Portions Library

A collection of essays on the weekly Torah Portions, from Genesis to Deuteronomy, adapted from Torah Club.

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Portions Library

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Circumcise Your Hearts

Moses told the children of Israel to circumcise their hearts: "So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer." (Deuteronomy 10:16). That’s a strange image. Circumcision refers to removal of the foreskin. What does it mean to “circumcise your heart”?

Forty Years of Preparation

During the forty years that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, God provided for their every need. He fed them manna from heaven and water from a rock. Through these daily miracles, the children of Israel learned to trust in God for all their physical needs.

By Bread Alone?

A person might suppose that he subsists upon the material things necessary for sustaining human, but a simple hand-to-mouth philosophy like that reduces human existence to mere striving for food, shelter, and clothing. Moses and Yeshua explained that life is sustained primarily by what "…proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”

Self Righteousness

Moses stressed three times that “it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people” (Deuteronomy 9:6). He went on to rehearse the sin of the golden calf and the incidents in the wilderness that provoked God to anger.

Blessing God at Meals

In Christian homes, it is traditional to offer a prayer of thanksgiving before meals. This is a Christian tradition inherited from Judaism. In Judaism, it is traditional to bless God for the food He has provided prior to partaking of it. We read of Yeshua keeping this tradition several times in the Gospels. Sometimes Christians refer to this as "blessing the food," but in Judaism, the food is not blessed, God is blessed for providing the food. In any case, blessing God before meals is a precious tradition of the Master and one we would all do well to imitate.