:1鈥17:27聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 聽Haftarah: Isa. 40:27鈥41:16

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YHWH鈥檚 communication with Abraham, as it is presented in the biblical text, begins with two words, lekh-lekha (12:1), which are found in this combination only once more in the shared Scriptures. The second occurrence is found in Genesis 22:2, when God (elohim) gives Abraham the instruction to 鈥済o鈥 to the land of Moriah, which we will explore in next week鈥檚 commentary. These two words mark both the beginning and the conclusion of YHWH鈥檚 biblical conversation with Abraham, as well as the limits of his physical journey. The phrase is a combination of lekh, the qal imperative masculine singular form of the verb hlk (鈥渢o walk, go鈥), the preposition le (鈥渢o鈥) and the masculine singular pronominal suffix kha (鈥測ou鈥). Whilst this particular construction allows for the translation, 鈥済o to yourself,鈥 there seems to be relatively little variation in English translations of the phrase, most likely due the difficulties inherent in rendering the phrase adequately. Even though most translations of the phrase refrain from rendering lekh-lekha literally, Jewish scholarship and commentary, has focused considerable attention on the interpretive possibilities offered by this peculiar grammatical construction.

Aviva Gotlieb Zornberg (135) commences her discussion of the phrase lekh-lekha in a particularly Jewish manner, with a question: 鈥淲hat is the force of lekha?鈥 In line with common Jewish practice she looks for answers in the work of the medieval Jewish commentator Rashi, who translates the term as: 鈥渇or your benefit and for your good.鈥 According to Rashi, the act of going will in and of itself be advantageous: Abraham will become the ancestor of a great nation; he will be blessed, which is traditionally linked with prosperity in the Jewish interpretive tradition, and his name will become great. Rashi also notes, contradistinctively, that travel is actually detrimental to 鈥渙ne鈥檚 family life鈥 (and presumably the potential for reproduction), 鈥渙ne鈥檚 financial standing鈥 and even one鈥檚 鈥渞enown鈥 (name or reputation) (Ibid. 138). However, it is only by leaving Haran and travelling to an as yet unseen place, thus risking the inherent consequences of travel (above), that Abraham will receive the benefits hinted at by Rashi, which will in turn bring blessing to his descendants, those who bless him and, ultimately, all the families of the earth.

Understanding that there is always more than one possible interpretation of any biblical text, other Jewish commentators suggest that Abraham is being called to 鈥渓eave behind those things that make [him] someone else鈥 (Sacks, 79) in order to find his 鈥渁uthentic self鈥 (Lieber 2001, 70). Further, Plaut (112) notes, 鈥淭he aloneness of Abraham foreshadows that of all religious seekers and, above all, that of the people of Israel in their historic solitude.鈥

For Reflection and Discussion:聽 The journey that Abraham is called to take is set into motion with the deceptively simple command from YHWH to go: with yourself, to yourself and by yourself. Have you ever experienced a divine call to go? What did it mean for you?

Bibliography: Lieber, Etz Hayim (The Jewish Publication Society, 2001); Plaut, The Torah: A Modern Commentary, Revised Edition (Union of Hebrew Congregations, 2006); Sacks, Genesis: Covenant and Conversation (Koren Publishers, 2009); Walsh, Himig Ugnayan聽Vol XV (AR 2014-2015) 69-91; Zornberg, The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious (Schocken Books, 2009).

This week鈥檚 teaching commentary was prepared by

聽Mark David Walsh, B.A., B.Theol. Grad. Dip. R.E., M.R.E., Australia

Bat Kol alum 鈥01, 鈥02, 鈥04, 鈥13

(Email: markdavidwalsh@gmail.com)

聽[Copyright 漏 2017]

鈥︹︹︹︹..鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Parashah commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol.聽聽 The commentaries, along with all materials published on the Bat Kol website, are copyrighted by the writers, and are made available for personal and group study, and local church purposes. Permission needed for other purposes.聽 Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome.

鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹….

Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

1983-2017

鈥淐hristians Studying the Bible within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish Sources.鈥

Website: www.batkol.info; Parashah Admin.: gill@batkol.info

THE 29th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

The Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (22 October 2017)

Is 45:1,4-6; Ps 96; 1Thes 1:1-10; Mt 22:15-21

聽聽Theme: Who is the King of Your Heart?

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Repeatedly in Israel鈥檚 history, the nation finds itself in exile. And repeatedly, G-d has proven to be Israel鈥檚 faithful LORD as he uses different nations and their kings to enact his salvation for his people and judge those nations who have overstepped their power. In our readings today, the authors of Isaiah 45 and Psalm 96, reiterate G-d鈥檚 sovereignty over the nations and not just Israel. G-d uses the stage of international politics to show that the kings are but his servants. He has given them limited authority as his instruments of justice and salvation for both his chosen nation and goyim or the nations around them. G-d was the True Suzerain over the nations and their kings were only his vassals, blessed when they extend G-d鈥檚 justice and goodness to the people and judged when they abuse their power over their constituents. The trial speeches against the nations in Isaiah showed that Babylonian diviners didn鈥檛 expect the rise of Cyrus thus rendering their gods speechless and insignificant compared to the G-d of Israel.

聽In the turning point of Israel鈥檚 history, G-d uses Cyrus king of Persia to bring back his people from their long exile in Babylon to rebuild the walls and the Holy City in Jerusalem. The decree by Cyrus the Great that sent the exiles back to Israel seemed to be the liberation the people had long anticipated. Although we see in the Gospel of Matthew that Israel was again captive to another Superpower, Rome, and it鈥檚 cruel Caesar, Herod. The fate and faith of Israel was once again put to the test. Although Caesar鈥檚 rule had dawned the age of roads and infrastructure that eased commerce and travel, his reign had also persecuted those who refused to worship him as the divine son, and emissary of the gods. Caesar鈥檚 Pax Romana and the cruelty by which he ushered in this 鈥榩eace鈥 was infamously historical.

聽Taxes and tributes were the main means by which Caesar imposed his oppression on the foreigners in the land. And this was not a welcome policy for the Israelites, many of whom were at the brink of poverty and living as aliens in their own land. In the Gospel reading, Jesus teaches an implicit lesson when he was questioned for his loyalty. 鈥淎s a teacher of the Law, was it against the Torah to pay taxes to Caesar?鈥 In true Rabbinic form, Jesus answers through a rhetorical reply, 鈥淲ho鈥檚 image is on that coin?鈥 It does not take a genius to know that the face is indeed Caesar鈥檚. And thus, Jesus says, 鈥淕ive to Caesar what is Caesar鈥檚 and to G-d what is G-d鈥檚.鈥 This seemed to be the end of the conversation. But if one seeks further, one might ask, 鈥淚f the coin is Caesar鈥檚 as it has his image on it, what then belongs to G-d?鈥 The right question in reply is, 鈥淲ho鈥檚 image is on you?鈥

Jesus reminds us, as in Israel鈥檚 history, G-d is faithful to his promises. And in spite the many difficult circumstances, he remains King of the nations and thus he longs to remain King of our hearts.

For Reflection and Discussion: Was there a very difficult time in your life that made you question G-d鈥檚 sovereignty in your life? What does the concept of G-d鈥檚 kingship tell us about our circumstances?

Bibliography: Boyles, Craig. The Major Prophets in the FaithLife Study Bible. (Washington:2016); Frymer-Kensy, Tikva. The Image: Religious Anthropology in Judaism and Christianity in Christianity in Jewish Terms, (Colorado:2000); Lamerson, Samuel. The Graeco-Roman Background of the New Testament in the FaithLife Study Bible. (Washington : 2016).

This week鈥檚 Sunday Gospel Commentary was prepared by

Jojee Martinez, MDiv Biblical Studies, Philippines

Bat Kol Alumni July 2016
Email address: jojeemartinez@gmail.com

[Copyright 漏 2017 ]

鈥︹︹︹︹︹.鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Gospel commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Sunday Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol. 聽Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome

鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹..鈥︹︹︹︹

Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

1983-2017

鈥淐hristians Studying the Bible 聽within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish Sources.鈥

gill@batkol.info Website: www.batkol.info

Parashat Noach

Shabbat Table Talk

Parashat Noach 21st October 2017

Week of 15-21 October 2017

Torah portion: Gen 6:9-11:32; 聽聽Haftarah: Isa 66:1-24

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The Tower of Babel story in this week鈥檚 portion is short, but well-known. Humanity unites to 鈥渂uild a city and tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves鈥 (Gen 11:4). Seeing this, God divides them and scatters them by dividing and scattering their language.

Plaut suggests three interpretations of the transgression committed here. First, this was an attempt to reach the heavens and displace God. Just as the first humans reached out to take the fruit in Gen 3, so too do men 鈥渆xhibit excessive arrogance鈥 in making a name for themselves in self-exaltation. On the other hand, focusing their gaze on the heavens can be seen as a sign of anxiety rather than arrogance, looking to their own agenda, but then forgetting God鈥檚. Here, humanity seems to escape God鈥檚 command to have dominion over [all] the earth (Gen 1:28) and to till the garden and tend it (Gen 2:15). Third, the city of Babel can symbolize all corrupt empire-building that results only in oppression and marginalization. God鈥檚 decision to scatter and confuse humanity via the confusion of language is therefore a safeguard against further evils, for 鈥渋f, as one people with one language for all, this is how they have begun to act, then nothing they may propose to do will be out of their reach鈥 (Gen 11:6).

聽Reflecting on our world today, it would seem that this goal has been achieved. We are now plagued by the confusion of language. The issue of freedom of speech is being challenged by the proliferation of violence through hate speech. Political rivals are unafraid of throwing accusations and allegations against each other 鈥 with no shame admitting that these are all made-up. Lies are constantly fed to the public with the proliferation of fake news and poor journalism. Confusion abounds more and more in the realms of social media.

聽Carol Ochs, however, points out in The Torah: A Commentary, that God鈥檚 intention was to undermine humanity鈥檚 capacity to use language insofar as it was used in a destructive fashion. Language must actually be used for the opposite: to repair relationships, instruct others, forgive, and bless [Ochs].

聽We can see this in the other story in this week鈥檚 portion, the story of Noah and the flood (Gen 9-10). In contrast to the Babel story of scattering, we are presented with God using language to instruct Noah to gather and to save. God鈥檚 words include detailed blueprints for the ark and detailed instructions of gathering his sons, his wife, his son鈥檚 wives, and animals, two of every kind, clean and unclean (Gen 6:14-21). Words here are used also to unify and take on a seemingly impossible task, just as in the Babel story. The difference, however, is that the goal here is aligned with what God ultimately wants.

聽In this time of confusion of language, constantly used to divide and scatter, God鈥檚 words in the haftarah ring out: 鈥淚 am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my glory鈥 (Isa 66:18). Remembering the words of God 鈥 the Word of God in Torah and the Word of God in Jesus Christ 鈥 must serve as a reminder of the proper use of language to unify and gather all of God鈥檚 creation.

For Reflection and Discussion: [1] Have I been using language to scatter or to gather? [2] How can my own words better reflect the Word of God?

Bibliography: Plaut (ed.), The Torah: A Modern Commentary (New York, 2005); Eskanazi (ed.), The Torah: A Women鈥檚 Commentary (New York: 2008).

This week鈥檚 teaching commentary was prepared by
Javier Miguel A. Galvez, PhD student, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
Bat Kol 2017
Email: jgalvez@ateneo.edu

Copyright 2017

鈥︹.鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Parashah commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol. The commentaries, along with all materials published on the Bat Kol website, are copyrighted by the writers, and are made available for personal and group study, and local church purposes. Permission needed for other purposes. Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome

…………………………………………………..

Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

聽1983-2017

鈥淐hristians Studying the Bible within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish Sources.鈥

Website: www.batkol.info; Commentary Admin: gill@batkol.info

The Twenty-Eighth Sunday of the Year

The Twenty-Eighth Sunday of the Year (15th October 2017)

Lectionary readings: Is. 25 6-1; Ps. 22; Phil. 4 12-14, 19-20; Mt 聽22 1-14

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聽聽

The Eschatological Banquet

Most people love a banquet especially one to celebrate a wedding. In the Gospel for today Matthew draws on the banquet imagery of the Prophet Isaiah and wedding imagery used by prophetic writers to describe God鈥檚 relationship with Israel. 聽The image of the great banquet would have resonated strongly with Jesus鈥 audience. 聽The book of Isaiah was highly influential in the Second Temple period and the idea of the eschatological age as an on-going banquet was current in the first century (Long 71, 248). In today鈥檚 first reading the 8th century prophet Isaiah announces a banquet inaugurating the restoration of post-exilic Israel. 聽All people will celebrate with excellent food and wine on Mount Zion. 聽The meal marks the beginning of the eschatological age.

In the third in a series of parables or mashal, a common teaching tool in the first century, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. When the king鈥檚 servants went to call those who had been invited they refused to come, making excuses. Some murdered his slaves. 聽So angry was the king that he destroyed the murderers and burnt down their town. 聽聽Unfortunately, the reaction of the king to those who refused his invitation is subject to an anti-Jewish interpretation, many identifying those who refused the invitation as the Jewish people who are then seen as rejected by God. 聽This interpretation goes against the teaching of the Church of God鈥檚 continuing covenant with the Jewish people (Vatican, The Gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable) 聽

Inviting others in place of those who refused is often understood as a reference to the universal aspect of God鈥檚 promises to the Gentiles. 聽Long ( also Stern 166), however, suggests that the replacement guests are those who have responded to Jesus鈥 invitation to them and have been eating and drinking with him 鈥 the sinners from the fringes of Jewish society. 聽

Through the parable Jesus announces the coming of the kingdom of God in terms of a wedding banquet. 聽Ultimately, all are invited to the banquet but in the final part of the parable one guest is turned away for not wearing a wedding garment. 聽Stern (162) suggests that the wedding garment does not refer to clothing but to attitude and behavior. 聽聽This guest had not repented. 聽All are welcomed to the banquet as long as they repent and wear the clothes of righteousness. 聽

The parable ends with a nimshal which is an explanatory paragraph often added to a mashal or parable (Allen 76). 聽Here the nimshal is, 鈥渕any are called but few are chosen鈥. 聽It is unclear what the nimshal is explaining; who are the 鈥渕any鈥 and who are the 鈥渇ew鈥? 聽Is the nimshal a comment on the parable we are examining today or on the series of three parables? 聽

The Gospel today has many aspects, God鈥檚 love for Israel and for all humanity, God鈥檚 love for those on the fringes of society, God鈥檚 invitation to repent and to wear the garment of righteousness. 聽God invites us to his banquet to enjoy the food and wine of the kingdom, the same food and wine we will enjoy in the age to come.

For Reflection and Discussion: 1 Which aspect of the parable do you feel drawn to today? Spend some time reflecting on it. 聽2. 聽One interpretation of 鈥淢any are called but few are chosen鈥 is: God calls us all with his love. His chosen are those of us who freely say “yes” to his call of love (Allen, 76). 聽What do you think about this interpretation?

Bibliography: 聽Donald J. Allen and Clark M. Williamson, Preaching the Gospel Without Blaming the Jews: A Lectionary commentary (John Knox Press, 2004); 聽Philip Long, The origin of the eschatological Feast as a Wedding Banquet, (PhD Thesis, St Andrew鈥檚 University, 2012); 聽Frank Stern, A Rabbi looks at Jesus鈥 Parables, (Rowan and Littlefield, 2006)

This week鈥檚 Sunday Gospel Commentary was prepared by

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Clare Jardine nds, BD, MA (Jewish Studies), Rome, Italy

clare@notredamedesion.org

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽[Copyright 漏 2017]

鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Gospel commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Sunday Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol. 聽Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome.

鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

Parashat B'reishit

Shabbat Table Talk

Parashat B鈥橰eishit, 13 October 2017

Week of October 8-14 October 2017

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Torah portion: Genesis 1:1-6:8 聽聽聽Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5-43:10

鈥淕-d said鈥 (Gen.1:3). Lieber immediately emphasized in his footnotes that 鈥淕-d creates with words. This is the first invocation of the Torah鈥檚 belief in the reality of words, their power to create and to destroy.鈥 聽Our new Bat Kol group, 鈥淥hri-Yah鈥, in Caro, Michigan (USA) spent several sessions considering the words of parashat B鈥橰eishit. This was our group鈥檚 first experience of looking at the text using a Jewish source. In this commentary, I am using their reflections and their eye opening experiences for inspiration and as topics for discussion in your own havrutah groups.

We began our group with study of the Hebrew word 鈥淥hr鈥 (Light) using a study sheet prepared by Bat Kol alumna, MaryAnn Payne, which uses Hebrew 鈥淓t Ha Ohr鈥 (Gen.1:3) to explain the letter values of the phrase are 613. The rabbis explain that the primordial light, as distinct from sunlight, gave perfect clarity and understanding; therefore, the rabbis add, the Torah contains 613 mitzvot and gives us a path to clarity and understanding when we study and fulfill the commandments.

Our group was thrilled to learn that during ancient times, light was considered a feature of divinity; we could identify with light in the bible serving as a symbol of life, joy, justice and deliverance. (Lieber, p.5)

A new idea that we discussed was the incompleteness of creation and the responsibility we have as co-creators with G-d to continue creation. We felt renewed in faith and love when we read verse 1:27 鈥淕od blessed them and said to them鈥.鈥 Lieber鈥檚 footnotes state that God addresses the man and the woman directly. The transcendent God of creation becomes the immanent God, the personal God who enters into communion with human beings. (p.10) This blessing was experienced by our group members as a loving invitation to responsibility, to share in the care of creation, to feel valued as a partner of God in whose image we are created. 聽This validates all the effort and work we put forth in our daily lives.

A fourth topic of extensive discussion was the theme of chaos changed to order; the balance of work versus leisure; the rhythm of humans having control over time; the measurement of time as well as the use of time; and our human failure to accept Sabbath rest as a blessing.

聽As we continued our parashat B鈥橰eishit following chapters, we took note how 鈥渢here was a stream welling up, while no rain had yet fallen鈥, and rain seen as not only a natural phenomenon, but a blessing from G-d; (Gen.2:5-6, Lieber p.13). We are learning to ask questions!

An interesting point of humanity鈥檚 ongoing pattern of blaming the other (or others) instead of accepting blame is seen in Adam鈥檚 words: 鈥淵ou put the woman at my side she gave me of the tree, and I ate.鈥 聽聽聽(Gen. 3:12). We wondered how after thousands of years following this example humanity still habitually blames others! It certainly provides a lesson for all of us today.

The question posed to Adam, could be addressed to us 鈥…., where are you?鈥 (Gen 3:9) Indeed, where am I?

Bibliography: 聽Lieber, Etz Hayim, Torah and Commentary, New York, 2001

This week鈥檚 teaching commentary was prepared by

MariAnn (Marjan) Saenen, B.A. M.A. Michigan State University,

Lay Minister, Diocese of Saginaw, MI

Bat Kol alum 1999-2000; 2002, 2010, 2015, 2016

marjansaenen@hotmail.com

[Copyright 漏 2017]

鈥︹.鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Parashah commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol. The commentaries, along with all materials published on the Bat Kol website, are copyrighted by the writers, and are made available for personal and group study, and local church purposes. Permission needed for other purposes. Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome

……………………………………………………

Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

1983-2017

鈥淐hristians Studying the Bible within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish Sources.鈥

Website: www.batkol.info; Commentary Admin: gill@batkol.info

Parashat B’reishit

Shabbat Table Talk

Parashat B鈥橰eishit, 13 October 2017

Week of October 8-14 October 2017

Download

Torah portion: Genesis 1:1-6:8    Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5-43:10

鈥淕-d said鈥 (Gen.1:3). Lieber immediately emphasized in his footnotes that 鈥淕-d creates with words. This is the first invocation of the Torah鈥檚 belief in the reality of words, their power to create and to destroy.鈥  Our new Bat Kol group, 鈥淥hri-Yah鈥, in Caro, Michigan (USA) spent several sessions considering the words of parashat B鈥橰eishit. This was our group鈥檚 first experience of looking at the text using a Jewish source. In this commentary, I am using their reflections and their eye opening experiences for inspiration and as topics for discussion in your own havrutah groups.

We began our group with study of the Hebrew word 鈥淥hr鈥 (Light) using a study sheet prepared by Bat Kol alumna, MaryAnn Payne, which uses Hebrew 鈥淓t Ha Ohr鈥 (Gen.1:3) to explain the letter values of the phrase are 613. The rabbis explain that the primordial light, as distinct from sunlight, gave perfect clarity and understanding; therefore, the rabbis add, the Torah contains 613 mitzvot and gives us a path to clarity and understanding when we study and fulfill the commandments.

Our group was thrilled to learn that during ancient times, light was considered a feature of divinity; we could identify with light in the bible serving as a symbol of life, joy, justice and deliverance. (Lieber, p.5)

A new idea that we discussed was the incompleteness of creation and the responsibility we have as co-creators with G-d to continue creation. We felt renewed in faith and love when we read verse 1:27 鈥淕od blessed them and said to them鈥.鈥 Lieber鈥檚 footnotes state that God addresses the man and the woman directly. The transcendent God of creation becomes the immanent God, the personal God who enters into communion with human beings. (p.10) This blessing was experienced by our group members as a loving invitation to responsibility, to share in the care of creation, to feel valued as a partner of God in whose image we are created.  This validates all the effort and work we put forth in our daily lives.

A fourth topic of extensive discussion was the theme of chaos changed to order; the balance of work versus leisure; the rhythm of humans having control over time; the measurement of time as well as the use of time; and our human failure to accept Sabbath rest as a blessing.

 As we continued our parashat B鈥橰eishit following chapters, we took note how 鈥渢here was a stream welling up, while no rain had yet fallen鈥, and rain seen as not only a natural phenomenon, but a blessing from G-d; (Gen.2:5-6, Lieber p.13). We are learning to ask questions!

An interesting point of humanity鈥檚 ongoing pattern of blaming the other (or others) instead of accepting blame is seen in Adam鈥檚 words: 鈥淵ou put the woman at my side she gave me of the tree, and I ate.鈥    (Gen. 3:12). We wondered how after thousands of years following this example humanity still habitually blames others! It certainly provides a lesson for all of us today.

The question posed to Adam, could be addressed to us 鈥…., where are you?鈥 (Gen 3:9) Indeed, where am I?

Bibliography:  Lieber, Etz Hayim, Torah and Commentary, New York, 2001

This week鈥檚 teaching commentary was prepared by

MariAnn (Marjan) Saenen, B.A. M.A. Michigan State University,

Lay Minister, Diocese of Saginaw, MI

Bat Kol alum 1999-2000; 2002, 2010, 2015, 2016

marjansaenen@hotmail.com

[Copyright 漏 2017]

鈥︹.鈥︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹︹

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Parashah commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol. The commentaries, along with all materials published on the Bat Kol website, are copyrighted by the writers, and are made available for personal and group study, and local church purposes. Permission needed for other purposes. Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome

……………………………………………………

Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

1983-2017

鈥淐hristians Studying the Bible within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish Sources.鈥

Website: www.batkol.info; Commentary Admin: gill@batkol.info