Pri HaGafen

My Parasha [weekly reading portion of scripture] is VaYishlakh: “And he [Ya’akov] sent…”  That is this week’s [12/8-12/14] parasha.

The scriptures in this scheduled reading which was read in the synagogues during the Sabbath week of my birth 54 years ago have been special to me since I discovered the parasha reading schedule some fifteen to twenty years ago.  Ya’akov, whose name my son now bears, wrestled with Messiah, who manifested to him as a “Malakh”, a messenger.  He changed his name to “Yisra’el”.  He was then reconciled with his estranged twin; then, his daughter, Dinah, plays the harlot and is defiled, and his sons take vengeance for her.  Ya’akov is then sent back to Beit El, where he first saw the spiral stairway, and the messengers ascending and descending on it, and finally Ya’akov purges his household of idolatry from there.  At this point, the covenant of Avraham is ratified with Ya’akov under his NEW name, Yisra’el.  He then loses his wife, Rakhel, as she dies as a result of her theft and idolatry, and he names her last son “Binyamin”, “Son of My Right Hand”.  Rakhel was buried in Beit Lekhem of Efratah, where Yeshua, the Son who sits on His Right Hand, was born.  Then, all the twelve sons of Yisra’el are named together for the first time, in this portion.  And then, his father, Yitz’khak, died, and is buried at Khevron [see: “I’m in Khevron”] , the same place where Avraham and Sarah’s bodies were interred.  After this, all the sons of Edom are named.

Needless to say, this is a very ‘full’ portion.

And the “Haftarah” that goes with it is the whole book of Ovad-Yah.  And here, Edom is warned for ‘standing in the way’, which is in the 14th verse, and is where the word ‘perek’ is in Hebrew, which means ‘cross-road’, intersection, from where my surname is derived. This portion speaks about “The Day of  יהוה ”, and there is a promise that on that day there will be those that “escape”, and France and Spain’s Jews are promised the cities of Southern Yisra’el on that day.

But, the portion that I have not paid as much attention to over the years is the Brit Khadashah portion of VaYishlakh, particularly the portion of the B’sorah, as we just adopted that part of our reading schedule about three years ago.

It is the immersion of Yeshua by Yokhanan, the calling of the first few Shlikhim, in particular Netan’el, and then  a wedding in Kana.  All of these events are monumental in the life of Yeshua.

What most people do not recognize about this portion is that this wedding takes place on what we call ‘Tuesday’.

 “On the third day there was a wedding in Kana…”

In the Bible, the ‘third day’ is the name of that day, counting from the first day, which most call ‘Sunday’.  In Ancient Yisra’el, and in some Jewish communities today, the third day was the day many people had their weddings.  This is because on the very first ‘third’ day of the week ever, the third day of Creation, all of the plant life was created, ‘with fruit in them’.  This is the very inception of life in our universe, and is seen as a particular blessing for wives bearing fruit.  And at the wedding Yeshua attended, on this day, He performed His first miracle, the miracle of ‘creating’ “Pri HaGafen,” the “Fruit of the Vine”.  This was an echo of the third day of creation, and was a manifestation of Yeshua’s role as the power behind creation.  Whoever the groom was, who is not named, should have been very grateful for Yeshua, and I’m willing to bet that family flourished, and that groom’s descendants are numerous today.

Yeshua also created the ‘Pri HaGafen’ at Pesakh three years later, in that He ratified the renewed covenant with the THIRD cup of the Pesakh Seder, the ‘cup after supper’, saying, “This is the cup of the Brit Khadashah in my blood, which is shed for you.” [Luka 22] And in Matti, “Then He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them and said, “Take, drink of it, all of you.  This is my Blood of the Brit Khadashah which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.  But I say to you, from now on I shall not drink from this fruit of the vine [Pri HaGafen] until the day when I drink it anew with you in Malkhut HaElohim.”  And they sang the Hallel, and went out to Har HaZetim.”  Har HaZetim, the Mount of Olives, is where Yeshua prayed so earnestly that He shed blood from his sweat glands, on a Tuesday Night.  The Third Day; ratifying a betrothal to His new Bride.

Pri HaGafen, the Fruit of the Vine, takes on a whole new meaning for me in ‘realizing’ this, this week.

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