Parasha With Passion – Torah Reading Cycle – Week # 12
This week we will conclude our study in the Book of Bereishit with the reading of Parashat Vayechi. In this week’s parashah, Joseph is reunited with his father Jacob. Jacob blesses Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob speaks prophetically over the tribes of Israel and is gathered to his father’s.
Parashat Vayechi is interpreted – “He Lived.” Jacob surely did a lot living. Jacob experienced a portal to heaven at Bethel, was escorted by angels at Mahanaim, and wrestled with God at Peniel. What a legacy!
Also, the man Israel (Jacob’s new name), is known for something greater than his personal spiritual triumphs. Jacob is the man in whom God built His nation and his people: ISRAEL.
A large portion of Parashat Vayechi involves Jacob’s prophetic utterance over the tribesof Israel. In (Deuteronomy 33:6-29), we find a similar account where Moses also speaks prophetically over the twelve tribes as they prepare to enter the Promised Land.
- Reuben, will live and not die; and his kinsmen shall not be few.
- Judah will find sufficiency with his hands. God will deliver him from his enemies.
- Levi, will observe God’s word and keep God’s covenant.
- Benjamin, will dwell in safety, for the Lord shall cover him all the day long.
- Joseph, the precious things of heaven belong to him.
- Zebulun, will rejoice, in his going out; and Issachar, in his coming in.
- Gad, is enlarged with increase and is awesome in battle – executing justice and righteousness.
- Dan, is a lion’s whelp.
- Naphtali, is satisfied with favor.
- Asher, is acceptable to his brethren, his feet is dipped in oil. His shoes are iron and brass. He treads down the high places.
What Does Authenticity Look Like?
In (Deuteronomy 33:6-29), each tribe brought something unique and beautiful to the nation of Israel. Each tribe had their own BANNER – their own UNIQUENESS – their own AUTHENTICITY. They were TWELVE TRIBES – ONE NATION.
God created us with a need to BELONG to something or someone. As believers, that need is fulfilled in God! God loves RELATIONSHIPS. God loves COMMUNITY. Living in community with one another is a Kingdom principle!
Just like in any family, when we BELONG to one another, we can freely be our authentic selves.
As a Gentile believer in a Messianic community, I immediately fell in love with all things Jewish. In the beginning, I made an earnest attempt to assimilate solely with a Messianic Jewishidentity. Over the years, I learned to embrace Messianic Judaism as an African-American woman who also embraces the rich beauty of my own culture. As a daughter of Zion, I bring to the community a little bit of SOUL, a lot of passion, and my own unique style.
Now I am speaking to the Messianic Gentiles among us; when we perceive that being Jewish is more important than our own culture, we place upon ourselves a false sense of inferiority. When we esteem the Ashkenazi or Sephardic cultures more valuable than who God created us to be, we place upon that coveted culture a false sense of superiority.
It is our duty and our obligation to embrace Messianic Judaism in the culture in which we belong. Just as the twelve tribes of Israel were unique and purposeful, so are WE! Ethnicity is God’s creativity. To those of us who are called to Messianic Judaism, the beauty is that God calls us from the nations. From every tribe and tongue. Jewish and Gentile.
Finding Our Balance – Finding Our Place
When we are in COMMUNITY with ONE ANOTHER, we are not only ACCEPTED, we are CHERISHED.
Over the years, God taught me how to embrace Messianic Judaism as an African-American woman who still loves the soulful gospel hymns that carried my people through the good times and the bad. I learned to embrace Messianic Judaism as one who has beautiful and deep roots in the Church. God saved me in the Church. God delivered me in the Church. I spent decades being strengthened and built-up in the Church.
The beauty of Messianic Judaism is that we are bridge builders between the Church and the Jewish community. We must stand in the gap for both. God loves the Church. God will perfect His Church. There are rivers of Gods glory flowing throughout the Kingdom. The gospel message is being preached and souls are being saved. As Messianic Believers, we must embrace the Jewish community and the Church; in doing so, we will keep abreast of what God is doing throughout the Kingdom.
Jewish person: Did you know that the Church is hungry to learn from you about the Jewish Jesus? Gentile person: Did you know that Jewish people are more likely to receive the gospel from you, than from another Jewish person? We each have a role in the Kingdom.
Finding Our Place in Community Life
We all have a role in serving our community. But you say, “I just don’t fit in anywhere” Well, I am an African-American woman that has spent my life time THRIVING in places where I stand out. Over the years, I have learned that to BELONG is far better than simply “fitting in.” BELONGING encourages authenticity while “fitting in” suggests that we all have to be the same.
I found the place where I BELONG. A place that has given my soul wide expanse to GROW, UNFOLD, CHANGE, and MATURE. When you sit under GOOD TEACHING you GROW! When you BELONG you FLOURISH!
Beloveds, God created you beautiful, unique, and with eternal possibilities. You were never meant to “fit in” a tiny box. Be YOU! Do YOU! Be your AUTHENTIC self!
FULLY INVEST yourself to GODLINESS and in COMMUNITY! God has placed a gift inside of you so that you can serve our community. However, if you don’t plant yourself – you will never bloom. It’s time to BLOOM.
Torah: Genesis 47:28 – 50:26
Haftarah: 1 Kings 2:1-12
Next Torah Portion: Shemot