Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sukkot week 5777 / 2016

B’midbar 29:17 – 34
Verses 26 – 34

            According to the there are set readings for the five intermediate days (days 2 – 7) for the Festival of HaShem known as Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles.  For those mathematicians among us, I believe that the mention of the five intermediate days is actually a “scribal error” in that days 2 – 7 actually constitute six days.  
            “On the five intermediate days of Sukkot we read Numbers 29:17 - 34, a portion which describes the communal offerings brought on each day of the holiday. Thirteen bullocks are brought on the first day, twelve on the second, eleven on the third, and so on in descending order until the seventh day, when seven bullocks are offered, bringing the total of bullocks over the seven days of the festival to seventy. Two rams and fourteen goats were also offered each day.
            “Additional offerings of the prescribed meal, wine and oil supplements were brought as well: three tenths of an efah of fine flour, and half a hin each of wine and oil, per bullock; two tenths of flour and a third of a hin of each of the liquids for each ram; and one tenth and one quarter respectively for each lamb.”1
            The divisions of the Aliyot during this feast are also prescribed at the same site.  The divisions are stated as follows:
On the third day of Chol Hamoed (the fifth day of the holiday) we read:
  • First Aliyah—"The Fourth Day" section.
  • Second Aliyah—"The Fifth Day" section.
  • Third Aliyah—"The Sixth Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) "The Fourth Day" and "The Fifth Day" section.
On the fourth day of Chol Hamoed (the sixth day of the holiday) we read:
  • First Aliyah—"The Fifth Day" section.
  • Second Aliyah—"The Sixth Day" section.
  • Third Aliyah—"The Seventh Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) "The Fifth Day" and "The Sixth Day" section.
On the fifth day of Chol Hamoed (Hoshana Rabbah) we read:
  • First Aliyah—"The Fifth Day" section.
  • Second Aliyah—"The Sixth Day" section.
  • Third Aliyah—"The Seventh Day: section.
  • Fourth Aliyah—(we repeat) "The Sixth Day" and "The Seventh Day" section. 2

            Perhaps the reader’s interest has been piqued as to why I have only included the Aliyot for days 5 through 7.  As this teaching is to be presented on 19 Tishrei in the year 5777, (October 20, 2016), this day is the fifth day of the feast.
            The specific portion that pertains strictly to today comes from verses       26 – 28 of the 29th chapter of Numbers (B’midbar), and these are shown here and are derived from the NASB.

                        26 Then on the fifth day: nine bulls, two rams, fourteen                                              male lambs one year old without defect; 27 and their                                            grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for                                               the rams, and for the lambs, by their number according                                               to the ordinance; 28 and one male goat for a sin offering,                                         besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering                                         and its drink offering.

            So the offering which would be presented today, were there The House of HaShem in Jerusalem, would be added to the forty-six bulls, 8 rams, fifty-six lambs and 4 goats already presented during the previous four days.  Likewise, the following two days will bring 15 bulls, 4 rams, twenty-eight lambs, and 2 goats as an offering, which then gives us a grand total of seventy bulls, 14 rams, ninety-eight lambs, and 7 goats.  Additionally, each of the seven days is to include with the above-mentioned burnt offerings grain and drink offerings.
            The eighth day’s offering is somewhat different in number, but then again, the eighth day is not part of the Feast of Sukkot, though the people are told to celebrate an extra day.  There is a statement regarding the eighth day’s offering that has jumped out at me.  It is to be found nowhere in the guidelines for the previous seven days.  The phrase is found in verse 36: “as a soothing aroma to the Lord.”  As a counter-point to that phrase we must also inspect Isaiah 1:11c where it is written, “…and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats.”
            Jeremiah 7:22 – 23 recorded the following quote from The Ancient of days, “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.  But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.’”
            Therefore, I would like to posit to the readers my opinion as to why the eighth day’s offering was “as a soothing aroma to the Lord.”  As has been quoted above from Jeremiah, Proverbs 21:3 states, “To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.”  The savor that is pleasing to the Lord, that comes from the obedience of His people, and as the Temple of the Holy Spirit, obedience to His Word is the best offering that any person could possibly make.
            Hag sameach, and may He richly bless His holy Word.     

2 ibid.

My apologies to all for the formatting of the Scripture text for Numbers 29:26 - 28 as well as the font difference in the 2nd - 4th paragraphs.  I was inept at getting it to format in the manner that it should have.  -Tom

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Netzavim (standing) Deu 29:9-30:20

Netzavim (standing) Deu 29:9-30:20

In last week’s Torah portion (Kitavo) we saw Moshe draw up a contrast of instructions to the Jewish people of how following Adonai’s Torah will result in blessings, compared to not following His Torah will lead them to curses. A very harsh description was painted to indicate that not following Adonai’s Torah will result in things going bad, a lot of people dying and Israel having to suffer a great ordeal, to the point of even being exile to the outer most part of the world. This appeal is the bases of rewards vs. punishment and it’s clearly marked out for them. In this week’s portion Moshe will continue his exhortations to B’nai Yisrael to do what is right and even give them a sort of mini road map of what to do.

I want to first point out that Moshe’s admonitions isn’t anything new, meaning that instructions of following Hashem and being blessed (life) compared to disobeying Hashem leading to curses (death), have been there even in the beginning of time and will continue to be seen, even at the end of days. A sort of book markers is clearly seen, when we look at what was said in the first chapters of the book of Genesis to what we read in the latter chapters of Deuteronomy, compared with what we see in Genesis (Torah, the first book marker) to Revelation (Brit Hadasha, the last book marker), another sort of road map given to us in a much greater scale.

Gen 2:16-17 “God gave the man a commandment, saying, “you may definitely eat from every tree of the garden. But from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, do not eat, for on the day you eat from it, you will definitely die,”

And at the End of Days we read in

Revelation 22:12-14 “Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done. I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city!”  CJB

Jewish people ( point out that this Torah portion is always read on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah and that it contains some of the most fundamental principles of the Jewish faith, these principles are:

1.            The Unity of Israel, Deu 29:9

2.            The Future Redemption, Deu 30:1-10

3.            The Practicality of Torah, Deu 30:11-14

What I would like to do is to bring these points out into the light of Moshiach Yeshua, on how significant these fundamentals are to what has been written in the Brit Hadasha. In the beginning of this portion we have the Covenant Renewed, since the original covenant at Mt. Sinai was violated with the worshipping of the Golden Calf. The worshipping of the “Eggel Hazahav” has completely changed the terms of the covenant with Hashem, even though it’s the same covenant; it has major differences and additions. The curses that we read about staring in Deu 27:14-26 is one of the major additions to the covenant, besides of course the establishment of a Mishkan and the sacrificial services found in Exodus and Leviticus. Keep this in mind when we’ll see prophecies of another renewal of this covenant, found in Jeremiah 31:31-33 and what the true meaning of these additions are later fulfilled in Yeshua, which is the Brit Hadasha.

The unity of Israel that we see here in Deu 29:9-11 is a major principle inside of Judaism called “Arvut”, which means that all Israel are responsible for one another. This is the reason that the whole of Israel is nitzavim "standing" here. Verse 9 is talking to the unity of Israel at that time, but in verse 13 it says that not only with them, but with both the ones that are there and the ones that aren’t there yet. This unity is what Yeshua’s speaks of him being sent to gather the lost sheep of Israel; Mat 12:24 & Mat 10:5-6 when ordering His disciples to go preach the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven, the priority is clearly set to have Israel hear this good new first. The prayer of Yeshua in John 17 with an emphasis in verses 21-23 is a great example of how he was willing and prayerfully wanting this unity of Arvut. Rabbi Shaul repeats the concept of Arvut in Rom 13:1-7, which is specifically speaking of being responsible to Jewish authority found in those time in the synagogues.  

The words “It shall come to pass” are understood as a Future Redemption (Deu 30:1-10) as most Jewish sages have commented to be the Restoration of the kingdom of David and it'll be Moshiach who will be accomplishing this. Acts 3:19-21 But this is how God fulfilled what he had announced in advance, when he spoke through all the prophets, namely, that his Messiah was to die. “Therefore, repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be erased; so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord’s presence; and he may send the Messiah appointed in advance for you, that is, Yeshua. He has to remain in heaven until the time comes for restoring everything, as God said long ago, when he spoke through the holy prophets.

The Practicality of Torah, Deu 30:11-14 that we read here is quoted to mean Yeshua , as He's the fulfillment of the Torah Rom 10:4. And in Rom 10:5-10 For Moshe writes about the righteousness grounded in the Torah that the person who does these things will attain life through them. Moreover, the righteousness grounded in trusting says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend to heaven?’’ that is, to bring the Messiah down or, “‘Who will descend into Sh’ol?’” that is, to bring the Messiah up from the dead. What, then, does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” that is, the word about trust which we proclaim, namely, that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be delivered.  For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance.”

Yeshua can easily be seen as the guarantor for the Jewish people, their Arvut, because he was the only person who walked blameless in Torah. His willingness to be the sacrifice that the Torah mentions was to remove the external curses that lead into judgment for the Jewish people for breaking the covenant. The goal of the New Covenant is to remove the sins of Israel, meaning the circumcision of the heart mention here in Deu 30:6. Relating the work of Yeshua is the fulfilling of these principles found in Judaism and the outcome is established in Messianic Judaism that we see in the Brit Hadasha. All this great news is not only for the Jewish people who are part of the covenant, but also for us non-Jews who are seen standing together with the Jewish people, just how we see it in the past, it’ll be in the future when one day we all be standing "nitzavim" in the presence of Hashem.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Parashah Ki Teitzei ("When you go out") Deut. 21:10-25:19

Parashat Ki Teitzei ("When you go out")  Deut. 21:10-25:19

Last week’s discussion about אֲרוֹן really showed how a picture of Yeshua can be found throughout the Torah, this weeks parashah is no different.

Firstly though, I would like to point out some of the worse exegesis I have ever encountered by the Atheist lobby - The Stubborn and Rebellious Son – Deut 21:18-21;   A stubborn and rebellious son who does not heed his father or mother and does not obey them even after they discipline him is to be stoned to death.  

This is obvious proof that God is a child killer, so they say.   But if anyone bothered to read this passage in context they may have noticed verse 20 which states “And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard’.”

What kind of “child” is a glutton and drunkard?   A very adult one.    Just one example of how context is ever so important.

Anyhoo, off my little soap box.   Let’s get back to how Torah points prophetically and personally toward Yeshua.

“And if a man has committed a sin deserving death, and he is to be put to death, and you hang him on a tree; His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall bury him that day;
for he who is hanged is accursed by God; that your land, which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance, be not defiled.”

First point is that whoever is hung on a tree is cursed.    Rav Shaul picks up on this point and expands in Galatians 3:13, “The Messiah redeemed us from the curse pronounced in the Torah by becoming cursed on our behalf; for the Tanakh says, “Everyone who hangs from a stake comes under a curse.” (CJB).   The Apostle Peter also had this in mind when he wrote: "The God of our fathers raised Yeshua, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree" (Acts 5:30).

Second point is how interesting it is that Yeshua was taken off the cross and not allowed to stay on it overnight due to ceremonial requirements.   This might not seem extraordinary except that the Romans would leave criminals on a cross for days and nights.   It’s as though HaShem was keeping his own Word but creating a situation where the cursed Yeshua was not left on the tree overnight and thus maintained obedience to Torah – even after His death.  

I read that is particular law was based on the earlier precedent found in Numbers 25:4, “Adonai said to Moshe, “Take all the chiefs of the people, and hang them facing the sun before Adonai, so that the raging fury of Adonai will turn away from Isra’el” (CJB).    According to the Talmud (Nezakim: Sanhedrin 6:4:3), the Great Sanhedrin (סַנְהֶדְרִין גְדוֹלָה) decided that "a man must be hanged with his face towards the spectators" upon a wooden stake, with his arms slung over a horizontal beam. It should be noted that while this is technically not the same thing as the gruesome practice of Roman crucifixion, the reasoning based on this verse was apparently used to justify the execution of Yeshua (Mark 15:9-15; John 19:5-7; 15). The exposed body was required to be buried before sundown to keep the land from being defiled (Deut. 21:22-23).  Crucifixion is mentioned elsewhere in the Talmud (Nashim: Yevamot 120b) regarding whether a widow can remarry if her husband had been crucified, as well as by the Jewish historian Josephus

Another thought line is that the reason one is cursed who is hung on a tree has to do with their inability to fall to their knees in a final act of repentance and, thereby implying that they were under the irrevocable curse of God.

What also makes the crucifixion of Yeshua so remarkable, was that the accusation against Him was originally blasphemy, which has a death sentence of stoning (Leviticus 24:11-16) “Then tell the people of Isra’el, ‘Whoever curses his God will bear the consequences of his sin;  and whoever blasphemes the name of Adonai must be put to death; the entire community must stone him.” (CJB).

So for prophecy to pass, the one who was cursed on our behalf, had to hang on a tree;  thus, two cultures needed to collide.  The Roman crucifixion and Torah mitzah – perfectly synced for a catastrophic ending.
The Imperial Roman government exercised legal domination over the region of Israel.  They would not be interested in religious cases, so Yeshua’s accusers needed to make it about sedition against Rome.  The Torah allowed for an offender to impaled or "hung on a tree" (Num. 25:4), and since they were unable to do carry out this judgment because of Roman rule in the area, they needed Pilate to condemn him to death by crucifixion.

Of course, all of this was prophesied by Isaiah, many generations before hand.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

After reading and being part of debates about Isaiah 53:5,  I am firmly convinced that this verse is not about Israel, but is about the Mashiach.  For how can Israel, accused of being disobedient by HaShem, take away our transgressions.

I believe that suffering Mashiach, also called Mashiach benYosef, is Yeshua and one day He will return as Mashiach benDavid.


Jon Eaton

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Va’etchanan (“and I pleaded”)

Va’etchanan (“and I pleaded”)

Deut. 3:23-7:11

On the Biblical/Jewish calendar some significant events have taken place between last week and this week that can be somewhat related in our weekly Torah portions. Last week we had the event of Tishah B’ Av, the ninth day of the month of Av which is an annual day of mourning that recalls the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, in particular the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples, also the expulsion of the Jews from both England and Spain on this very day. The consequences of some very bad decisions from the Jewish people can be seen in other Torah portions before this one that have lead them to this tragic and sad event that we have on the Jewish calendar. I have heard commentaries by some Jewish Rabbis that “the Jewish people not having faith/trust in Hashem to enter the Promise Land and receiving a bad report from the twelve spies”, to say that Hashem will truly give the Jewish people something for them to mourn about due to their lack of trust in Him.

Another mini-holiday on the fifteenth day of Av, the Jewish people celebrate Tu B’Av: Love and Rebirth. On this day Jewish law instructs that “tachanun” (confession of sins) and similar portions should be omitted from the daily prayers and that you should increase one’s study of Torah. The full moon of the tragic month of Av is a festival of the future redemption of the Jewish people, which in essence it’s an unknowable day. These two Jewish holidays can be looked at in a positive way in the aspect of turning our mourning into joy, pointing us to when the Jewish people will enjoy a redemptive a state with Hashem in the future.

This Torah portion is a building up of Moshe rabbeinu’s speeches to the Jewish people, about what truly it is to listen to Hashem and to keep His Torah/Instructions in the right manner. Moshe is retelling them some of the greatest events that have taken place in this world, of having the almighty God which is the creator, reveling Himself to and giving the Jewish people the Torah for righteous living from a loving father to his people. Moshe knows that his time is limited and he will soon by passing away, so therefore would like nothing more then to know that the Jewish people understand and grasp all that Hashem has told them. Some other basic fundamental key elements are retold like the “Ten Commandments” and one of the greatest religious proclamations of the oneness of God, know as the Shema, which are strongly emphasize here in this Torah portion. Moshe’s speeches can be seen as a call to obedience for the Jewish people to Hashem.

Moshe states that acknowledging the oneness of God, found in the Shema, to be the first fundamental principle that the Jewish people need to have. If there’s only one God, then he would be the source of our existence and the source of all our needs. The fact that He has made a covenant (Deu 5:1-27) with the Jewish people right before this declaration, we see a binding factor of respect in His relationship with them. Only when someone takes into consideration the welfare being of others, by giving them instructions and guidelines, that one can truly say that it’s no longer about oneself and that would lead to show a caring attitude towards that other individuals. This is exactly what Hashen has done and Moshe doesn’t want the people to forget this. Everything that Hashem has done for his people has been out of love and wanting them to be an example to the other nations in bringing a restoration to all humanity through them, the Jewish people. Deu 6:7-8 states “It was not because you had greater numbers than all the other nations that God embraced you and chose you; you are among the smallest of all the nations. It was because of God’s love for you, and because He was keeping the oath that He made to your fathers. God therefore brought you out with a might hand, liberating you from the slave house, (and) from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Also in Deu 4:5-8 See! I have taught you rules and laws as God my Lord has commanded me, so (that you) will be able to keep them in the land to which you will be occupying. Safeguard and keep (these rules), since this is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the nations. They will hear all these rules and say, “This great nation is certainly a wise and understanding people.” What nation is so great that they have God close to it, as God our Lord is, whenever we call Him? What nation is so great that they have such righteous rules and laws, like this entire Torah that I am presenting before you today?

We see great pleads of exhortations from Moshe to love God with all of our hearts and with all of our souls and all of our might, by doing this we show our desires to follow Him fully. Truly Moshe wants to get his point across when basically going thru almost all of the Torah in the book of Deuteronomy. Point by point we start to see in this Torah portion and to include the whole book of Deuteronomy of a complete break down of Hashem’s laws and the reasons behind them. May we also take heed from these instructions and not overlook the mistakes that the Jewish people have done in the past, so that we to may hear and obey (Shema), to be a witness onto other people by living a life reflecting God's essence, which is His Word. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

D’varim (Deuteronomy) 1:1 – 3:22 “Words” parashah / portion #1 (1:1 – 11)

            This week we begin the fifth book of Torah, the book of D’varim.  Most of this book, we will find, are words of Moshe as he reiterates to the people what Adonai Elohim has said previously.  Why?  Moshe is nearing the end of his life, Y’hoshua (Joshua) is about to take over, and it is right and proper to remind the people from whence they came and to where they were going.
            As this reading commences, it is the first day of the eleventh month in the 40th year following the exodus of the people from Egypt.  Because they had refused to enter the land of promise, almost forty years have been spent in the wilderness.  More than 2-1/2 months remain in their “wandering”; all the generation of men who were capable of war have died at the time of Moshe’s speech (cp. 1:1-5 w/ 2:16).
            HaShem had directed them to leave Mt. Horev eleven days prior and head northward in preparation for entry into His land.  In a way of emphasizing this, Moshe told the people that they were going to take possession of the land that HaShem had promised to Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov…and their descendants – who we recognize as this horde of people being addressed.
            He tells them that HaShem has multiplied their numbers, but let us realize that this multiplication came during the 200+ years they were in Egypt.  Regardless, the multiplication was a proof of the promise made to Father        Abraham back in B’resheit (Genesis) 15:4 – 6.  Moshe then blesses the people by desiring the Holy One to increase them another thousand-fold and to bless them as He promised.  I look forward to that day when there are the 600,000,000 men (plus women and children) Moshe has “seen” in the future.