Elul 20, 5761 / Sept 8, 2001
Elul 18, 5764 / Sept 4, 2004
Elul 18, 5767 / Sept 1, 2007
Elul 18, 5770 / Aug 28, 2010
Elul 18, 5773 / Aug 24, 2013
Elul 21, 5776 / Sept 24, 2016
Vayizra Yitschak / And Issac sowed
SCRIPTURES should be read first
Isaac stayed in the Promised
Land, and “kept the garden.” He faithfully fulfilled his
priesthood, so that others knew of Yahweh through him. God
made him great, even in the eyes of other nations. It is the
man Isaac, not the land or crops, with whom the blessing is
In a relatively unfertile
area, and in an unfavorable year for agriculture, he reaped
an hundredfold. “A blessing is not found in that which is
weighed, measured, or counted” (Bava Metzia 42a), but it was
estimated on account of tithes.
(V. 13) “The man became rich,
and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy” –
God adding as Isaac showed he could properly handle
increased wealth. Isaac’s wealth became so great that, (a
Midrash says) the Philistines declared, “Rather the manure
of Isaac’s mules than Abimelech’s gold.” [James 5:3 – Your
gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a
witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire.
It is for the last days that you have stored up your
The Philistines, in their
jealousy, filled up the wells that Avraham had dug; thus
they broke the covenant they had made with Avraham (v.
21:27). Isaac redug the wells, and gave them the same names
that his father had given them. In God’s purpose, the wells
provided water for Avraham, but not for the jealous
Philistines, and then again for Isaac. The next wells, for
which the Philistines fought, he named “Esek,” meaning
protest, and “Sitnah” (related to “satan”) meaning enmity;
Isaac left the area after this contest. He dug another well,
calling it “Rechovot” – spaciousness, saying “At last Yahweh
has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
The first well, Esek, is seen
to represent the First Temple, which signifies contention
with the nations who finally destroyed it. The second well,
Sitnah, is seen to represent the Second Temple, with the
greater enmity of the nations that destroyed it and sent
Israel into exile. The third well, Rechovot, is seen to
represent the Third Temple, which will be free of
contention; God will enlarge our borders, and we will be
fruitful in the land.
Out of fear, Isaac went up to
the more central part of the Promised Land, Beer Sheba,
where he was born, and where Avraham had made the covenant
with Abimelech. There God appeared to him, saying, “I am the
God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you.
I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, for the
sake of My servant Abraham.” Around Gerar, after Isaac moved
away, “the wells dried up and the trees bore no fruit” (Targum
Yonasan), so Abimelech came to Isaac, recognizing that
Yahweh was with him, to reaffirm the covenant.
The theme, of
following God and then being blessed in material ways, is
exemplified by Isaac (in the Torah portion), by Moses (in
Hebrews 11, below), by the people of future Jerusalem (in
the Isaiah portion), and by David and Yeshua (in today’s
In the Torah portion, we note
that Isaac was spiritually inclined, while Esau was worldly
minded. Isaac wanted to promote worship of Yahweh (he
desired the priesthood), and was blessed in minding the
farm. Esau was concerned with this world, and married
idol-worshipping wives (v.34).
In Hebrews 11, we read of
Moses rejecting a role in the Pharaoh’s house of riches, in
order to have a part with the Children of God. That meant
forgoing some temporal pleasures of sin, and enduring some
hardships, because the future was so much more important.
Today’s Psalm (21:10)
reiterates that the wicked – David’s enemies – are going to
be destroyed from earth. Ultimately, this Psalm is about
But, what about believers?
What will the righteous be doing, that they should be
desiring and preparing for today?
In either case, we will not
be sitting in front of a TV or movie screen watching shows
that glorify sin, or attending ball games where their
entrance fees make gross salaries for proud sinners to knock
a ball around. We will not be climbing the ladder of
corporate success, or showing off in our sport boats or
We will not be strutting
religious titles to make a name and money for ourselves, and
we won’t be acting spiritual by claiming that God showed us
things that God never thought of.
But the righteous will remain
forever (Psalm 37:11, Matthew 5:5), and delight in peace.
They will not be floating on clouds, but living safely in
houses, and tending gardens growing the best of foods
(Isaiah 65:21-23). They will not be celebrating pagan
holidays, or just fulfilling requirements of being “in
church”, but will be enjoying God’s Sabbaths and memorial
Feasts, and worshipping wholeheartedly.
So, how many really desire to
walk with God, in righteousness, rather than live like
sinful worldlings? How many really want to be overcomers
now, and walk with Yeshua in Eden of the future?
(Hebrews 11:24) By faith
Moses opted to serve God, rather than be rich under a
worldly king. He had respect for the promised eternal
future, rather than fleeting pleasure.
We are building an eternal
house for ourselves (1 Corinthians 3:12). What kind of house
are we building? We can use gold, silver, and precious
stones – meaning things that will last, or we can use wood,
hay, and stubble – meaning things that will be destroyed.
CHRISTIANITY has almost been vanquished in Britain, Cardinal
Cormac Murphy-O’Connor told a gathering of priests
“A tacit atheism prevails. Death is assumed to be the end of
life. Our concentration on the here-and-now renders a
thought of eternity irrelevant.”
“It does seem in our countries in Britain today, especially
in England and Wales, that Christianity, as a sort of
backdrop to people’s lives and moral decisions — and to the
Government, the social life of the country — has now almost
Increasing numbers of people now gain their “glimpses of the
transcendant” from involvement in music, New Age movements
and green issues. “I could go on about this and talk also
about the rise in New Age and occult practices and the
search being made by young people for
which, or someone in whom, they can place their complete
People were seeking transient happiness in alcohol, drugs,
pornography and recreational sex, the Cardinal said.
“There is indifference to Christian values and to the Church
among many young people and, indeed, not only the young. You
see quite a demoralized society, one where the only good is
what I want, the only rights are my own, and the only life
with any meaning or value is the life I want for myself.”
“There are many today who think that to believe in God is to
limit one’s freedom.”
Yeshua said (Luke 16:9), “And
I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the
mammon of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may
receive you into the eternal dwellings.”
In other words, use your time
and ability and money, of this life, to buy riches for your
future with Yeshua. Spend your worldly provision with a
priority on the eternal.
I pray that the eyes of
your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is
the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of
His inheritance in the saints . . .
Romans 9: 23-24
. . . that He might make
known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which
He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also
called, not from among Jews only, but also from among
24 By faith Moses, when he
had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's
daughter; 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with
the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of
sin; 26 considering the reproach of Messiah greater riches
than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the
reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of
the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By
faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood,
so that he who destroyed the first-born might not touch
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who chose us from among all peoples by
giving us Your Torah.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
Reader 1* Amen
12 Now Yitzchak sowed in that land and reaped in
the same year a hundredfold. And Yahweh blessed him, 13
and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until
he became very wealthy; 14 for he had possessions
of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the
Philistines envied him. 15 Now all the wells
which his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham
his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with
Reader 2* Amen
16 Then Abimelech said to Yitzchak, "Go away from
us, for you are too powerful for us." 17 And
Yitzchak departed from there and camped in the valley of
Gerar, and settled there. 18 Then Yitzchak dug
again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of
his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up
after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names
which his father had given them.
Reader 3* Amen
19 But when Yitzchak's servants dug in the valley
and found there a well of flowing water, 20 the
herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with the herdsmen of Yitzchak,
saying, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek,
because they contended with him. 21 Then they dug
another well, and they quarreled over it too, so he named it
Reader 4* Amen
22 He moved away from there and dug another well,
and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rehoboth,
for he said, "At last Yahweh has made room for us, and we
will be fruitful in the land." 23 Then he went up
from there to Beersheba. 24 Yahweh appeared to
him the same night and said, "I am the God of your father
Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you,
and multiply your descendants, For the sake of My servant
Abraham." 25 So he built an altar there and
called upon the name of Yahweh, and pitched his tent there;
and there Yitzchak's servants dug a well.
Reader 5* Amen
26 Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with his
adviser Ahuzzath and Phicol the commander of his army.
27 Yitzchak said to them, "Why have you come to me,
since you hate me and have sent me away from you?" 28
They said, "We see plainly that Yahweh has been with you; so
we said, 'Let there now be an oath between us, even between
you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29
that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you
and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away
in peace. You are now the blessed of Yahweh.'"
Reader 6* Amen
30 Then he made them a feast, and they ate and
drank. 31 In the morning they arose early and
exchanged oaths; then Yitzchak sent them away and they
departed from him in peace. 32 Now it came about
on the same day, that Yitzchak's servants came in and told
him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, "We
have found water." 33 So he called it Shibah;
therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.
Reader 7* Amen
34 When Esau was forty years old he married
Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the
daughter of Elon the Hittite; 35 and they brought
grief to Yitzchak and Rebekah.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living
Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the
"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King
of the Universe,
Who selected good prophets, delighting
in their words which were spoken truthfully.
Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the
Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,
and the prophets of truth and
Reader 8* Amen
Yahweh has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm, "I
will never again give your grain as food for your enemies;
nor will foreigners drink your new wine, for which you have
Psalm 21 (To be
choir director. A Psalm of David.
1 O Yahweh,
in Your strength the king will be glad, and in Your
salvation how greatly he will rejoice! 2 You have
given him his heart's desire, and You have not withheld the
request of his lips. Selah. 3 For You meet him
with the blessings of good things; You set a crown of fine
gold on his head. 4 He asked life of You, You
gave it to him, length of days forever and ever. 5
His glory is great through Your salvation, splendor and
majesty You place upon him. 6 For You make him
most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in
Your presence. 7 For the king trusts in Yahweh,
and through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not
be shaken. 8 Your hand will find out all your
enemies; Your right hand will find out those who hate you.
9 You will make them as a fiery oven in the time
of your anger; Yahweh will swallow them up in His wrath, and
fire will devour them. 10 Their offspring You
will destroy from the earth, and their descendants from
among the sons of men. 11 Though they intended
evil against You and devised a plot, they will not succeed.
12 For You will make them turn their back; You
will aim with Your bowstrings at their faces. 13
Be exalted, O Yahweh, in Your strength; we will sing and
praise Your power.
Reader 9* Amen
1 Now He (Yeshua) was also saying to the
disciples, "There was a rich man who had a manager, and this
manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.
2 "And he called him and said to him, 'What is
this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your
management, for you can no longer be manager.' 3
"The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do, since my
master is taking the management away from me? I am not
strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 'I
know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the
management people will welcome me into their homes.' 5
"And he summoned each one of his master's debtors, and he
began saying to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'
6 "And he said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' And
he said to him, 'Take your bill, and sit down quickly and
write fifty.' 7 "Then he said to another, 'And
how much do you owe?' And he said, 'A hundred measures of
wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.'
8 "And his master praised the unrighteous manager
because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are
more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of
Reader 10* Amen
9 "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves
by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it
fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.
10 "He who is faithful in a very little thing is
faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very
little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11
"Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of
unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?
12 "And if you have not been faithful in the use
of that which is another's, who will give you that which is
your own? 13 "No servant can serve two masters;
for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else
he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot
serve God and wealth." 14 Now the Pharisees, who
were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and
were scoffing at Him. 15 And He said to them,
"You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men,
but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed
among men is detestable in the sight of God.
"Blessed are You, Yahweh
our God, King of the Universe,
Rock of Ages, righteous
throughout all generations.
You are the faithful God,
promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,
for all Your words are true
Faithful are You, Yahweh
our God, and faithful are Your words,
for no word of Yours shall
You are a faithful and
merciful God and King.
Blessed are You, Yahweh our
God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."