Wow, where has the time gone? It has been an eternity (actually like 5 months) since I last posted on this blog…so much has happened!
Just the cliff notes, eh? We sold our house, became debt free, moved closer to my husband’s work and to our synagogue, I started working (very part time) as a tutor in our home school cooperative, and we are expecting baby #4 in the spring. How is that for a summary!?
I haven’t forgotten my readers, though! And I have a special treat for you today…but first the back story…
I bought a copy of the Jewish Annotated New Testament (by Amy-Jill Levine, you can get your copy here: http://amzn.to/2h0iorN) a few years back and was intrigued by a section in the preface (yes, I read the preface…It is a great place to get insight into the author’s intent and purpose of writing!):
Matthew is divided into five major discourses, separated by the formula “when Jesus had finished” (7.28; 11.1; 13.53; 19.1; 26.1) suggesting a recapitulation of the Pentateuch (the Five books of Moses commonly called “The Torah”). The themes of the discourses, however, do not match the contents of the Pentateuchal books. (The book of Psalms is similarly divided into five parts, which do not match the Torah books.)-Aaron M. Gale, preface to the Gospel of Matthew in the Jewish Annotated New Testament
So, this got me thinking. For a long time, now, I have observed that many folks faithfully study the Torah portions each week, and yet struggle to find a good “reading plan” for the Gospels, much less the New Testament in general, and the Psalms get neglected as well!
Back in my church days, that is all I read (the Gospels and Psalms and occasionally Proverbs!) so, it was really important to me and my family when we encountered Torah observance, as part of our discipleship journey with Messiah, to concentrate with full attention on the two-thirds of the bible we had neglected for so many years, and become acquainted with the “Ancient of Days” the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As the years have gone by, though, I feel the need for a more balanced reading plan, and love to see the connections between the “front and back” of the “Good Book.”
The second cool thing that has happened this fall (and part of the back story leading up to my gift to you) is that our Sunday Morning Torah Study has decided to cover the Haftorah this Torah cycle. This has awakened a great desire in my heart to understand some of the historical backdrop to the Prophets. We started with Isaiah, because his prophecies represent more than 25% of the Haftorah selections. I have decided to publish my recent “homework” on Isaiah in a separate blog post here.
So, combining all of this input together led to the birth of “Parsha Plus,” a PDF that includes the weekly Torah portion, the Haftorah, a short reading from Matthew, and corresponding Psalms! Yes, that is a LOT of reading, so you may want to pace yourselves. (The Torah portion can be broken into 7 sections, or aliyot, on most Jewish websites, such as www.chabad.org so you could do today’s daily aliyah, plus the haftorah on Sunday, Matthew on Monday, and the corresponding Psalms each day for the rest of the week, and that would work out to be 1-4 chapters per day, depending on the length of the Parsha that week.)
Why Matthew? Because it is honestly the “most” Jewish of the four Gospels, as it “relies upon Israel’s Scriptures more than any other early Christian text, with approximately fifty quotations and allusions…[and] the text also displays substantial interest in Jewish observance…” (Adam M. Gale)
So, enjoy your free gift! You can download Parsha Plus in PDF form here.
Please leave me a comment with questions or feedback!