Thursday, 2 September 2021
Wait a minute. I've got some unfinished business from last week. On Shabbat I had the privilege of giving the drash on the Torah portion. I thought you might enjoy a review ... Last week's Torah portion was Ki Tavo and includes the Scriptures from Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8. (This week's portion is Nitzavim and includes the Scriptures from Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20.) Back to last week ... Deuteronomy 28 contains 14 verses of blessings and 54 verses of curses. These blessings are conditional, and they intrigue me.
Deuteronomy 28:1 Now if you listen obediently to the voice of Adonai your God, taking care to do all His mitzvot that I am commanding you today, Adonai your God will set you on high - above all the nations of the earth.
"Take care to do all His mitzvot (commandments)" is consistent with Yeshua's message ... John 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. Yeshua is making us an offer we can't refuse. His offer is a call to be part of His chosen people.
In Deuteronomy 28:1, God is promising distinction for the children of Israel. If you are not Jewish, you might be tempted to say, "So what if Israel is special from among all the other nations. What does that have to do with me?" That is, until you realize that you are grafted in to those promises. Galatians 3:29 And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham's seed - heirs according to the promise. The "promise" goes from Abraham, through Moses, to Yeshua. The promise of being special among all the nations does apply to all the followers of Yeshua. The promise is inclusive.
The blessing continues, and in verse 6 we read ... Deuteronomy 28:6 Blessed will you be when you come in, and blessed will you be when you go out. One layer of meaning is that you will be blessed when you are born (come in) and when you die (go out).
Rabbi Trail: I'm about to quote Rashi who quotes the Gemara. The Gemara and the Mishna together make up the Talmud. Working backward, the Gemara the is more recent commentary (mostly on the original writings of the Mishna. The Mishna which was written in the first 2 centuries of the common era as commentary on the Scripture itself. Now that we know what the Gemara is, who is Rashi? I'm glad you asked ... Rashi is the nickname of Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (Shlomo Yitzhaki), (his nickname, like so many other rabbis, is made up of the first letter of each part of his name, Resh-Shin-Yud). Rashi is one of the most influential Jewish commentators in history.
(This is taken (borrowed) from a Wikipedia site ...) He was born in Troyes, Champagne, in northern France, in 1040. At age 17, Rashi received an education in the yeshiva of Rabbi Yaakov ben Yakar in Worms, where the "Rashi Chapel" was built years after his death (this chapel was subsequently destroyed during the German occupation in World War II, and rebuilt in 1950). At the age 25, he returned to Troyes, where he became a rabbi. Since rabbis were not yet paid officials at this point in time, Rashi also worked with his family in the local vineyards. In 1070, he founded a yeshiva where he taught many disciples, some of whom would also go on to become prominent Jewish scholars. In 1096, Rashi witnessed the massacre of friends and family members at the hands of Crusaders on route to the Holy Land. He died in 1105 in Troyes. End RT.
All that RT so I can be understood when I say this .... Rashi cites the Gemara, "(The ultimate blessing is) You should leave this world without sin as you entered into this world." Meaning, one should be blessed to pass away free from sin and with spiritual accomplishments.
Rashi has a problem. How do we get from life to death without sin? He believes if you study Torah enough, you will make it through life without sin. But nobody ever did that (other than Yeshua Himself). I Kings 8:26 says in Hebrew, "Ayn Adam Asher Lo Yecheta," and in English, "For there is no man who does not sin." His answer to this problem, study harder. My answer, believe on Yeshua. John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life!
Another rabbi agrees (not a Yeshua follower), Reb Moshe Chaim Luzzato (RaMChaL), writes in his book, "Path of the Just", "As much as one may think that he can take control of his evil inclination through his own efforts and abilities, he is mistaken." They think their answer to this problem is to listen to their rabbis. We're actually quite close on this. We believe the answer to this problem is to listen to our Rabbi, Yeshua HaMashiach, Who says ... John 5:24 Amen, amen I tell you, whoever hears My word and trusts the One who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed over from death into life.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,