All posts by Cathy Helms

Chai Sarah – Life of Sarah

Torah Portion: Genesis 23:1 through Gen 25:18
Haftarah: 1Kings 1:1-31, 46
New Testament: Mat. 13: 24-50, John 4:35, Heb 11:6-19, Heb 13:6

Abraham SarahThough our portion this week is curiously titled “Life of Sarah,” it gives few details other than her age at death in regard to the circumstances.  In Hebrew, the text reads that Sarah lived 100 years, 20 years, and 7 years.  The sages have deduced that at age 100 she was as beautiful as a 20-year-old and as innocent as a 7-year-old. In addition, over the centuries they invested much thought to the obvious question, how did Sarah die?  Because Sarah’s demise follows on the heels of the akeida [binding of Isaac], most believe that Sarah’s death was somehow attributed to it. Continue reading Chai Sarah – Life of Sarah

Vayera – He Appeared

Torah Portion: Genesis 18:1 through Gen 22:24
Haftarah: 2 Kings 4:1-37
New Testament: Acts 7:2-3, John 8:28-59, Jude 1:1-8, James 1:2-6

My spiritual children have wrestled this week with health issues, been harassed by neighbors, faced economic distress, and been interrupted and forced to intervene on behalf of family who have acted in ignorance.  If you have likewise been tested and tried this week, welcome to parsha Vayera!  But, the good news is, that in every instance, Vayera!   God was faithful, and “He appeared”! Continue reading Vayera – He Appeared

Lech Lecha – Go for yourself!

Torah Portion: Genesis 12:1 through 17:27
Haftarah Portion: Isaiah 40:27 through 41:16
New Testament Portion: Mat. 8:21-22, Acts 7:2-6, Romans 11:24-26, 1 Peter 3:5-6, Rev. 7:9-10

In the span of two weeks, we have traversed the first 2000 years of human history in which the world was created in seven days, Adam and Eve succumbed to the guile of Satan and were exiled from the Garden of Eden, the world became so wicked that the Creator repented that He had made humans, and sent a worldwide flood from which only Noah and his family were saved.  Continue reading Lech Lecha – Go for yourself!

Noach (Noah)

Torah Portion:  Genesis 6:911:32 Haftarah Portion:  Isaiah 54:155:5 New Testament Portion:  Luke 17:26-27, Hebrews 11:7, 1Peter 3:20, 2Peter 2:5, 3:9-14

The concluding words of last week’s Torah portion read “but Noah found grace in the eyes of Yahweh.” (Gen 6:8)  We arrive this week at the building of the ark and the salvation of one family from a worldwide calamity.  Encompassed in the “secret place of the Most High. . . in the shadow of the Almighty,” Noah’s family rode out the mother of all storms.  Continue reading Noach (Noah)

B’resheet – In the Beginning

Torah Portion: Genesis 1:1-6:8
Haftarah Portion: Isaiah 42:5-21
New Testament Portion: John 1:1-14, Colossians 1:1-22, Hebrews 1:2, 8-10, 11:13

bereshitIt is, at best, a daunting task to put together a commentary on B’resheet, let alone attempt to do it in one day, having just returned from the Feast of Sukkot.  The opening portion of the annual Torah cycle not only gives us the Creation story, the fall of Adam and Eve, and approximately 1000 years of history of mankind, it contains the seeds of the most important themes in Scripture.  Continue reading B’resheet – In the Beginning

Ha’azinu – Give ear, Listen

Torah portion: Deut. chapter 32
Haftarah: Hosea 14:2–10, Micah 7:18–20, Joel 2:15–27
[when occurring on Sabbath before Yom Kippur]
On regular years: 2 Samuel chapter 22
New Testament: Rev. chapters 14 and 15

This week’s torah portion is very interesting for a number of reasons. For one thing, the words themselves are written on the leaves of the Torah scroll in an odd manner. Instead of a single line of text running across the page, the Song of Moses is separated into two neat columns. Each stanza on the right side of the page is counter-balanced by one opposite it in poetic rhythm. Continue reading Ha’azinu – Give ear, Listen

Nitzavim – You are Standing Vayelech – He Went

Torah Portion: Deut. 29:9-31:30
Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
New Testament: Luke 24:1-2

This week we have a delectable double portion of Torah. Except in leap years, these two portions are combined. It is a bitter-sweet scene. Moses is about to die and he knows that after his death the people he has nurtured and cajoled, rebuked, and interceded for will serve other gods and thus incur the wrath of God as well as all of the curses He has described. We enter where we left off last week, the vows just having been renewed, Moses delivers his last set of instructions to the Joshua Generation Bride:  Continue reading Nitzavim – You are Standing Vayelech – He Went