Moses continues his first discourse, pleading with God (again) to allow him to cross over the Jordan, to which God refuses but tells Moses to climb Mount Pisgah and look at the land. God tells Moses to charge Joshua to take the people into it.
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Moses reminds the people of all God did to bring them to the land, how his glory was seen at Mount Horeb but not in any physical form so do not make statues or any representation of God. He tells them, in a prophetic way, of what will happen when they abandon God and serve other gods.
Moses tells the Israelites they are representatives of the living God, and how as such when the nations see them live in accordance with God’s commandments they will remark how wonderful our God is because of the wonders and splendor of Israel. On the other hand, when Israel abandons God and they are destroyed and scattered among all the nations, how the people will see Israel as the representation of what happens when they abandon the God of their fathers.
In other words, Israel is to represent to all people how God wants all people to live.
Moses then begins his second discourse of the foundations of the covenant, reviewing the Ten Commandments and other laws that God has decreed. In Chapter 4, verses 4-9 Moses recites the Shema, the very watchword of our faith, the essence of monotheism, the declaration of the oneness and uniqueness of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The Shema is then followed by the V’Ahavtah, the prayer that tells us to love the Lord, which my Chumash noted is the first time in human history when a religion required love of God.
This parashah ends with Moses warning the people to remain separate from the nations around them, who God will remove, or they will fall into sin with them and be expelled from the land.
What I am going to say today may sound very prejudicial, and even like bragging, but it is based on what Moses says.
Moses tells us throughout the Torah that one thing the Israelites are to be is an example to the world: not of how great, or how strong, or how intelligent we are, but how all these blessings demonstrate how wonderful our God is.
Recall that God told Moses way back when they received the commandments that God chose Israel to be his nation of priests (Exodus 19:6) and as such we are to be an example to the entire world how to live in accordance with the way God wants us to live.
The greatness of Israel is not its’ people but its’ God!
In John 14:9, Yeshua said that when we see him, we see his father, meaning that as the image of God he demonstrates God’s wonder, power, and holiness. In this same way, the Israelites are also to be an image of God. When we see the wonders of this nation of priests, how they work together, how they worship, how they are blessed, their strength, and their wealth, it demonstrates the greatness of the God who chose them as his own.
Every person who professes to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and especially those who have accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah, are obligated –no, we are commanded!– to demonstrate the goodness and holiness of God in everything we do and say.
This is why the V’Ahavtah prayer not only tells us to love the Lord our God with all our heart (representing the mind), all our soul (spirit), and all our might (how we act in the physical world) but to also teach this to our children. We are to have God’s instructions before our eyes and on our hands (which is the tefillin), on our doorposts and gates (which is the mezuzah), and to speak of them when rising and going to bed, which are the daily prayers.
* The three daily prayers Jews recite are the Shacharit (morning), Mincha (afternoon), and Maariv (evening). Each prayer is only 10-15 minutes long, as defined and instructed by Halacha, which is found in the Talmud.
It is the responsibility of the Jewish people to show the world how God wants everyone to live, and as that example to remain steadfast in their worship and lifestyle. Unfortunately, we have rarely lived up to that standard, but still, we have demonstrated the power of God, as well as his unwavering desire and ability to forgive those who repent.
I have occasionally posted how the Jews have truly been a blessing to the world, just by looking at all the Nobel prizes won by Jews compared to the other religions. Jews represent about 4/10 of one percent of the total population, but since the Nobel Prize has been awarded, they have accounted for nearly 28% of all Nobel prizes given out. Besides that, today Israel is a world leader in cyber technology, agriculture, and medicine, all of which help everyone.
Did you know that Israel developed a facemask that is guaranteed to kill the Covid-19 virus? It can be washed up to 55 times and is still guaranteed to protect you for 1 year.
God has placed on the Jewish people an enormous responsibility to represent him, just the same way that within any religion the religious leader is required to act and live to a higher standard of righteousness. Overall, Jews have done this, but we have been as unstable as the ocean, shifting from righteous to sinful, then back again. In today’s world, where sin is becoming more prominent than ever, as God’s chosen representatives of his power and glory, the Jewish people are being accused of crimes and human rights violations by the ones who are the REAL violators.
And the world hates to hear the truth but loves to accept the lies, promulgated by the media, the United Nations, and even by members of our own government!
But, in the end, God will win and the Jewish people will continue to fulfill their calling to be priests to the world, with the High Priest (Cohen Gadol) being the greatest Jew who ever lived, Yeshua the Messiah!
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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!