Parashah Shimini 2021 (Eighth) Leviticus 9 – 11

This parashah begins with the continuing sanctification of Aaron as Cohen HaGadol, the High Priest, and his sons, Nadab and Abihu, as the cohanim to assist him. But the sons offered unauthorized fire before the Sanctuary, and as such their punishment was to be killed by fire coming from the Sanctuary. Moses tells Aaron not to grieve for his sons as he is still being sanctified, but that the people will grieve for him.

The last chapter of this parashah is the chapter outlining the Laws of Kashrut, the Kosher Laws.

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At the risk of repeating myself, I am going to talk about a theme I bring up often, but probably can’t bring up too often. And that theme is this:

Obedience doesn’t require understanding, and in fact, wanting to understand is a form of faithlessness.

There is no end to the number of reasons people come up with why God has determined some animals are clean to eat and others aren’t. From the risk of catching a disease, such as trichinosis from pork, to the fact that some animals are scavengers which eat carrion.

Let’s digress for a moment to review the three types of laws: Mitzvot, Mishpatim, and Chukim.

A mitzvah is a commandment of religious duty; mishpatim are rules that govern inter-personal relationships, and Chukim are those laws for which we have no logical explanation.

For example, it is a mitzvah that we must celebrate the Shabbat, and it is a mishpatim that we love our neighbor as ourselves. However, the requirement for the showbread in the Sanctuary, and it being replaced once a week, well…who knows why God wants us to do that? That is a Chukim law.

Back to the parashah: for me, the Kosher Laws fall under Chukim. Yes, of course, they are all commandments, but why do some animals get specified as unclean and others not? No carnivores are clean, only herbivores, and of all the herbivores, only those that are ruminants with a split hoof are clean. Why just them?

And fish must have scales and fins, otherwise, they are unclean. What is the deal with that?

I don’t know why God wants things this way, but I do know that it doesn’t matter why- he is God, I am not, so what he says, goes. And you want to know something else? I don’t even care why God decided what is clean and what isn’t! It’s not important that I understand God’s reasoning because, frankly, if I could understand everything that God says and does, then he isn’t worthy of my worship.

So today’s message is short and sweet: we don’t need to understand why God says and does what he says and does; actually, we shouldn’t even try to! God is so far above us, and so much wiser than we could ever be, that faith demands we trust whatever he says we should or shouldn’t do as being for our benefit. Understanding why is not necessary.

Just obey, as best as you can, and reap the blessings that God promises for obedience (Deuteronomy 28). The covenants God made with us are not based on him doing what he said he would, but first and foremost on us doing as he said we should. Then, after we obey, he will fulfill his side and bless us.

I don’t know about you, but as for me, I am more than happy to obey God’s instructions as best as I can, totally and blissfully ignorant of the reasons why he gave them.

In my opinion, the need to understand why God gave his commandments shows a lack of trust and might even lead to faithlessness and what might be worse… apostasy.

Didn’t Yeshua say only those who come to God as a trusting child will be saved? So what would you prefer: knowledge in hell or ignorance in heaven?

Thank you for being here and please subscribe here and on my YouTube channel as well (using the link above), and remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

Does It Really Matter?

Does it really matter?

You’re probably asking yourself, “Does WHAT really matter?”

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And I guess that’s the best way to start answering the question because until we know what matters, we can’t say what does or doesn’t matter, can we?

So let’s start with this: what really matters? Of course, what is important to one may be unimportant to another, so we have to deal with somewhat universal topics.

May I offer what I consider to be the most important topic there is: salvation. I doubt that to anyone who believes in God there can’t be anything more important than where they will spend eternity, which is either in God’s presence or out of it.

That being said, we can now say that what does matter is whatever affects our salvation, right? I have often said that the Acid Test question I use for any discussion is: “How does this affect my salvation?

The only thing left for us now is to determine what affects our salvation.

How about the proper pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton, the four-lettered name of God? I see so many people talking about this, and I have seen no less than 5 different ways people pronounce this name, except for us Jews, who never even try to pronounce it. If I am using the wrong pronunciation, will that prevent me from being in the presence of the Lord forever? Do any of you out there think that God is so petty and so prideful that if we mispronounce a name that no one has really used for millennia, that God will condemn you to hell? Even though the name you are using is the one you have always known to be the one and only, true God? Does God not know who he is, or who you mean?

I don’t think so. I think that whichever name you use to represent the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is acceptable to him when you pray from your heart. After all, we are saved by faith, not pronunciation, right?

If you agree, the next time someone argues about what the correct name for God is, remind yourself that this doesn’t really matter, and I recommend you don’t even get involved.

The more we try to convince someone else of what we believe, the more our own pridefulness takes over. And before we recognize what is happening, we are no longer trying to edify them or to honor God; now, all that matters is to hear them admit we are right and they are wrong. What do you think God would say about that?

What about the idea of the Trinity? (Boy, talk about your hot potato, right?) How many “passionate” discussions have you been part of or seen regarding this topic? But when we discuss the “what if”, we can determine if this really matters.

Here’s what I mean: what if God is singular and Yeshua is a totally separate entity? If Yeshua is not God, himself, isn’t he still the Messiah? Doesn’t his sacrificial death and resurrection still provide the means for us to be forgiven of our sins?

And what if Yeshua is God? Does that change anything he did as Yeshua the Messiah? Ultimately, does Yeshua’s divinity, or lack of divinity, change the status of his Messiahship? (Is that a word?) Does our salvation depend on whether or not Yeshua is God or just a divinely-created person?

I don’t think so, do you? I mean, salvation comes from his actions as the Messiah, right? What he used to be before he was Yeshua has no bearing on our salvation, so whether or not he is or isn’t God doesn’t really matter.

How am I doing so far? Is this starting to make sense? Are you beginning to see how ridiculous so many of the arguments (which often become nasty) you have seen regarding these topics really are?

And we could use the same line of reasoning for the proper calendar and for which holidays are important and which are just plain wrong.

Let’s look at the holidays: another hot potato is Easter and Christmas. No one argues that these dates were once used for pagan celebrations and that Constantine rebranded the pagan holidays to be Christian holidays, no longer celebrating pagan gods and goddesses but celebrating the birth and, respectively, the resurrection of the Messiah. The never-ending argument is whether or not celebrating these holidays honors or dishonors God.

So, without trying to convince anyone one way or the other, the real question is: will God condemn us to hell for celebrating what we consider to be the birth of the Messiah, or because we celebrate his resurrection? Do you think God cannot determine that in our hearts and minds whether or not we are worshiping Asherah or giving thanks for Messiah’s sacrifice?

I think he can tell the difference, don’t you? If you celebrate Messiah’s birth and resurrection, despite the dates you do it on, will that change the status of your salvation?

I don’t think so, do you? So, it doesn’t really matter.

When we talk about anything regarding God and the Bible, we need to determine, using spiritual maturity and discretion, if whatever conclusion to the discussion we are having really matters. It’s fine to have an exchange of ideas and interpretations, but when the discussion turns south and devolves into an argument of who’s right and who’s wrong, is it a topic that really matters?

If you say there is no God, that is a topic that really matters.

If you argue that Yeshua is not the Messiah, that is a topic that really matters.

If you say Grace trumps obedience, that really matters. No, really- it does!

But, if you say I began my Passover Seder a day too early or that Hanukkah isn’t in the Bible and shouldn’t be celebrated, does that really matter?

Can you see what I mean?

Next time you are witnessing or participating in a spiritual discussion, please turn down the need to show someone what you believe to be the correct thing, and ask yourself if it really matters? I mean, on an eternal basis, does it really matter? Will the results of this discussion be the difference between spending eternity in hell or in God’s presence?

For me, this is all that really matters: where will I spend eternity? If the results of a discussion will not change that, then it doesn’t really matter.

Thank you for being here, and as far as I am concerned, your subscribing to this ministry, here and on my YouTube channel, does matter to me. And remember, I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Passover 2021 Sixth Day Numbers 9:1 – 14

The parashot readings for the festival of Passover are designated one per day for the 7 days (8 days for those in the Diaspora), each day having a specific portion of the Torah relating to the Passover.

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Today’s reading covers when the second Passover in the desert was being celebrated, and there were some who had become unclean due to their having been in contact with a dead body. As such, they were banned from the ceremony; Moses asked Adonai what to do, and Adonai said that anyone who was either unclean or out of town on the Passover could celebrate it, just as it is supposed to be celebrated, but on the 14th day of the following month, which would be Iyar.

For the record, and I don’t think even most Jews know this, Passover is not 7 days long. The Passover is just that- the time when the angel of death passed over, and it is defined in the Torah as from twilight until midnight. Beginning on the 15th day (which would be after sunset on the 14th day, after the lamb was slain) begins the 7 days of Hag HaMatzot, the Festival of Unleavened Bread. So Passover and Hag HaMatzot begin at the same time, but Passover is only for that evening.

Recently in a discussion group on Facebook, someone asked if an uncircumcised person could share in the Seder now that there is no Temple service. The rules for the Seder are very clear in Exodus 12:48, in that no one who is uncircumcised may eat the Passover meal. Now, that is somewhat disquieting for me; you see, Donna and I have shared the Seder with many Gentile friends over the years, saved or not, in order to show them the relationship between Yeshua and the Passover. Yet, we never required (or for that matter, asked) any of the men if they were circumcised.

So what is the answer? Well, the point of the question was that because there is no temple in Jerusalem, there can be no sacrifice. In fact, this is why Jews do NOT eat lamb at Passover. So, if there is no sacrificial lamb being shared, does that mean the Seder, itself, is not “officially” a Seder?

Is the Seder a reflection or proxy of the real thing, which we can’t have until the Third Temple is built and the sacrificial system is reinstated?

I don’t know, but it is an interesting point.

Let’s try something…let’s try to combine the reading for today with this issue of “If no temple, then no sacrifice; ergo, Seder rules are suspended”.

God allowed for the continuance of the Pesach rules for those who were ineligible for the Seder on the commanded date. They were still required to celebrate it but at the same time the following month. To me, this means that God is open to allowing some form of dispensation to those whose hearts want to obey, but who are physically unable to do so.

If this is true, then because the Seder is not in complete compliance, in that we are not eating a sacrificed lamb, then maybe, just maybe, God is willing to allow dispensation to those who are not circumcised physically, but who’s hearts are willing to obey, to partake in these “pseudo” Seders?

I can’t say for sure, and if anyone wanted to really say one or the other, I would have to say go with what God said, exactly. You cannot go wrong if you do just as God says to do.

God has stated he wants circumcised hearts, as early as in Deuteronomy 10:16, and Shaul repeats this with regard to grace through Yeshua in Romans 2:25 and Colossians 2:10. In Acts 15, the letter from the Elders in Jerusalem that gave only four immediate requirements for the new Gentile Believers, who were for all intents and purposes converting from paganism to Judaism, did not specify circumcision.

In Galatians, Shaul verbally castrates the “Judaizers” (who were Jewish Believers in Messiah) when they insisted that new Gentile Believers make an immediate and total conversion to Judaism, and get circumcised right away, otherwise they can not be saved.

So it seems that those who have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah and were not circumcised physically but are circumcised spiritually may be accepted as an Israelite.

Now let’s see how today’s reading ties in with what we just went over:

  • God allowed those who were physically ineligible to celebrate when they were once more physically eligible;
  • Under the Grace we receive through Messiah Yeshua, those who are not physically circumcised have been spiritually circumcised;
  • The Seder we celebrate is not eligible to be the Seder commanded by God because there is no sacrificed lamb to eat;
  • Therefore, the Seder we celebrate as a physical meal is really a spiritual celebration.

So if the Seder we celebrate is essentially a spiritual event, then doesn’t it make sense that those who are spiritually circumcised would be eligible?

I hope so.

I pray that when Donna and I share our Seder with anyone who may be uncircumcised that God grants dispensation to us if we are doing wrong if, for no other reason, because our heart’s desire is to share his Grace and the truth about his Messiah with everyone.

As for you, if you also like to share your Seder with others, it is up to you to decide if you will require all the men to “drop trow” in order to see if they qualify.

That’s not going to be something I do because I believe, since the meal we eat on Passover is a spiritual Seder, that physical circumcision is not required.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe both here and on my YouTube channel, as well; share these messages with everyone you know (circumcision not required), and remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

Guilty, Whether You Know it or Not.

Let’s say you’re driving along the highway, there is very little traffic and you are relaxing with your favorite tunes on the CD player when you hear the sound every driver hates to hear: a siren!

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You look in your rear-view mirror and yes- the Trooper is there for you.

After pulling over, the Trooper says, “Did you know that you were doing 90? The speed limit on this road is 65.”

You respond with, “I am sorry, officer, I didn’t realize I was going that fast.”

Well, if you’re very lucky and have a clean record, you might get off with a warning or a ticket for a lower violation, but one way or the other, the cop won’t accept, “I didn’t know I was doing that.” as an excuse.

My continual reading of the Bible currently has me in Leviticus, and when I was reading through Chapter 5 the other day, I came upon this verse, Leviticus 5:17 (CJB):

If someone sins by doing something against any of the mitzvot of Adonai concerning things which should not be done, he is guilty, even if he is unaware of it; and he bears the consequences of his wrongdoing.

I was immediately reminded of the previous chapters I had read in Leviticus, where often God talks about what to do when someone inadvertently or accidentally sins. In some cases, it says when they are made aware of their sin, they are to do the following, and in other cases, it says if they are made aware of their sin, they are to do the following, but in any and all cases, as the verse above states, whether you know you sinned or not, you ARE guilty!

So, how scary is that, right? I mean, what if I am doing what my Rabbi or my Priest or Minister, or whatever has been telling me is the correct way to worship God, but they are wrong?

In some cases, people have been praying to saints or celebrating the Sabbath on Sunday. Many God-fearing people enjoy their lobster bisque and shrimp tempura and chow down on pork rinds when watching the football game. And when asked why they don’t study the Old Covenant or obey the rules in the Torah, they say, “I don’t do any of those Old Covenant things because I have been told Jesus did away with that.”

That is like telling the cop “Sorry, I didn’t realize I was going that fast”; the answer you will get is “Your speedometer is right there in front of your face.”

The Bible is right there, in front of your face, and no one is stopping you from reading it.

We will all meet the Lord at his Throne of Judgment, and when God asks you why you have rejected his instructions, mitzvot, rules, regulations, and commandments, will you say “Sorry- I didn’t know I was supposed to do all that stuff. They told me I didn’t have to.”?

And if you say that, what do you think God will say?

Will he say, “Oh, well then, that’s OK. After all, if your Rabbi or Priest or Minister told you you didn’t have to obey me, who am I to go against them?”

No, it is more likely he will say something like “I had Moses write these down so there would be no confusion as to what I say is acceptable and what is not, and all you had to do was read them for yourself to know.”

Then you say, “But I said the Sinners Prayer and accepted Yeshua in my life, so I am saved. The Bible says all who call on his name will be saved! So, then…it’s all fine, right? Yeshua- tell him I’m one of yours.”

If you have rejected the Father, you have rejected the son, no matter what you once prayed. Here’s the hard truth, my friend: speaking isn’t doing!

Don’t be surprised if Yeshua says “I never knew you” if you spent your life rejecting God’s commandments.

Now, am I saying that you are not saved? Am I telling you that you HAVE to obey the Torah completely or no matter what you prayed or what you do, you are going to hell?

No, I am not saying that at all: I am not in the place of God, I do not know your heart, and I do not know what the future holds. I only know what God tells us in the Bible, and that in the Old Covenant he tells us how HE wants us to worship him, which Holy Days we are to celebrate, and how we are to treat each other.

I also know that in the New Covenant there is nothing new. Yeshua says, over and over…and over, that he does and says only what his father in heaven tells him to do and say, and that he had to have lived his life in perfect accordance with the Torah or he would not have been a spotless lamb and his sacrificial death would not be acceptable. In that case, we would have no means of salvation.

No…what I am saying is that you should read the entire Bible, especially the Old Covenant, and most definitely the Torah (the first 5 books) because that is the ONLY place where God, himself, directly tells us what he wants us to do.

The Gospels demonstrate that Yeshua lived and did what any Torah-observant Jewish person would have done, and if you really, I mean R-E-A-L-L-Y want to be worthy of that plastic bracelet with the WWJD on it, then you need to know how Yeshua lived, which is the way God said to in the Torah.

That is what Jesus, Yeshua, did. And that is what God says he wants from each of us.

So get a Bible, a complete Bible (Genesis through Revelation) and read it from start to finish so you know what it says, then make up your mind who you will obey: God, or some person who is pretty much repeating whatever he or she was taught in Seminary school.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to this and my YouTube channel, as well, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

What does “Believe in Jesus” Mean?

Growing up Jewish, I was taught that any Jew who “believes in Jesus” is no longer a Jew, but now is Christian and a traitor to Judaism.

Listening to Christian missionaries, I am told we must “believe in Jesus” to be saved, and when we do we are no longer Jewish or have to obey the Jewish laws.

It seems the only thing Jews and Christians have in common is that believing in Jesus means you are no longer Jewish.

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But we know, based on James 2:19, that because the demons know God exists and is one, they must then also know Jesus who sits at the right hand of God, right? So, since the demons “believe in Jesus”, are they now saved?

I don’t think so!

It seems the term “believe in Jesus” has some meaning, but what is it, really?

NOTE: I will be using the name “Jesus” instead of Yeshua because it is more relevant to the topic, and so please don’t comment on or open a discussion about what the “real” name of the Messiah is because it is irrelevant to this lesson.

Frankly, if you ask me (and since this is my ministry, I will ask if you don’t) believing in Jesus doesn’t mean anything because we aren’t told just what we are believing in.

“Believe in Jesus” can mean anything from believing he existed to believe he is the Messiah, the son of God, and many Christians believe that Jesus is God, himself.

Many Jews believe in Jesus, but only to the point where they accept that he existed and was just a Rabbi; they believe this because his existence has been mentioned in the works of Josephus, a trusted and respected chronicler of history.

Muslims generally believe in Jesus in that they believe he existed and was a prophet, but not a Messiah or related to God other than being his prophet.

Then there are the atheists who don’t believe in God, at all, but might accept that Jesus existed, but only as a man with some historical significance.

And since the name “Jesus” has no etymology within Judaism, even the name is questionable to many as a valid identifier of the Messiah.

So, that brings me to the conclusion that to “believe in Jesus” essentially means nothing in particular because it can mean so many things.

Some Christians today are eager to learn about their Jewish roots and are beginning to recognize the importance of obedience to the commandments in the Torah, whereas most Christians want to believe only what they have been taught, which is that Jesus did away with all that “Jewish” stuff and all they need to do is believe in Jesus (there’s that term again), be a good person and love their neighbor and they will go to heaven when they die.

Yeah, well, that’s not really how it works, but it sounds good so just about everyone likes to accept that and won’t read the Bible for themselves.

If it was up to me, I would never use the term “Believe in Jesus” because it really means nothing- there is no substance to it and it doesn’t really tell anyone what encompasses that belief. Instead, I would say we need to accept that Jesus (but I would use his real, Hebrew name of Yeshua) is the Messiah God promised to send, and because of his sacrifice, we don’t need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem (which no longer exists) to be forgiven of our sins; that’s why he is now the ONLY means by which we can be forgiven of sin.

I think that is much more direct, making it clear why when we accept that Jesus is the Messiah we can receive salvation, other than just saying “believe in Jesus”.

Don’t you agree?

Thank you for being here: please subscribe, here and on my YouTube channel as well, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch haShem!