Week Ending Saturday, September 15, 2018




Deuteronomy 31

Parashat Vayelech

Chazak! Be Courageous!

31 Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. He said to them, “I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in. Adonai has said to me, ‘You are not to cross over this Jordan.’ Adonai your God—He will cross over before you. He will destroy these nations from before you, and you will dispossess them. Joshua will cross over before you, just as Adonai has promised.

Adonai will do to them just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them. Adonai will give them over to you, and you are to do to them according to all the mitzvot that I commanded you. Chazak! Be courageous! Do not be afraid or tremble before them. For Adonai your God—He is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong! Be courageous! For you are to go with this people into the land Adonai has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you are to enable them to inherit it. Adonai—He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be discouraged.”

Public Torah Readings

Moses wrote down this Torah and gave it to the kohanim, the sons of Levi who carry the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai, and to all the elders of Israel.

10 Then Moses commanded them saying, “At the end of every seven years, in the set time of the year of cancelling debts, during the feast of Sukkot, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before Adonai your God in the place He chooses, you are to read this Torah before them in their hearing. 12 Gather the people—the men and women and little ones, and the outsider within your town gates—so they may hear and so they may learn, and they will fear Adonai your God and take care to do all the words of this Torah. 13 So their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear Adonai your God—all the days you live on the land you are about to cross over the Jordan to possess.”

14 Then Adonai said to Moses, “Behold, your time to die is near. Call Joshua, and present yourselves at the Tent of Meeting, and I will commission him.” Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the Tent of Meeting.

15 Adonai appeared in the Tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood over the opening of the Tent. 16 Adonai said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise up and prostitute themselves with the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will abandon Me and break My covenant that I cut with them. 17 Then My anger will flare against them on that day, and I will abandon them and hide My face from them. So they will be devoured, and many evils and troubles will come on them. They will say on that day, ‘Isn’t it because our God is not among us that these evils have come on us?’ 18 I will surely hide My face on that day because of all the evil they have done, for they have turned to other gods.

Moses Introduces His Song

19 “Now, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to Bnei-Yisrael—put it in their mouth, so that this song may be a witness for Me against Bnei-Yisrael.

20 “For when I bring them to the land flowing with milk and honey that I swore to their fathers, and they eat and are satisfied and grow fat—then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and they will spurn Me and break My covenant. 21 Now when many evils and troubles have come on them, this song will confront them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten from the mouth of their descendants. For I know the intention they are devising this day, even before I bring them into the land that I swore.” 22 That day Moses wrote this song and taught it to Bnei-Yisrael.

23 Then he commissioned Joshua son of Nun and said, “Chazak! Be courageous! For you will bring Bnei-Yisrael into the land I swore to them—and I will be with you.”

24 Now when Moses had finished writing the words of this Torah on a scroll, right to the end . . . 25 Moses commanded the Levites, carriers of the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai saying, 26 “Take this scroll of the Torah, and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai your God. It will remain there as a witness against you, 27 for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. Indeed, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against Adonai—how much more then after my death? 28 Gather to me all the elders of your tribes and your officials, so that I may speak these words in their ears and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after my death you will certainly act corruptly and turn aside from the way I have commanded you. So evil will fall upon you in the latter days, because you will do what is evil in the sight of Adonai, provoking Him to anger by the work of your hands.”

30 Moses spoke in the hearing of the whole community of Israel the words of this song, right to the end:

Romans 10:1-17

Misdirected Zeal

10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for Israel is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have zeal for God—but not based on knowledge. For being ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God. For Messiah is the goal[a] of the Torah as a means to righteousness for everyone who keeps trusting.

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on Torah, “The man who does these things shall live by them.” [b] But the righteousness based on faith speaks in this way:

“Do not say in your heart,[c]
‘Who will go up into heaven?’[d]
    (that is, to bring Messiah down),
or, ‘Who will go down into the abyss?’[e]
    (that is, to bring Messiah up from the dead).”

But what does it say?

“The word is near you,
    in your mouth and in your heart”[f]
—that is, the word of faith
that we are proclaiming:
For if you confess with your mouth
        that Yeshua is Lord,
and believe in your heart
        that God raised Him from the dead,
    you will be saved.
10 For with the heart it is believed for righteousness,
and with the mouth it is confessed for salvation.

11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever trusts in Him will not be put to shame.” [g] 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all—richly generous to all who call on Him. 13 For “Everyone who calls upon the name of Adonai shall be saved.”[h]

14 How then shall they call on the One in whom they have not trusted? And how shall they trust in the One they have not heard of? And how shall they hear without someone proclaiming? 15 And how shall they proclaim unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who proclaim good news of good things!” [i] 16 But not all heeded the Good News. For Isaiah says, “Adonai, who has believed our report?” [j] 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Messiah.

Acts 20-22

Escaping Death

20 After the uproar ended, Paul sent for the disciples; and when he had encouraged them and said farewell, he departed to go to Macedonia. When he had passed through these parts and given them a great word of encouragement, he came to Greece, where he spent three months. When a plot was formed against him by the Jewish leaders as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return via Macedonia. Sopater of Berea, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; as well as Aristarchus and Secundus of Thessalonica; Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. [a] These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas. But we sailed from Philippi after the Days of Matzah. In five days we came to them in Troas, where we stayed for seven days.

Now on the first day of the week, we gathered to break bread. Paul was talking with them, intending to leave the next day, so he prolonged his speech till midnight. There were many lamps in the upper chamber where we were meeting. Now a young man named Eutychus was sitting in a windowsill, sinking into a deep sleep as Paul kept on talking. Overcome by sleep, he fell from the third story and was picked up—dead.

10 But Paul went down, fell on him and threw his arms around him. He said, “Don’t be upset, for his life is within him.”[b]

11 After he went back up and broke the bread and ate, he talked with them a long while until daybreak and then left. 12 So they took the boy away alive, greatly relieved.

Prophetic Warnings

13 But we went on ahead to the ship and set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there—for so he had arranged, intending himself to travel there by land. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 Sailing from there, we arrived the next day opposite Chios; the next day we crossed over to Samos, and the day after that we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he might not spend much time in Asia, because he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Shavuot.

17 From Miletus, dispatching someone to Ephesus, he called for the elders of the community. 18 When they came to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know how I behaved among you all the time from the first day I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and tears and trials which fell upon me through the plots of the Jewish leaders. 20 I did not shrink back from proclaiming to you anything that was profitable, teaching you publicly as well as from house to house, 21 testifying to both Jewish and Greek people repentance to God and trust in our Lord Yeshua.

22 “And now, look, bound by the Ruach, I am going to Jerusalem—not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Ruach ha-Kodesh bears witness to me from city to city, saying that bondage and afflictions await me. 24 However, I don’t consider my life of any value, except that I might finish my course and the office I received from the Lord Yeshua, to declare the Good News of the grace of God.

25 “Now, look! I know that none of you, among whom I have gone proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. 26 Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all. 27 For I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

28 “Take care of yourselves and all the flock of which the Ruach ha-Kodesh has made you overseers, to shepherd the community of God—which He obtained with the blood of His own. [c] 29 I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. [d] 30 Even from among yourselves will arise men speaking perversions, to draw the disciples away after themselves. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that night and day for three years I did not stop warning you with tears.

32 “Now I commit you to God and the word of His grace, which is strong to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who have been made holy. 33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have provided for my own needs as well as for those with me. 35 In all things I have shown you an object lesson—that by hard work one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Yeshua, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”[e]

36 When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 They all began weeping and falling upon Paul’s neck and kissing him, 38 grieving most of all over the statement he made that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

Going to Jerusalem Despite Warnings

21 After tearing ourselves away from them and setting sail, we set a straight course to Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. Finding a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. When we came in sight of Cyprus, passing it by on the left, we kept sailing to Syria and landed at Tyre—for there the ship was to unload the cargo. We looked up the disciples and stayed there seven days. They kept telling Paul through the Ruach not to set foot in Jerusalem.

When our days there were over, we departed and went on our journey. They all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. After kneeling down on the shore and praying, we said farewell to one another. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned home.

When we had finished the trip from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais. We greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for one day. On the next day, we departed and came to Caesarea. We entered the home of Philip, the proclaimer of Good News, who was one of the seven, and we stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.

10 While we stayed there for a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet, and said, “The Ruach ha-Kodesh says this: ‘In this way shall the Jewish people in Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”

12 When we heard these things, both we and the local people urged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul responded, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but to die for the name of the Lord Yeshua!”

14 Since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, saying only, “May the Lord’s will be done.”

15 After these days, we packed and started going up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us, bringing us to Mnason of Cyprus—one of the early disciples by whom we might be hosted.

Advice from Jacob and the Elders

17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters welcomed us gladly. 18 On the next day, Paul went in with us to Jacob; all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he reported to them in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his service. 20 And when they heard, they began glorifying God.

They said, “You see, brother, how many myriads there are among the Jewish people who have believed—and they are all zealous for the Torah. 21 They have been told about you—that you teach all the Jewish people among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or to walk according to the customs. 22 What’s to be done then? No doubt they will hear that you have come.

23 “So do what we tell you. We have four men who have a vow on themselves. [f] 24 Take them, and purify yourself[g] along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. That way, all will realize there is nothing to the things they have been told about you, but that you yourself walk in an orderly manner, keeping the Torah.

25 “As for Gentiles who have believed, however, we have written by letter what we decided—for them to abstain from what is offered to idols, and from blood, and from what is strangled, and from immorality.”

26 The next day Paul took the men, purifying himself along with them. He went into the Temple, announcing when the days of purification would be completed and the sacrifice would be offered for each one of them.

Trouble at the Temple

27 When the seven days were about to be completed, the Jewish leaders from Asia[h] saw Paul in the Temple and began stirring up the whole crowd. They grabbed him, 28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching all men everywhere against our people and the Torah and this place. Besides, he has even brought Greeks into the Temple and defiled[i] this holy place!”

29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they assumed that Paul had brought him into the Temple. 30 The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the Temple, and the gates were shut at once.

31 As they were trying to kill him, news came to the commander of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in chaos. 32 Immediately he took soldiers and centurions and rushed down to them. Upon seeing the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander came up, arrested Paul, ordered him to be bound with two chains, and began investigating what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing, and some another. As he could not determine the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into headquarters.

35 When he came to the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd. 36 For the multitude of people that followed kept shouting, “Away with him!”

37 As Paul was about to be brought into the headquarters, he said to the commander, “Can I say something to you?”

The commander said, “You know Greek? 38 Then you’re not the Egyptian who stirred up a rebellion some time ago—and led four thousand men of the Assassins out into the desert?”

39 Paul said, “I am a Jewish man from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, let me speak to the people.”

40 When the commander had given him permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the people with his hand. When there was a great hush, he spoke to them in Aramaic,[j] saying:

Paul’s Testimony on the Temple Stairs

22 “Brothers and fathers, listen to my defense which I now present to you.” When they heard that Paul was addressing them in Aramaic, they became even more quiet. Then he said, “I am a Jewish man, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, trained strictly according to the Torah of our fathers, being zealous for God just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prisons— as the kohen gadol and all the council of elders can testify about me. I also received letters from them to the brothers, and I went to Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem even those who were there in chains—to be punished.

“But it happened that as I was traveling and drawing near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly flashed all around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’

“I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“He said to me, ‘I am Yeshua ha-Natzrati, whom you are persecuting.’

“Now those who were with me saw the light, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. 10 So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’

“And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up, and go to Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been appointed to do.’

11 “But since I could not see because of the brilliance of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus. 12 Then a certain Ananias—a devout man according to the Torah, well spoken of by all the Jewish people living there— 13 came to me. Standing before me, he said to me, ‘Brother Saul, look up!’ In that very moment, I looked and saw him!

14 “And he said, ‘The God of our fathers handpicked you to know His will—to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 15 For you will be a witness for Him to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 Now why are you waiting? Get up and be immersed, and wash away your sins, calling on His Name.’

17 “It happened that when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the Temple, I fell into a trance; 18 and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Hurry! Get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your witness about Me.’

19 “And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another, I was imprisoning and beating those trusting in You. 20 Even when the blood of Your witness Stephen was spilled, I too was standing by and approving, and guarding the clothing of those who were killing him.’

21 “And he said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

22 Up to this statement they listened to him. Then they raised their voices, saying, “Away from the earth with this fellow! For he’s not fit to live!”

The Romans Intervene

23 As they were crying out and flinging off their cloaks and throwing dust into the air, [k] 24 the commander ordered Paul to be brought into headquarters. He said Paul should be examined by lashing, so that he might find out why they were shouting against him so. 25 But when they stretched him out with straps, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen without due process?”

26 Now when the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it, saying, “What are you going to do? For this man is Roman.”

27 The commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you Roman?”

And he said, “Yes.”

28 The commander answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.”

Paul said, “But I was born so.”

29 Therefore, those who were about to interrogate him instantly drew back from him. And the commander also was afraid when he found out that Paul was a Roman and that he had bound him.

Delivered to the Council

30 But on the next day, desiring to know exactly why Paul had been accused by the Judeans, he released him and commanded the ruling kohanim and all the Sanhedrin to meet together. And he brought Paul and set him before them.