Category: Weekly Torah Portion Reading

Dr Hollisa Alewine – Leading the Flock Pt 1 (Chayei Sarah)

One of the most distressing…if not THE most distressing thing…about learning Torah within a community is that it too frequently leads to learning Torah outside a community. In our livestream on Shabbat, I plan to present a simple overview of leadership principles that may help you whether you are a congregational leader, home fellowship leader, family leader, or just want to learn how to be a good follower.

Those community principles are often challenged because we don’t have good study tools in our toolbox, and without them, we can adopt all kinds of variations of understanding and practice from a single commandment. Those variations become divisive when it affects what the community can observe together.

In this week’s newsletter, I’d like to pass on to you what I spent lots of time and money learning in college. No charge! It can be of tremendous help when navigating through divergent understandings of Scripture. If we understand the difference between meaning and significance, it could squash a lot of arguments over what a Scripture means, especially when we look as smug as our friend up there when we’re convinced we found THE explanation instead of ONE explanation.

For instance, over the last couple of years, we’ve been studying the Song of Songs. It is a parable, poetry, song, commentary, elucidation of Torah, and prophecy, so it is rich in symbolism, and we’ve enjoyed deriving lots of interpretations of each verse’s significance based on passages with similar context and even Hebrew wordplay. When one encounters Biblical symbolism, it is important to remember:

When parsing a passage of Scripture, the application of wordplay should not derive a new meaning even though a new significance is expected.

Let’s review these two principles of hermeneutics and the definition of hermeneutics.

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 47 – (Slaughtered Gold)

“A canopy (apiron) has King Solomon made for Him, from the wood of Lebanon. Its pillars he made of silver; its covering was gold, its seat was purple wool, its inner side was decked with love by the daughters of Jerusalem.” (So 3:9-10)

This week, we continue from last week’s lesson on the chariot of King Solomon. If you didn’t have a chance to read it or print it, click here. We’ll weave in a couple of themes from this week’s Torah portion, Vayera, particularly the second time Avraham calls Sarah his sister and the binding of Isaac on Mount Moriah.

Vayera “and appeared”
Genesis 18:1-22:24
2 Kings 4:1-37

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 46 – (Chariots of Fire Pt 2)

There is an old parable of the king’s daughter that explains some points of the developing relationship between the King and His daughter, Israel, from the time He removes her from Egypt to the time He brings her across the Jordan into her inheritance. (Midrash to Shir HaShirim 3§15)

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 45 – (Time Travel in the Footsteps of Messiah Pt 2 & Chariots of Fire)

If the picture of Israel coming up from the wilderness to cross into her inheritance is of the tribes, then those tribes are guarded and surrounded by those among them who can expertly wield the Word of Adonai, full of the Spirit and flowing with its Rivers as promised by Yeshua during the Feast of Sukkot (Jn 7:38). Even in the “terrors of the night,” the exile, these warriors commit themselves to protecting against the flood of evil that threatens the holiness of the House of Israel.

“The sixty mighty men-these are the sixty myriads (600,000) that came out of Egypt from the age of twenty years and above/below.” 3§14

“Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.” (Ex 12:37)

“But Moses said, “The people, among whom I am, are 600,000 on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, so that they may eat for a whole month.’” (Nu 11:21)

“…even all the numbered men were 603,550.” (Nu 1:46)

“…a beka a head (that is, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary), for each one who passed over to those who were numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men.” (Ex 38:26)

Why the disparity in the Midrash? Is it sixty myriads of mighty men above the age of 20 or below?

The Midrash points back to the exact wording of the text from Song of Songs 3:7:

“…sixty warriors around it, of the warriors of Israel.”

?????? ???????? ?????????????? ????????? ?????????? ?????? ???? ??????????? ???????????

The repetition in the verse describes sixty warriors from the warriors of Israel. The Hebrew preposition and prefix mem is read as “from,” so “from the mighty warriors of Israel.”

If there were sixty myriads in the wilderness 1) at the time of the Exodus, then the prophetic implication is that at the time of 2) the greater Exodus, there will be sixty myriads of mighty warriors descended from the original sixty myriads of the twelve tribes. As the verse could also describe 600,000 immediate descendants under the age of twenty, children from the original 600,000, so it could describe descendants of Abraham and Jacob who would also become sixty myriads of mighty warriors surrounding those traveling to the Promised Land.

“I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. Just as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord GOD…and I will purge from you the rebels and those who revolt against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they reside, but they will not enter the land of Israel. So you will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezek 20:34-36; 38)

Although many have been instructed in the Word, a day of judgment is coming for mankind. Either we will accept the measures of the Word in the wilderness of the peoples, or we will rebel against them, just as many Israelites did in the wilderness. Those who “come up” from the wilderness to reign with King Messiah will be those who accept the Word and agree to remediate any misunderstandings or gaps in understanding so that they may be faithful judges with King Messiah. From the Creation, the appointed times were set as measures of iron so that mankind could thrive on earth.

This helps us to draw an inference pertaining to the Creation Week.

On the First Day, Light was separated from darkness, and the earth had light, but not dependent upon sun or moon. Plants grew in the Light on the Third Day. In Revelation, plants once again grow in this supernal Light. (Re 21:23-26; 22:2; Ezek 47:12)

On the Fourth Day, the sun, moon, planets, and stars were put in place “for the sake of the moedim.” This proto-prophecy alerts us to the fact that there would be exiles of the night in which we would no longer spiritually discern the appointed times as in the Kingdom of Heaven, but would instead depend upon signs in the night. The shomrim (guards of the Torah and especially Shabbat) and sovevim (night watchmen) know the night watches.

This significant day of Creation was emplaced within a Creation that already had Light!

In CG Workbook One, you learned of the play-on word of moed, “from eternity.”

The moedim are spiritually-discerned times, discernible from the Beginning, and discernible at the End, without the need of the natural substance of the heavenly bodies.

Although they were put as signs in the heavens, placing too much emphasis on the minutiae could lead one to forget that strife over such things may lead him/her AWAY from the goal of developing the spiritual perception of what time and times actually are: openings for obedience that stands eternally. In the reign of King Messiah Yeshua, mankind will regain the wisdom of the stork, who knows her “moed.”

Even the stork in the sky knows her seasons [???????????]; and the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane keep to the time of their migration; but My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. (Je 8:7)

What we learn of the moedim in natural time, we simply transfer into the realm of supernatural time, which does not depend upon the physical signs of sun, moon, or stars. It is spiritually discerned:

I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Re 21:22-27)

There will be no “night” there, which means the inhabitants are no longer subject to the nights of exile from the Holy City Jerusalem.

And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illuminate them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Re 22:1-5)

The fruit will still be borne according to “time,” the months, yet a perception of the month beyond the physical world is granted to those who eat of the tree of life and are healed by it.

So is the Torah a Tree of Life or a Sword? Is the Word a rod of iron or an ageless support of Truth?


It’s never been a matter of whether the Torah was life and instructions in godliness. It’s only ever been a matter of how mankind perceived its seasons and brought forth its fruits. As we come up from the wilderness of the peoples, we travel in Clouds of Glory, or as the rabbis call them, Sukkot of Glory. We learn the Torah of Moses. We bring forth fruit with the Spirit promised by Yeshua at Sukkot. We aren’t just marking time in the wilderness of the peoples; we are dwelling in Sukkot, a privilege we celebrate as the seventh moed, a number of completeness.

Each Sukkot, the ushpizin, or Seven Shepherds and the Eighth Prince ask, “How have you dwelled in Sukkot of Glory?” Have you dwelled in what masquerades as reality, the natural world, or have you dwelled in the Spirit of Glory, using the natural world as a mere vessel and glimpse of that Kingdom for which you prepare each day?

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 44 – (Time Travel in the Footsteps of Messiah Pt 1)

Are you a beginner to the feast?

Are you “seasoned” in the feast?

Did you literally travel to Jerusalem, or did you travel to Jerusalem in your sukkah?

Our Sukkot trip to Israel was, as usual, filled with “kisses on our cheeks” from the Holy One, especially a visit from the ushpizin! I’m sure, however, that your Sukkot was filled with joy and wonder as well, whether it was in your backyard sukkah, on the apartment balcony, or camping with like-minded believers. While I would have loved to spend an evening with each one of you during Sukkot, reflecting on how our last several newsletter lessons from the Song of Songs was preparation for our “coming up and out of the wilderness” celebration, we’ll have to settle for a review via email. Next year…in Jerusalem!

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Mark Call – Parsha “Bereshiet” teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

At the conclusion of His Fall Feasts, it’s time to turn back again to the Beginning, and the Book of Genesis, aka “Bereshiet” and the first Book AND Torah parsha in the Torah. The parsha for this week —...

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