Monday, 9 August 2021
I didn't write for Sunday, so I'm doing a little "catch up" today. The Torah portion for this week is called "Shoftim" (Judges). It begins at the end of Deuteronomy 16 where God commands that judges and officers be appointed. Deuteronomy 16:18 Judges and officers you are to appoint within all your gates that Adonai your God is giving you, according to your tribes; and they are to judge the people with righteous judgment.
Did you catch that at the end of the verse, "They (Judges and Officers) are to judge the people with righteous judgment?" This warning is amplified in the following verse - Deuteronomy 16:19 You are not to twist justice. To God, right is right and what is not right, is not right. In other words, God sees in black and white, light or dark, in or out, right or wrong, good or evil, for Him or against Him.
Rabbi Trail: This ties back to the Shema (prayer from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and more). There is one God, which simplifies our assignment; we follow Him and His "oneness" or we don't. He is one and we can only walk one path at a time, His path or some other path.
The Scriptures warn us often against being double minded. Psalm 119:113a I hate double-minded ones. Now read James 1:8 and 4:8 and their context. Finally, Matthew 6:2-24 The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore if your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other.
Our assignment is simple - Psalm 25:4-5 Show me Your ways, Adonai. Teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth, and teach me, for You are God, my salvation, for You I wait all day. End RT.
Then, in the second Aliyah of this week, we find this verse - (Which is what I wanted to write about in the first place. Everything that preceded this was to set this up.) Deuteronomy 17:16b You must never go back that way again. The specific reference is about not going back to Egypt. But what is the spiritual implication of going back to slavery?
Yeshua sets us free. John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! But we must not abuse our freedom. Galatians 5:13 Brothers and sisters, you were called to freedom ... only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. The Scriptures go on with more warnings - 2 Peter 2:21-22 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after learning about it, to turn back from the holy commandment passed on to them. What has happened to them confirms the truth of the proverb, "A dog returns to its vomit," and "A scrubbed pig heads right back into the mud." (This quotes Proverbs 26:11)
Today is the beginning of the month of Elul. Elul ends with the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets. Elul is a month of preparation for the month of Feasts that follow. These fall Feasts all tell the story of Yeshua's second coming. Let's take full advantage of this opportunity to get ready to celebrate the return of the King, moving forward and not backward.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,