Monday, October 31, 2016

From the beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.   ---Genesis 1:1

In the fall (autumn) in some places the clocks are turned back this time of year for daylight savings time.  I just saw that in Israel this is done too, and it became one hour earlier just last night!

In the cycle of God`s calendar, it is the time of the year where we roll back the Torah.   Time to begin reading and study again from the beginning.

Like many of my posts this one also expresses something I am learning and doing for the very first time, as this fist year of celebrating the Fall Feasts*  in my life in Japan continues!  

As a child, even though I was raised Jewish and went to synagogue year after year for the holidays and attended Hebrew school,  I never  understood anything about the ongoing and repeating cycle of the Torah readings.   

The Torah is read in portions each week for one year from Genesis to Deuteronomy.  Then at the last of the Fall Feasts, Simchat Torah,  we read the last Torah portion, then proceed immediately to the first chapter of Genesis, reminding us that the Torah is a circle, and never ends.   On Simchat Torah there is rejoicing with the Torah, and a celebration of getting all the way to the end.  In the congregation people even dance with the Torah, though I am not sure if that was done in our Long Island reform congregation where I attended! 
It was done in Japan though!!

Then the Torah is scrolled all the way back to the beginning!

The first Parsha, or Torah Portion, is from Genesis, which is called Breisheet in Hebrew.  Creation.  As I was flying over water on the way to Tokyo to celebrate Shemini Atzerat just before Simchat Torah,  I was looking out the window the whole plane ride.  I sensed God wanted me to see the expanse in the midst of the water, and the way He separated the waters when he formed and named the sea and sky.  Connecting back to that second day of creation...

Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the water!  Let it be for separating water from water."   So God made the expanse and it separated the water that was below the expanse from the water that was over the expanse.  And it happened so. God called the expanse "sky."   --Genesis 1:6~8

I looked down at God`s creation in awe of the way the sky and the water really are separated and the clouds even float on that line of separation.  Those thousands of years ago felt close as I was filled with a giddy excitement of this Torah cycle approaching and starting anew from the beginning.  In His creation, in Genesis.  

Then on what would be the third day He said let the water below the sky be gathered together in one place and let the dry ground appear.  And it happened so. (from Genesis 1:9). 

I watched the shapes of the islands and thought of how our island nation of Japan is one of the nations who wait in anticipation for His Torah. 

The islands will wait for His Torah.   ---Isaiah 42:4

I watched the shorelines in awe of how exactly the shapes are drawn, and how the water line is clearly calculated so the water stops when it reaches the land.

when I said, 'This far you may come, but no further'
here your majestic waves will stop. '   ---Job 38:11 

Turning back the Torah doesn`t turn back time but it reminds us of the precision and plans of our Precise Creator and how everything is divided and separated, formed and calibrated on His ...Torah time!!  God`s time.  When we are all in sync with His time, agreeing to His purposes, reading the same passages and celebrating His appointed days as He commands us to do, something clicks like those calibrated wheels that you see when you look into a time piece.  As we gear up for the new year of the Parashiot, it is like  getting synchronized on the circle that goes back to creation and forward to His coming!

If, like me, you have never read the Torah on a yearly cycle, this could be the perfect time to start!! This will also be my first time to start from the beginning, as the past year I joined in sometime around the Passover and it was already well into the Exodus.  I hope this post might inspire you to start this cycle and study together!

This weeks reading was Breisheet.  The coming Shabbat will be Noach from the story of Noah.  You can click on here  to get the listing of the Parshiot for 2016-2017.  In each set of readings we see how the prophecies from the Old Testament are fulfilled in the coming of Yeshua as we read and study the portions from the Torah, Haftorah, and including readings from the Brit Chadashah (The Good News, or New Testament). 

(then He, Yeshua said...)
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.                                                            ---Revelation 22:13

 May God look upon us from the heavens and see us returning to His Torah!! May he be pleased with us and say like He did at the time of creation when there was a separation between water and water, and when there was not yet a separation between people and God, and He said at the end of the each day, `it is good.`!!

So God saw everything that He made, and behold it was very good.     ---Genesis 1:31

Note:  all the photos in this post I took from the airplane from Oita to Tokyo In two trips over the Succot and Shemeni Atzeret holidays.

Note:  If you are interested to read more about this Torah portion from Genesis,  you can find many drash, or sermons about it if you look it up.  I will share one link below from a blog I came across, it looks at the Hebrew letter Beit that begins the Breisheet and first line of Genesis from a Messianic perspective.  The writer  explains how the first letter means house, and then goes on to connect it with Yeshua and our dwelling with Him from the very beginning.  I provided the link to that article below.  Or enjoy looking for other talks on the text as you begin the year of Torah Study from the beginning! Shalom and Enjoy!:

Note:  Until my eyes were opened to the truth of Yeshua, I always knew the Fall Feasts as the `Jewish` holidays, but important note:  they are not only for Jewish people but for all God`s children!! they are for all who call upon His name, all who call upon His name in truth, both in the natural and the grafted in, we are all brothers and sisters in Yeshua!!  Yeshua came to reconcile the Jew and Gentile in Himself.  It is  beautiful to see that living truth  in a messianic congregation, where Jewish and Gentile believers  worship, read Torah, and celebrate the feasts together!!

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