Song of Peace
This week’s Torah portion is called “Mishpatim” meaning “Laws or Ordinances” given to the Israelites.* They include laws governing lost property, holidays, damages, holidays and indentured servants to name a few. These civil laws enabled the Israelites to learn to live as free people in a just society. All they had known was slavery.
The main purpose of these laws was to bring the spirit of the Ten Commandments into everyday life. How would they be applied in situations that would arise? the basis of many of these laws can be found in our legal system. For example, the person who caused harm, injury or death to the person or property of another, faced a considerable range of consequences depending on whether it was an intentional act or of negligence.
Following these laws was considered to be a contractual agreement between G-D and the nation of Israel. There was always the reminder: “You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep [his laws]” (Deut. 5:15).”
The laws were meant to develop compassion within the people. For example, “The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt (Lev. 19:33-34).”
The Zohar, considered to be the bible of Kabbalistic mysticism, explains these are cosmic laws. In the journey of our souls we understand that in no longer being ruled by Egypt, the place of the ego, we now live in a higher state which requires a different operating system. These laws, so revolutionary for their time, are meant to bring holiness to the mundane, to bring us to the spiritual realm of the Divine in every aspect of our lives.
By tapping into or aligning with the energy of Mishpatim we can receive help to more fully bring the intention of these laws into our daily lives.
* Every week a section of the Torah is read throughout the week. There are always many levels of understanding with each week's portion. The Torah portions also have energies that can be utilized to help us navigate though our daily lives not only during the week the specific portion is read but any time it is needed.
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This week’s Torah portion is called “Yitro” * which is the name of Moses’ father-in law. Yitro tells Moses he cannot do everything himself and advises him to set up judges to help govern the people.
It is now three months since the Israelites have left Egypt. They gather around Mt. Sinai to receive G-D’s instructions. They learn that if they follow G-D, they will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The people reply they will do all that is asked of them. They prepare now for three days to receive further instructions. Amidst smoke, flames, sounds and shaking from the mountain, the people hear the words of the Ten Commandments.
In the deeper meaning of our soul’s journey, the ten commandments guide us in how to manifest our inner G-dliness into the physical world. In the 1st through 5th commandments we further develop our relationship with G-D which is one of unity. In the 6th through 10th commandments, we come to realize that any harm done to another is harm to ourselves as this unity also extends to others.
I AM Adonai, who brought you out of Egypt (the restricted places) This relates to the state of beingness, of sacred unity, oneness.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. This relates to finding the Divine within ourselves rather than worshiping outside of ourselves.
Thou shalt not take the name of G-D in vain. This relates to how our words are used as they have the power of creation. Are they words aligned with the higher parts of ourselves or from the lower?
Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy. This is reminding us to honor ourselves and G-D by taking time to restore our spirit.
Honor thy father and mother . This is having a balance of the divine feminine and masculine parts of ourselves.
Thou shalt not kill. This refers to the parts of ourselves we want to disregard instead of forgiving and accepting ourselves in order to evolve.
Thou shalt not commit adultery This is being faithful to our higher spiritual guidance.
Thou shalt not steal. This is about having respect for our inner selves that we are complete.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. This is accepting the truth of our divine nature.
Thou shalt not covet (be jealous of) anything your neighbor has. This is knowing we can create what we desire when it is for the highest good.
By tapping into or aligning with the energy of Yitro we can receive help to bring the Ten Commandments more fully into our daily lives.
This week’s Torah portion is called “Beshallach” (Leave) where we follow the Israelites as they leave Egypt and cross the sea into freedom. * An Angel leads them with a fire at night and a cloud during the day to reach the Sea of Reeds. G-D tells Moses that Pharaoh will chase after them but G-D will be victorious. However, as the soldiers approach, the people are frightened and cry out that it was better to be a slave than to be slaughtered in the desert by Pharaoh's army. G-D says, “Why are you crying to me?” He instructs Moses to tell the people to begin moving and then hold up his rod to split the sea.
The angel moves behind the Israelites. The cloud keeps the Egyptians from coming closer. Throughout the night the winds blow creating a wall of water on each side of a dry path. In the morning they cross the sea with the Egyptians chasing them. However, the Egyptians panic when their chariots get stuck in the mud, unable to move and begin to pile on top of each other. When the Israelites get to the other side Moses lifts up his rod again. The wall of water collapses and the pharaoh's army drowns.
With the deeper meaning of this portion, we learn that as partners with G-D we have been given the power to create miracles. It is just a matter of moving forward and “lifting our rods.”
This week’s Torah portion* of Jan. 23, 2023 is called “Bo” (Come to Pharaoh) and talks about the last three of the ten plagues inflicted on Egypt of locusts, darkness and the death of the first born. Pharaoh tries to negotiate with Moses offering to let the men only go free but this is rejected. Later he offers to let everyone go including the children but not the sheep and cattle which is again rejected. After Pharaoh loses his first born son, he tells Moses to leave with everyone and also to bless him. The Israelites leave in great haste.
With the inner meaning of this portion, we continue to see the journey of the ego represented by Pharaoh and spirit/soul represented by the Israelites. With the final plague, Pharaoh realizes he cannot rule over G-d and the higher consciousness.
The title “Bo” is often translated as “Go” or “Go to Pharaoh” but the Hebrew is actually “Come to Pharaoh” indicating that G-d is beckoning to us through the ego. By journeying through the lower densities we reach G-d where the Divine Aspect of us is in charge and guides our lives, bringing us true freedom.
By aligning with or tapping into the energy of Bo, we can receive guidance as we progress through our spiritual journeys.
This portion of Bo is what we will be focusing on during the first day of our upcoming workshop this weekend as we delve much deeper into the portion to utilize our own personal Moses, Pharaoh, Egypt and Burning Bush to spiritually heal and bring all aspects of ourselves in the higher states of freedom.
Please join us - you will gain a totally new understanding of the Torah and Exodus story with yours truly!
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This week’s Torah portion beginning Jan. 15, 2023 is called Vaera (“I Appeared”) and is the second reading in the Book of Exodus.* G-d tells Moses that he appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with a different name, El Shaddai. He is appearing now as Yud, Hay, Vav, Hay and promises to bring the Israelites out of slavery to the Promised Land with might and miracles. The slaves do not believe him.
Moses and his brother Aaron go to Pharaoh who still refuses to let the slaves go. The first 7 of 10 plagues are brought to Egypt of water turning to blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, cattle disease, boils and hail. Each time Pharaoh says he will allow the slaves to leave but then changes his mind.
With this portion, the ongoing conflict with the ego and spirit ensues which Pharaoh and the Israelites represent. However with G-d revealing himself in a different manner than he did with Abraham, the Israelites now have the opportunity to also reveal themselves in a different manner with a higher consciousness and hold steadfast through this conflict.
By aligning with or tapping into the energy of Vaera, we can receive help to see from a higher perspective when plagued by inner and outer forces.
This week’s Torah portion of Jan. 8, 2022 is called Shemot, “Names” and is the first reading in the Book of Exodus.* It begins by listing the names of the Israelites who came to live in Egypt during the time of Joseph.
It is now two hundred years later. A new Pharaoh enslaves the Israelites in Egypt and sets laws to have the baby boys drowned in the Nile River. The famous story of Moses is told. When born he is placed in a basket in the water to save his life, then found by Pharaoh's daughter and adopted into their household.
As an adult Moses kills an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a slave and escapes to the desert. Many years later he communicates with G-d through a burning bush. He goes back to Egypt to demand that Pharaoh lets the Israelite slaves go.
The ongoing story of Moses and Exodus is actually read in the Torah over a period of six weeks and is a time of conflict between Pharaoh who represents our ego and materialistic desires and our Soul and spirit which is represented by the Israelites.
This very conflict gives us the opportunity to achieve spiritual growth by choosing to love our fellow man which liberates our spirit.
By tapping into or aligning with the energy of Shemot we can receive help to release our spirit from bondage and experience the freedom of a state of inner peace.
This week’s Torah portion Jan.1, 2023 is called Vayechi (“He Lived”) and is the final Torah portion in the Book of Genesis. *
Jacob who moved to Egypt 17 years earlier is now making preparations for his death. He tells his son, Joseph, to bury him with his forefathers in the Cave of Machpelah in the city of Bet Lechem. He gives individual blessings to each of his 12 sons as well as Joseph’s two sons.
Although we all have a primary Divine path in life which each of the blessings represents, the 12 sons also represent different archetypes that we carry within us and which need to come into harmony.
Twelve sons and Paths
Reuben – path of creation energy
Simeon – path of ambitious aggression
Levi – path of divine service
Judah – path of selflessness
Dan – path of law and order
Naphtali – path of free spirit
Gad – path of warrior
Asher – path of abundance
Issachar – path of scholar
Zebulun – path of merchant
Joseph – path of challenges
Menashe – path of spiritual connection
Ephraim – path of transformation
Benjamin – path of elevating Divine sparks
By aligning with or connecting to the energy of Vayechi we can receive help to bring these aspects within us into balance.
Every week in Judaism a section of the Torah, (the Old Testament) is read throughout the week. There are always many levels of understanding with each week's portion. The Torah portions also have energies that can be utilized to help us navigate though our daily lives not only during the week the specific portion is read but any time it is needed.
This week’s Torah portion Dec. 25, 2022 is called Vayigash (“He Approached”) . Judah approaches Joseph, second to Pharaoh, and pleads with him to not keep his youngest brother, Benjamin, as a prisoner. Judah and the rest of his brothers still don’t recognize Joseph whom they sold as a slave to Egypt 22 years earlier.
Judah explains that if Benjamin doesn’t return home, his father will die from sorrow. He already lost one son, Joseph. Judah pleads with Joseph to take him instead.
Joseph cannot control himself anymore and goes into another room to cry. He comes out and reveals himself to his brothers who are shocked and in a state of fear of what will now happen.
Joseph assures them that being sold as a slave was G-d’s will. It enabled him to save his family from starvation. (This is the second time the brothers have traveled to Egypt to purchase food during the famine.)
This gives the brothers a different perspective and they are able to come to terms with what they did to Joseph 22 years earlier. There is forgiveness on both sides.
Again there is this theme of forgiveness and reconciliation of brothers in the Torah. In going deeper, the twelve brothers represent different aspects of ourselves. Joseph represents achieving greatness through his many challenges. He helps us look at the Divine orchestration in our own lives.
By tapping into or aligning with the energy of Vayigash we can receive help to see from a higher perspective as we go through our own challenges enabling us more easily navigate through such times.
This week’s Torah portion is called “Miketz” “at the end.” *
After being called from prison to interpret Pharaoh's two bizarre dreams, Joseph foretells there will be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine and advises Pharaoh how to prepare for the years of famine. Recognizing his wisdom, Pharaoh makes Joseph second to the throne.
When the years of famine arrive, Joseph's brothers travel to Egypt to buy food. While he recognizes them, the brothers do not recognize Joseph. A powerful inner conflict ensues within Joseph as he revisits the maltreatment he experienced at their hands when he was sold as a slave to Egypt.
He accuses them of being spies and insists one brother, Simeon, is to be kept ransom and the youngest brother, Benjamin, must be brought back.
The brothers return with the youngest brother, Benjamin, but again Joseph treats them harshly. The brothers speak among themselves that they are being punished by G-d because of their treatment of Joseph so many years earlier. They don’t realize Joseph can understand them.
The Torah portion ends with Joseph insisting Benjamin must stay behind as a slave.
We see in this story how Joseph being brought to Egypt is in Divine order. As a result he is not only able to help his family during the famine but also Egypt and the surrounding areas.
As we delve into the deeper meaning of this story we see that Joseph must deal with all of his emotions from his past. He has moments of sobbing mixed with anger and rage. The brothers must also come to terms with their past maltreatment of Joseph.
On our soul’s journey to reach the higher realms we must also come to terms with our past actions that harmed others and ourselves as well as actions from others that have harmed us.
By aligning with or tapping into the energy of Miketz, we can receive help to deal with the emotions that arise revisiting these times.
It is interesting that Miketz is usually during Chanukah when we not also revisit the past to remember the miracles of that time but to connect to the Divine Help that was given to us then and is available to us today.
I always love it when Christmas and Hanukkah overlap! Tonight at sundown begins the first night of Hanukkah and the 8th night, when all the candles are lit, is on Christmas!
There is a beautiful ritual when lighting the candles each night, that we stare at the flames to access the energy of miracles. For that is really what Hanukkah is all about, miracles.
The first miracle during the historical event was that we got back our Temple in Jerusalem against all odds. The second miracle was that the oil used to light G-d’s lamp, which always needed to stay lit, lasted for eight days when there was only enough oil for one day.
When we light the candles during Hanukkah, we are actually crossing timelines to receive the Divine energy that created those miracles.
The energy increases each night so with the highest point on Christmas this year, what a profound message that this is going to be an amazing year of miracles! Miracles in our individual lives and miracles for us as a collective!
The Council of Love is always telling us that WE are the miracles! As we come together during this Season of Light, no matter how we celebrate, let us remember that we truly are!
And that together, yes, we can create a World of Peace and Love!
Love, Cantor Lee
Want to access the miracle energy but you don't celebrate Hanukkah? Just light one or more candles and set the intention as you stare at the flames. It is for everyone!
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