Parashat Bo (בוא): Exodus 10:1–13:16

“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28 NASB)

The cost of freedom for enslaved Yisra’el was the death of the firstborn of Mitzraim, and the cost of our freedom from slavery to the deathward lifestyle away from the Creator is the death of the LORD’s Firstborn.

The last three plagues, including the coming of the Destroyer for the firstborn of Mitzraim, and the first Pesakh are the focus of Torah reading בוא Bo (“come,” Exodus 10:1-13:16).

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Parashat Va’era (וארא): Exodus 6:2-9:35

It’s no coincidence that the freedom of Yisra’el from bondage in Mitzraim was accompanied by 10 plagues and the release of mankind on the coming Day of the LORD comes after seven plagues. Why such drastic measures are required to give people freedom is behind this week’s Torah portion, וארא Va’era (“I appeared,” Exodus 6:2–9:35).

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Parashat Shemot (שמות): Exodus 1:1-6:1

“Man is free, but everywhere he is in chains,” wrote a French philosopher in the mid-18th century, setting off a firestorm in Europe against monarchy.1 But more the three thousand years earlier, a greater shockwave resounded from within the superpower empire of Mitzraim, and that’s what we see in this week’s Torah reading, שמות Shemot (“names,” Exodus 1:1–6:1).

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Parashat Vayechi (ויחי): Genesis 47:28–50:26

We’ve been mining the account of the life of Yosef in Mitzraim over the past three weeks (see the sections Vayeshev, Miketz and Vayigash) to see foreshadowings of the coming Mashiakh.

These shadows grow even more defined in this week’s Torah portion, ויחי Vayechi (“he lived,” Gen. 47:28–50:26). In this fourth and last section on Yosef‘s life, we see parallels between pharaoh, Yosef and Ya’akov, and the Father, the Son and the people called Yisra’el.

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Parashat Vayigash (ויגש): Genesis 44:18–47:27

“He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11 NASB)

” ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.’ ” (Mark 6:4 NASB)

The ancient saying “familiarity breeds contempt”1 could easily sum up how Yosef‘s brothers treated him in his early years and how many leaders of Yisra’el treated Yeshua. The prophetic parallels between Yosef and Yeshua the Mashiakh sharpen further in this week’s Torah section, ויגש Vayigash (“he approached,” Genesis 44:18–47:27).

In it, the brothers’ contempt turns to fear when they realize their plots against Yosef have put them at his mercy.  It’s also a picture of the Day of the LORD, when Yisra’el then the world must confess, “Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the LORD” (Psalm 118:26; Matthew 23:39; Luke 13:35).

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Chanukah: Dare to be a Daniel, Joseph, Judas Maccabeus

Yosef (Joseph) a betrayed brother turned slave turned prime minister in Mitzraim (Egypt). Daniel a war captive turned wise man turned second to an emperor in Babylon. יהודה המכבי Yehudah ha-Makabi (Judas Maccabeus) a priest of Yisrael turned leader of a successful insurrection against the Seleucid empire’s campaign of forced conversion. Yeshua ha-Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ) in the Temple during the Festival of Dedication. These four accounts may seem to quite disjointed, but the conjunction of the Torah reading מקצ Miketz/Miqetz (Genesis 41:1-44:14, “from the end”) and the celebration of Chanukah/Hannukah helps underscore that ongoing lessons from both help us understand what Yeshua meant by “the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13 NASB).

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Parashat Miketz (מקץ): Genesis 41:1–44:17

Have you ever felt like God has abandoned you? Or at least forgotten about what you’re going through? It would have been easy for Yosef to think so. He’d been languishing in prison for a crime he didn’t commit for at least two years. The second installment of the account of Yosef (see part 1) is in this week’s Torah section, מקץ Miketz (“from the end,” Gen. 41:1–44:17). We see “that dreamer” go from victim of justice to vice president of the mighty empire of Mitzraim, and the prophecy pointing forward to Yeshua the Mashiakh gets fleshed out.

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