For more than two thousand years, the entire Jewish community all around the world has focused on the same part of the Scriptures each week called (in English) the Torah portion. Except during Hebraic holy days, the weekly Torah portion is featured in the synagogue (house of study) every Shabbat.
Typically, the Torah is divided into 54 portions so that the Torah is entirely cycled through once each year. It is a long-standing and fascinating tradition that has kept the entire Israelite community unified in a special way, wherever they might be, for thousands of years.
There is also a Triennial reading cycle which divides the Torah into thirds, and then into smaller portions so that cycling through the entire Torah requires three consecutive years. Instituted during the 19th century, the triennial cycle allows more in-depth focus on smaller sections of Scripture than the traditional annual cycle.
Traditionally, in many synagogues, a Torah scroll is ceremonially removed from the ark (a dedicated cabinet) and is opened to the weekly portion from which a segment is read. At ARIEL, the ark is opened with a traditional Torah blessing, but not often removed, and a selected highlight of the weekly portion is read from an English translation. Afterwards, the ark containing the Torah is respectfully closed as another traditional blessing is said.
The Torah portions at ARIEL are also recorded each week and posted here online. Enjoy!
R. Paul Falk speaks on the various offerings outlined in the Torah portion, Va’yikra, with some fresh perspectives on this ancient practice that are not only relevant for today, but for the future and for all of eternity.
Patrick Shannon shares an interesting perspective on the last Torah portion of Exodus, Pekudei, in which Yah inhabits the new Tabernacle. He presents his study from all of the passages in which “the cloud and the glory” appeared which give us a better understanding of our Creator’s glory.
Rick Ortiz shares from the Torah portion, Vayakhel, about the the materials used in the building of the tabernacle and the significance of each with regard to what was built from them.
Chris Shannon shares from the Torah portion KiTisa about two opposed forces in the world: YHVH and the Tree of Life, versus the ancient tree of pagan gods which are surprisingly still worshipped today, and right around us.
After clicking the PLAY button below, you can click here to follow along with the slides, or watch the entire service online.
Patrick Shannon shares from the Torah portion, Terumah, that the specific instructions to build the Tabernacle in the wilderness have a second layer of meaning regarding how we, the spiritual temple are to be built.
Rick Ortiz outlines the Torah portion, Mishpatim, and focuses on how and why we are to treat strangers, or sojourners, as natives like ourselves, based on Exodus 23:9. As a “mixed multitude” came out of Egypt with the nation of Israel, so there is also a mixed multitude today.
Starting from Torah portion Bo, Patrick Shannon explains the Torah calendar including when to watch for the sighting of the new moon and how the 13th month of the Hebrew year is determined.
R. Paul Falk lays out one of the most thorough comparisons yet between the plagues in Exodus and parallel events in the Revelation to John, filling in a lot of holes in the predictions of what and how the end times prophecies will be fulfilled.
Click the PLAY button below to listen.
Or, despite some technical setbacks, you can also watch a good portion of the service here online.
Chris Shannon draws parallels between Moses and Gideon who were both used mightily by YHVH to do miraculous works, and yet both showed indications of fear, doubt, and pride.
Rick Ortiz addresses questions from the weekly Torah portion highlighting Jacob’s choosing of Ephraim to receive the rights of his firstborn son and shows this pattern of replacing the firstborn in other places throughout the scriptures.