Parashah Emor 2022 (Speak) Leviticus 21-24

These chapters begin with rules for the priests regarding not defiling themselves by having any contact with the dead (except for close family members) and marrying only a virgin. The Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) shall not even have contact with family members who die, nor shall he ever mourn (at least, not in public).

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No priest can offer any sacrifice or perform any priestly duties if they have any sort of deformity or blemish or are in a condition of uncleanliness.

Chapter 23 is where God instructs us about the 7 Holy Days, which are not to be confused with holidays, those being man-made. God’s required celebrations are the Shabbat, Passover, Hag HaMatzot (Passover is only the late afternoon until midnight, with the 7 days of unleavened bread being a separate festival), Counting of the Omer (not a Holy Day but important because it brings us to the next one), Shavuot, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.

God instructed Moses about the show bread and the Ner Tamid (Eternal Flame).

We are told of an incident where an Israelite man (Israelite mother and Egyptian father) blasphemed God’s name and cursed, and his punishment was to have all the people who heard him lay their hands on his head, then the entire congregation was to stone him to death. We are told that any punishment must be equal to the crime, which was described by God as “breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”

(I can make an entire message on the way this one statement has been misunderstood.)

Probably one of the most important instructions, and the final one for this parashah, is the commandment that there shall be only one law for both the natural Jew and the Gentile.

Okay, then…not much to analyze or look for deeper, meanings here. This is all pretty straight-forward.

But what does it mean to us? What do I have to worry about if I am not a descendant of Aaron, or a Levite?

Well, if you are a member of the body of the Messiah, or any sect of Judaism (even if you haven’t accepted Yeshua as your Messiah), then you are a priest.

YIKES! You mean to tell me that even as a Gentile Christian I am considered to be a priest?

I believe the answer is….YES!

Why? Because any one who sojourns with Israel, i.e., joins the chosen people of God, is considered to be an adopted son of Abraham (Galatians 3:29), and, as a member of God’s chosen people, you are also one of God’s priests to the world( Exodus 19:6).

Not what they told you in church, huh?

Did they also fail to tell you that as a adopted child of Abraham, that because God said there is to be one law for both the stranger (i.e., Gentile joined to the people) and the Jew, that means you are also required to obey his law (that means the Torah, people)?

Now that’s quite a kick in the pants, right?

Here’s how it works, folks: when you accept Yeshua (Jesus) as your Messiah, you are a spiritual sojourner with Israel and an adopted child of Abraham. This does NOT mean you are a Jew- that has to be by blood, not by choice (except maybe in the case of total conversion). But, as a member of Israel you are a priest for God, which requires you to obey the priestly requirements in this parashah, and throughout the Torah.

And as a natural-born Jewish person, you are already a priest, Believer or not, like it or not.

This is how I see it, based on how I interpret the Torah and some of what Shaul (Paul) wrote.

I understand that this does open a can of worms, as they say, because now we have to ask if your marriage is acceptable (if you didn’t marry a virgin); are you allowed to visit the graves of your loved ones; can you come into church (or synagogue) if you had sex recently and didn’t shower afterwards?

And these are just the easy questions!

If you expect me to answer them, I am sorry but I won’t go there. I think we all have to read the Torah and come up with the answers for ourselves, asking God to have the Ruach HaKadosh (Holy Spirit) guide us in our decision. I know this sounds like a cop-out, but I am not sure of the answers, myself.

I do know one thing- thanks to Yeshua, if I do sin accidentally by not properly observing the rules for a priest, then I can receive forgiveness through him.

Here’s an interesting thing I would like to share with you: when I worked at a Jewish cemetery, if the people looking to buy a burial plot had a last name that was Cohen or Levy, or anything similar, they had to buy a plot directly off the road because as a Levite, they couldn’t even stand on the ground without (ceremonially) becoming unclean. For me, as a salesman, that meant more money because those are the most expensive areas in any cemetery.

I have been told that my DNA analysis (my older sister, Wendy is our genealogist) shows I have the genetic marker of a Levite, so I know I have to be careful in how I live my life. My current marriage is a second marriage for both my wife and myself, so that would disqualify me, but these things happened before I became a Believer, so I hope that they are not counted.

After all, we are born a new creation every day (2 Corinthians, 5:17) so I am trying, each day for the rest of my life, to qualify for God’s requirements as one of his priests.

What about you? Do you feel “priestly”? You are, you know, whether or not you want to be, so if you like being blessed by God and want to act in accordance with what God says (not what some man-made religion says), then I suggest read this parashah for yourself and get with the program.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books, and join my Facebook discussion group called “Just God’s Word” (please read and agree to the rules).

And I always welcome any comments you may have: feedback lets me know someone is listening, so please (at least) send me a “Good Job”, or “You’re crazy!”, and let’s drash it out, together.

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

Pesach Ha’yom Ha’shemini Reading 2022 (Passover Eighth Day Reading) Deuteronomy 15:19 – 16:17

As we come to the end of Pesach (Passover) we are reading from the Torah the section where God has Moses remind the people that all the firstborn of the flock and herd belong to God. He states that the sacrifice must be eaten at the place where God puts his name, and that we are not to eat the blood but, instead, pour it out on the ground.

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He further reminds us about the Passover rules and the 7 days of unleavened bread. Passover is, actually, just that first evening; the next 7 days are the Feast of Unleavened bread.

God gives us his instructions for the counting of the Omer, starting on the first Shabbat after the beginning of Pesach, and that when it is over we celebrate Shavuot.

This parashah reading ends with God telling us that three times during the year we are to appear at the place where he chooses to put his name: Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

The Haftorah reading for this special day is Isaiah 10:32-12:6, which is when he prophesized the coming of the Messiah and the regathering of God’s chosen people throughout the world. He also states that the Goyim (literally, the nations, but generally referring to non-Jews, i.e. Gentiles) will also seek out the Messiah. On that day, Isaiah tells us, everyone will give thanks to God for turning away his righteous anger and providing our salvation.

This Shabbat’s message is pretty clear- celebrate the Passover as God said to, and one day the Messiah will come to save us; when that day comes, even the Gentiles will seek him out.

Well, for those of us who recognize that Yeshua (Jesus) was, and still is, the Messiah, we are already saved from the eternal consequences of our sins. Of course, that isn’t automatic: we still need to repent of every sin we commit and ask God’s forgiveness, by means of the sacrifice that Yeshua made.

As I have mentioned before, God tells us, more than once, to make sure we don’t sacrifice to him just anywhere- that is what the pagans do. We are to sacrifice only where God chooses to put his name.

During the 40 years in the desert, that place was the Tent of Meeting (also called the Sanctuary or Tabernacle), and when the people entered the land the tent was set up in different places. Initially it was at their main camp in Gilgal and later at Shiloh, where it stayed for some 369 years until King David moved it and the Ark to Jerusalem (after a short stop-over in the house of Oved-Edom).

After Solomon built the temple and put the Ark of the Covenant inside, God chose that place (demonstrated by his Shekinah Glory filling the house) to be the only place where sacrifices to God could be offered.

Jews came from all over the Middle East to Jerusalem to make the Passover sacrifice; I would guess, although I don’t think the Bible tells us, that if someone lived a long distance away it just made sense to hang around the City of David instead of taking weeks to travel back, only to turn around and go to Jerusalem, again, for the mandatory appearance at Shavuot.

So, we have this Shabbat reading telling us of the requirement to go to the temple, and Isaiah telling us that when Messiah comes all the people will rejoice and give thanks to God for his salvation, one might wonder what these two have in common, since the rabbis have decided they should be read together.

The common factor, as far as I see it, is the requirement to sacrifice where God places his name and the Messiah’s role in salvation.

You see, when the temple was destroyed in 73 AD, there was no way for Jews to be forgiven of their sins, let alone perform the cleansing or peace offerings that are so much a part of our spiritual lives. That was the place God had put his name, the only place God allowed us to sacrifice, and now it was gone!

But through the sacrifice of the Messiah, Yeshua, we could receive forgiveness of sins without the temple. Yeshua’s once-and-for-all sacrifice meant that we no longer had to bring an animal to the place God put his name because Yeshua replaced that part of the sacrificial system.

For the record: when I say his sacrifice was a “once-and-for-all” sacrifice, I do NOT mean once it was done, for all time after that no one had to ask for forgiveness, as the “Once Saved: Always Saved” group would lead you to believe.

No! – What I mean is that his sacrifice was once, and for all PEOPLE!

By the end of the First Century, the Gentiles were already seeking out the Jewish messiah, which was good!

But, unfortunately, over the centuries these early Believers and their followers have so misinterpreted and misconstrued what people have written about Yeshua and what people taught the Gentile followers of Yeshua- who they call Jesus- should do or not do, that the Christian Savior is NOT the Messiah God sent to save them.

We can only pray that when the End Days do arrive, those Christians who have been misled by their leaders will come to know the lies they have been told, and seek out the real Messiah, the one God had Isaiah tell us about.

There is some good news, though: many Christians today are seeking out the real Messiah, and getting back to serving God as he said to.

In light of this, I am going to plug my latest book, “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews“, which is also for Christians. In this book, I debunk the traditional lies from both Christians and Jews have been taught about Messiah Yeshua. It’s available on Amazon Books in both paperback and Kindle formats, or use the link on my website.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages. Subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, and I always welcome your comments. You can make them on my website or on my YouTube channel or on my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word”.

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

Parashah Tazria 2022 (When she conceives) Leviticus 12 – 13

We now begin to move from the laws of kashrut to the laws of cleanliness. These two chapters cover the topic of cleanliness for a woman after giving birth, and for tzara’at, or leprosy (actually, it could also mean some other form of skin disease or mold).

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Without going into the details, women become unclean, ceremonially, after giving birth by means of the bodily secretions that occur as a result of the birth. There were two different times periods she had to wait before she was to make a sacrifice to be cleansed, depending on whether she gave birth to a boy or to a girl.

The rules for tzara’at are also very detailed: first the person goes to the Cohen for an inspection, cleans himself, is then separated from the camp for a week, and after the 7 days goes back for inspection. These rules also apply to any clothing that has tzara’at (except the clothing is locked away).

If the boils or sores do not go away, that person is unclean and remains separated, outside the main camp until such time, if any, the sores disappear. If the clothing doesn’t appear to be cleaned of the disease, it is burned.

If the sores do disappear, the process of inspection, waiting period, and re-inspection happen all over again. This time, if the Cohen determines the disease is gone, the person cleans him/herself, performs the sacrifice, and then is allowed back into the society.

There are two main arguments for these regulations: the hygienic and the levitical.

The hygienic argument is that these rules were given by God in order to maintain the general health of the population, keeping people from becoming infectious and possibly creating a plague.

I can understand God wanting to prevent someone causing a plague; reading the Tanakh, it seems to me that plagues are one of God’s favorite punishments, and I don’t blame him for not wanting to share that with some mere human.

The levitical argument is that the rules and regulations about cleanliness are religious in nature, dealing more with spiritual defilement than physical sickness. Those who were unclean were forbidden from entering the Sanctuary because their physical uncleanliness would also represent their spiritual uncleanliness, which would defile the Sanctuary.

God is very clear throughout the Torah that only those who were clean could come into his presence.

Now, these two apparently opposing arguments are, in fact, not exclusive but inclusive. Being infected with a contagious disease is a really good reason to be separated from the population, and as such, not allowed into the Sanctuary where people are gathered in prayer. And even when cleansed of the physical disease, the sacrifice is required to bring that person back into spiritual communion with God after having been physically separated from God’s presence (in the Sanctuary).

So what does it come down to? If I am muddy, I am dirty, but does that make me unclean according to the Torah?

No, it doesn’t, but you should clean up before going to Shul, that’s for sure!

The clean and unclean regulations did not apply so much to everyday living, but to being allowed into the Sanctuary. They were designed not just to help maintain a healthy population, but to also prevent any defilement of the holy things.

Holiness means to be separated: the holy is separated from the common, and in the same manner, the (spiritually) unclean is separated from the (spiritually) clean.

God tells us what he considers to be clean and unclean, and if we do not want to be separated from God, then we need to understand the difference and how to be cleansed when we become unclean.

Through Yeshua, the need to bring an animal to the Sanctuary to present as a sacrifice is no longer necessary, but we still need to obey the laws. So, if you have a bodily secretion, wash yourself and change your clothes, then in the evening (which for Jews is the next day) you will be clean and can go to the Temple. However, if you are a woman and in your time of Nidah (menstrual cycle), technically, you should not go to your house of worship until after the cycle is completed and you bathe, in accordance with the rules in this parashah.

NOTE: The bath that men and women take in order to become ceremonially clean is called the Mikvah. The baptism, which is not a ceremonial cleansing but a physical representation of a spiritual change, is called a T’villa. Yochanon the Immerser (John the Baptist) had people undergo a T’villa, not a Mikvah.

Do you know why Orthodox men will not shake hands with a woman or take something from her hand? It’s because they do not know if she is in her time of Nidah. It is not a form of abasement or disrespect, it is simply self-protection because if she is “unclean”, then touching her or taking something from her will transmit her uncleanliness to them.

Whether or not you obey these rules is up to you, just as it is with anything God says we should do in the Torah. But if you decide to ignore them, remember this: God didn’t give us the Torah so we could ignore it, or pick-and-choose what we wanted to do, and Yeshua never told anyone to ignore anything his father said to do.

God gave us commandments to live by. In Deuteronomy 28, he promises to bless us when we obey, and that we will be cursed when we disobey: just a little something to think about next time someone tells you that you don’t have to do any of that “Jewish” stuff.

Thank you for being here, and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books, and join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word (please make sure you read and agree to the rules).

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

Parashah Shemini 2022 (Eighth) Leviticus 9 – 11

In these chapters we read about how on the 8th day, Moses called Aaron and his sons to make sacrifice for themselves, then (having been cleansed by means of their sacrifice) to make sacrifice for the people. Moses explains that when doing things in this manner the Lord will then appear to them.

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Aaron did as Moses commanded, which was in accordance with the instructions God gave to Moses, and after the sacrifices had been performed and the meat and fat laid upon the altar, God sent fire down from heaven to consume the sacrifice in the presence of all the people. When the people saw this, they shouted and fell on their faces.

Now we come to a sad event, caused by what the rabbis assume was jealousy fueled by drink: Aaron’s two eldest sons, Nadab and Abihu, put fire and incense in their censors (fire which was not from the altar) and made offering to the Lord. This was not only wrong, but sinful because they were not doing the right thing the right way, and so God punished them by sending his fire to destroy them. As sad as this was, Moses told Aaron that God said through those who are nigh unto him he will be sanctified, and in front of the people he will be glorified, meaning that those who serve God must maintain a higher level of obedience, and through their proper service they will glorify God before all the people.

As such, when Nadab and Abihu offered strange (unjustified and improper) fire before God, they neither sanctified nor glorified God, as their (assumed) purpose was to glorify themselves in showing that they also could do what their father was doing.

The last chapter in this parashah is the law of Kashrut, the kosher laws. In this chapter God tells us, very simply, what we may eat and what we may not eat. Consequently, you could say this chapter identifies what is “food” and what isn’t.

My message for this parashah is pretty much the same one I always give when we are covering the Kosher laws, or for that matter, any commandment, ordinance, regulation, or law that God gives that doesn’t have a simple, easy-to-understand explanation.

And that message is this:

If you don’t understand why God commands you to do something, you aren’t supposed to.

God doesn’t have to explain himself to you, or to me, or to anyone. The hard truth of the matter is that it comes down to that little, five-letter word that Jews and Christians throw around so much, without really understanding what it means: F-A-I-T-H.

It is really so simple. There is no need to complicate things, although complicating things is what humans love to do. We can’t just obey, we have to know why we should obey.

OK, here’s the best reason you can have to obey: God promises you will be blessed when you obey him. You can find a very detailed listing of all the blessings you receive when you obey God in Deuteronomy 28.

True faith is not just accepting, or even believing, but acting upon that acceptance and belief throughout your life. Just as Yaakov says in his letter to the Believers, faith without works is dead (James 2:14). That means no matter how faithful you think you are, if you aren’t doing things in your everyday life that demonstrate that faith, you are lying.

And the way to demonstrate faith is to do as God said you should do, faithfully believing that whatever God says to do is because he only wants the best for you.

This is the ultimate proof of one’s faith- obeying without question.

I don’t need to know why I can have a lamb sandwich anytime I want to, but if I want pork rinds while watching TV that is forbidden.

I don’t need to understand why God says some animals are clean and all others are unclean.

I don’t need to understand why some fish are good to eat and others aren’t.

What I DO need to know is what God tells me to do. I don’t need to know why.

So, either you trust God to have your best interests at heart, or you don’t.

Either you believe that God knows what he is doing, or you don’t.

Either you want to earn blessings, or you don’t.

Either you follow God’s rules or you follow human rules.

The bottom line is this: you aren’t supposed to understand why God tells you what to do, but you are supposed to obey him.

Thank you for being here, and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel, buy my books and share them with others, and join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please make sure you read and agree to the rules).

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

Parashah Tzav 2022 (Give an order) Leviticus 6 – 8

God continues to explain the sacrificial system rules to Moses. He gives the instructions for the burnt offering, the meal offering, the guilt offering, the peace and thanks offerings, and we end with the consecration of the priests being performed.

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The parashah has many details about these sacrifices: what to wear, how to be cleansed, the type of bread to use, and many other fine details. So many details that you would think this is one of the most important things to do in order to be obedient to the Lord.

But let’s look at the Haftorah portion, which starts with Jeremiah 7:21.

God states that his commandments weren’t just to sacrifice, but to walk in his ways so that things will go well with us.

We see this same message throughout the Prophets:

Going through the motions of sacrifice aren’t as important as living the
way God wants us to live in our daily activities.

In other words, it is obedience to all that God says regarding worship and interpersonal relationships that matters to God.

God isn’t interested in sacrifice if there is no heartfelt repentance behind it. Through the prophets, God constantly tells the people that their sacrifices, although being made in accordance with the rules, mean nothing to him because there is no real intention to repent behind them.

People who say they are good Christians (or Jews, for that matter) because they go to church/shul every Sabbath, tithe, and are active members of the Men’s or Woman’s Club think that they are fine with God, but every other day they do whatever their sinful desires tell them to do.

People go to confession, tell their dirty little secrets to the Priest, recite the “Ah Father’s” and “Hail Mary’s”, drop a few bucks in the Collection Box and then go home to do drugs, have sex out of wedlock, eat pork rinds while watching the game, or cheat on their taxes.

Sacrifice without repentance is useless.

Calling on the Name of the Lord without repentance is useless.

Asking for forgiveness in Yeshua’s (Jesus) name with repentance is useless.

And living your life unrepentant is never, ever going to get you to heaven.

And how do we show true repentance?

By the way you live your life outside of the church or synagogue.

And that way is to follow God’s instructions. And, if you want to know where those are, look into the first five books of the Bible.

And I ain’t talkin’ about the 4 Gospels and Acts, I am talking about the TORAH!

There is no other place anywhere between Genesis and Revelation where God gives direct dictation to anyone regarding how he wants things to be done, except in the Torah. What Shaul (Paul) says, what Kefa (Peter) says, what Yochanon (John) says, what Yacov (James) says, or what any human being says is not more important than, or can overrule what God says.

Shaul wrote to Gentiles who were learning how to live as God wants us to live, and since it was such a different lifestyle for them, he brought them along in stages, step by step, precept-by-precept, and James (Acts 15) suggested they start small and learn the rest of what they need to do as they continue to attend Shabbat services.

The bottom line is that God gave us instructions how to worship him and how to treat each other, and the sacrificial system is the means for us to be forgiven when we fail to do as God said (we call that “sin”).

But what this Haftorah portion says, as well as so many other places in the Books of the Prophets, is that sacrifice without repentance, which is demonstrated through how we live our daily lives, means nothing to God.

In fact, God says through Isaiah (Isaiah 1:11-14) that he gets no pleasure from the blood of bulls and goats and that the people should stop bringing their worthless grain offerings. He goes as far as to say they are like disgusting incense to him! He says he can’t stand evil together with their assemblies, and when they spread out their hands to him, he will hide his face and not listen to them.

Wait a minute! Something’s not right here…how could God, totally trustworthy to do as he says he will do and incapable of lying, refuse to do as he says he will, which is to forgive us when we sacrifice to him and save us when we call on his Name?

The answer is that it isn’t God who is lying and not doing as he said he would, it is US!

We are to come before God repentant and willing to do t’shuva (to turn, as in turning from sin), but when we are just going through the motions, God knows it and we are the ones who are not keeping our side of the covenant.

So be a good Christian and go to church on Sunday, then steal paper products and pens from your office on Monday; be a good Jew and go to Shul on Saturday, then eat pork sausages with Canadian bacon for breakfast on Sunday.

We are to do as God says ALL THE TIME, and when we do as he says ALL THE TIME, then we get blessed: it doesn’t work the other way around.

Yes, the parochet was torn from top to bottom, indicating that salvation comes from God to us, but not until after we send up repentance, heartfelt t’shuvah, and demonstrate it through our daily activities which are to be in accordance with how God said we should act.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, and join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word”.

I would also appreciate it if you would buy the books I have written- if you like what you get here, you will like the books, too.

And remember- I always welcome your comments… C’mon, let’s drash!

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

Parashah V’yikra 2022 (And he called) Leviticus 1 – 5

Moses is instructed by God to teach the people the rules for the different sacrifices to be made. These include the burnt, meal, peace, sin, and guilt offerings.

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The types of animals and foodstuffs that are acceptable are outlined, as well as the procedures and requirements which the High Priest and the people must follow.

This book is the central book of the Torah, and was called Torah Cohanim (The Book of the Priests). It covers two essential aspects of righteous living: Sacrifice and Holiness.

The sacrifice chapters teach us how we can re-commune with God after sinning: sin separates us from God, but we can find forgiveness through repentance and sacrifice, which cleanses us, making it possible to again come into the presence of the Lord.

The chapters regarding holiness deal with what we should eat and the types of intimate personal relationships that are proper, culminating with the Day of Atonement. It also deals with certain physiological conditions that can render a person unclean (tzara’at, bodily emissions, childbirth, etc.).

There are 29 chapters in this book, so somewhere in Chapter 14 we come to the center of the book that is the center of the Torah. And what does that chapter cover?

It talks about the cleansing from tzara’at, otherwise known as leprosy.

Leprosy was a very nasty thing, not just for the physical deterioration it caused, but that it also required separating the individual from the community. That person had to indicate they were unclean and were not allowed to enter the sanctuary. Their disease kept them separated from society, and even from worshiping where God placed his name.

That means that they could not bring a sacrifice to the Tent of Meeting (later to the temple), therefor they could not be forgiven of their sins.

Like I said, it was a nasty thing.

Yet, there was always a chance they might become clean, again. When they first see the tzara’at, they go to the Cohen (priest) who, by following the instructions in these chapters, determines if it is leprosy or just some rash. Once it is determined to be leprosy, the individual is exiled from the camp and stays outside the camp until the tzara’at is gone. If it does clear up, the person goes to the Cohen who examines them; if the tzara’at is gone, the individual can again join the community (after confirmation the disease doesn’t return for a week, and after they perform a sacrifice which, being cleansed, they can now do). Now that they are again a member of the community they can worship in the sanctuary, which means they can obtain forgiveness.

So, what I find interesting is that sin is like a spiritual tzara’at: it separates us from God’s presence, and it also separates us from the community of Believers. When we sin we must repent and show our tzara’at (sin) to the Cohen, which is a formal confession. Unlike within Roman Catholicism, where you go into a booth, ask a priest to hear your confession, then ask him for forgiveness, we confess our sins to the one and only High Priest, Yeshua, who will take our request to God.

God is the only one who can forgive sins, and when we ask for his forgiveness through Yeshua, we will be forgiven.

I like this idea of the central book of the Torah being centered on cleanliness. I see the entire message of God’s word to be one of holiness (Be thou holy, as I am holy), and the means of being holy, which is to be clean both physically and spiritually, is covered in Leviticus.

If you haven’t read the Torah, or maybe just gone through it, sort of scanning the parts you find interesting, this is one book I suggest you do not skip through.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages, subscribe to my YouTube channel and website (they are different lists), join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word”, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

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

Parashah Pekudey 2022 (Accounts) Exodus 38:21 – 40

These final chapters of the Book of Exodus relate the details of the Tabernacle, how everything was done exactly as Moses had directed, which God had shown him, and when it was all done, Moses blessed the people.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

God tells Moses to erect the Tabernacle (also known as the Tent of Meeting) on the first day of the first month, which was in the second year after leaving Egypt and 9 months after coming to Mount Sinai. The work on the tent took 4 months.

The High Priest, Aaron, is anointed and so are his sons, and after the work was all done and the Ark of the Covenant placed in the Holy of Holies, the shekinah glory of the LORD filled the tent, so much so that Moses was not able to enter it.

As we always say at the end of a book of the Torah:

Chazak, Chazak, v’nit Chazek!!

(Be strong, be strong, and let us be strengthened).

There is much in this book to wonder about.

Did the Jews really see the glory of God on Sinai, or was it just a meteorological event?

Did Moses’ face really shine?

Did the Red Sea really split open or did the tide just go out?

Were the Jewish people really ever enslaved in Egypt?

Many people can look to the events in Exodus- in fact, throughout the Bible- and doubt that they occurred as stated. It is very easy to view the Torah miracles with modern “eyes”, now that we are all knowledgeable in science. So, using science to explain events, people may be able to say, in a scholarly manner, that the Nile turned to blood because of a silt deposit issue that happened upstream. That then caused the fish to die, causing the frogs to leave the water, causing the flies and other insects to gather, and those insects would bite the people and cattle causing the boils and sores, etc.

It is easy to discard the miracles that God performed by explaining them away with scientific reasoning.

But does explaining how a miracle could have happened make it any less of a miracle? After all, even if we know why the Nile turned red, didn’t something, somewhere have to happen first?

If the Nile turned red because of something that happened upstream, such as an abundance of silt being dislodged and travelling downstream changing the color of the water, or some fungus or algae growth turning the waters red, didn’t something have to send the silt or put the algae there?

Where did the algae come from, in the first place?

This is the problem with science- it explains how things happen, but it doesn’t explain how the thing happening started.

The Big Bang Theory about the universe was proven by the discovery of radio waves coming from space, which represented an extreme release of radioactivity (as from a gigantic explosion) after billions of years of half-life decomposition. So, does that mean God didn’t create the universe? I mean, someone had to light that fuse for the explosion, right?

Look at life on earth. We have fossil proof that there have been lower forms of life that have gradually, over millions of years become more advanced. Science calls it evolution, which in plain English means accidental mutations that have increased the survivability of the species.

But why not Intelligent Design? My belief is that God created different life forms, at different times, and has allowed some to die out and others to remain. In order to make the remaining species capable of living in a changing environment, he “tweaked” their DNA a bit.

Doesn’t that better explain how so many different life-forms have succeeded in surviving? How many times have you heard of a mutation, other than the X-Men, that actually made the mutated animal stronger? How many mutations that we have seen in modern times have been beneficial?

None that I know of.

Anyone can argue against the Bible, and make it sound reasonable. The issue really isn’t about whether or not everything stated in the Bible is absolutely accurate, although the Bible has been proven to be an accurate historical document, with much of its narrative being verified by archaeological evidence.

No. The issue is not biblical accuracy or definitive proof of the events that are related in the Bible. The issue always comes down to one of faith.

James says that faith is believing in things that are unseen and unproven (Hebrews 11:1), and I have often stated that faith is a choice.

I was unsure for most of my life- the first 40 years or so, and when I finally decided I was going to make up my mind about God, his messiah, and all that stuff, after listening to people and reading a Messianic New Covenant, I chose to believe that what I read is true. I chose to believe in God; I chose to believe that Yeshua is my Messiah; and I have since chosen to remain faithful to my Jewish upbringing by remaining obedient to God’s instructions in the Torah, rejecting much of what traditional Christianity has taught about the Torah being only for Jews and not for those who are Born Again. .

And I choose to be this way, despite the fact that my fellow Jews say I can’t be Jewish if I believe in Jesus and Christians tell me I can’t be saved if I still do all that “Jewish” stuff.

So read Exodus and revel in the miraculous ways that God saved his people, giving them the way to live and worship in order to walk the path of righteousness.

Or, read it with a skeptical and cynical mindset, explaining the miracles away with scientific hoo-hah and denying the divine interventions.

As for me, I choose to believe in God, to believe what I read in this book of the Bible to be accurate and true, and to faithfully maintain this position no matter how “sensible” arguments against it may sound.

And I unwaveringly choose to be a Torah observant Jew while proclaiming and accepting that Yeshua is my Messiah.

To me, with Jews on one side denying me my Jewish heritage and Christians on the other side denying me my salvation through Messiah, I must be on a very narrow path leading to a very skinny gate.

And if so, then I am on the right path.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to my YouTube channel and my ministry website. While on the website, please buy my books. Also, on Facebook like my page and join my discussion group called “Just God’s Word” (please read and accept the rules).

Oh, yes, of course please share these messages with everyone to help this ministry continue to grow.

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

Parashah V’Yakhel 2022 (And he assembled) Exodus 35 – 38:20

By the way, in case anyone noticed that my usual Thursday message wasn’t posted yesterday, it’s because when you are retired, every day is a weekend. If it wasn’t for the letter on the top of my pill holder that I see when having my coffee, I wouldn’t know what day of the week it is. So, yesterday, somehow I thought it was Friday when I started to do my message and by the time I finished the message and realized it was Thursday, well, I figured I had done enough for one day.

This parashah brings us to the final part of the Book of Exodus, which is a detailed description (and I mean, DETAILED!) of the work done building the Tabernacle, also called the Tent of Meeting.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

We are told that Bezalel and Oholiab have been divinely gifted with all the knowledge necessary for the manufacturing of the articles needed, as well as the tent coverings, embroidery work, bronze work, engraving, and they can make the incense, as well.

The first thing we are told, before the details about the construction work, is that when Moses asked the people to give the materials needed for the building of the Tabernacle, they gave so much that the workers had to tell Moses to have them stop, because not only was there enough to do the work, there was way too much!

The next chapters describe the actual work being done, including the number of loops on each curtain, what the curtains are made of, the length and breadth of the supporting timbers, and just about any detail of the Tabernacle construction you can imagine.

This parashah is one of the more boring things to go through when reading the Bible.

Yes, I said boring, and I mean it!

This isn’t the only boring part: in Ezekiel 41-43:17, we are told about every square inch of the Temple being measured by the angel. I also find going through the diatribe in much of Job to be somewhat of a drag to read.

There is also the repetition of the gifts brought to the Tabernacle by the tribes, each tribe giving the exact same thing, but still, we have to read about every item, from each tribe (Numbers 7).

Oh, let’s not forget the first 7 chapters of 1 Chronicle, which tells the lineage of each and every tribe of Israel, starting with the sons of Jacob.

Yet, as boring and difficult as these (and other passages) are to go through, I still read every word. Why? Because I never know what God will reveal to me through his word.

How many times have you read something, over and over and over- then one day you read it and BAM!!! – something wonderful is revealed to you? You suddenly see a relationship to another part of the Bible you never noticed, or maybe you recognize a message that is appropriate to your life right now that never really was so appropriate before, but now makes a significant difference in how you see things.

One of the most wonderful things about reading the Bible, and I mean the entire Bible (Genesis through Revelation), is that one day, out of the blue, you read something that makes perfect sense to you and you think to yourself, “Why didn’t I ever see this before?”

So today’s message is simple: don’t shortcut the Bible.

Don’t get one of those “Passage-a-Day” calendars because all you ever get, really, when taking a sentence or passage out of context (which is what those daily devotional things do) is most likely going to be a misunderstanding of what God meant. But, if you really, really have to have one of those daily devotional ditties, PLEASE! -open your Bible and read the entire paragraph to make sure that you understand what that passage really means.

Read the Bible every day, and if you find it difficult to find the time, do what I do- leave it in the bathroom. That is the one place I know that every day I will be spending a few minutes all alone, and no one will even want to be there with me, so I can read a chapter or two in complete silence and privacy.

I think of it this way: God is always on his throne, and by reading my Bible in the bathroom, I read about God on his throne while I am on mine.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to my website (messianicmoment.com) and to my YouTube channel, as well. And, while you are on my website, please consider buying my books.

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

Parashah Ki Tessa 2022 (When you take) Exodus 30:11 – 34

This reading starts with God telling Moses that every male over 20 needs to pay a half-shekel as a ransom for their life. This ransom is in accordance with the ransom one pays when killing someone accidentally, as in when in battle.

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Moses is further instructed on how to make the incense to be burnt before the Lord, which no one else is to make for personal use. Men are assigned (Bezalel and Oholiab) to help Moses construct all that God has ordered to be done.

Moses has been on the mountain now for 40 days and nights, and what happens in Exodus Chapter 32 is the Sin of the Golden Calf, when the people turned away from God and backslid to their comfort zone, reestablishing the Egyptian religious practice of worshipping the calf.

God tells Moses to go to the camp to witness their great sin, and when he sees it for himself, Moses becomes enraged, breaking the two tablets God gave him with the Ten Words, grinding the calf to powder, and telling the people that those who are for the Lord should come to him.

The tribe of Levi comes to him, and Moses charges them with assassinating all those who sinned against God, resulting in the death of thousands.

Moses pleads before God for forgiveness, and God says that he will no longer go with the people because he fears that if he continues to dwell among them, he will destroy them for their constant wickedness and stiff-necked rebellion. He tells Moses to inform them that he will send an angel to guide them instead of being with them.

The people are so distraught over this they repent and strip themselves of their jewelry (as a sign of humility). Moses goes before God and says that if God won’t go with these people, please let them remain where they are because if God doesn’t travel with them, how will the nations know that they are God’s chosen? God relents and agrees, based on his relationship with Moses, to continue to travel with the people.

At this point, Moses asks God to teach him what God wants from them so that he will know, and thereby be able to make sure the people always stay within God’s will. Moses also asks God to show his Glory to Moses, which God agrees to do but Moses may see only his back as he passes, for no man can see the face of God and live.

As God passes by, he announces himself, which is called the 13 Attributes of God (Exodus 34:5-7).

Finally, God gives Moses another set of tablets and reviews the commandments, again orders Moses to utterly destroy all the pagan peoples, along with their idols and standing stones when they enter the Land. The Israelites are not to intermix with the surrounding peoples not to be destroyed and they must never worship their gods.

The parashah ends with the story of how, after meeting with God this second time, Moses’ face puts out beams of light, which scares the people, so he begins to wear a veil over his face except when talking with God in the Tent of Meeting.

Oy! So much stuff here- the sin of the Golden Calf, Moses’ pleading with God to forgive the people (this is something he will end up doing all too often), and the commandment for the people to remain totally separated from the surrounding nations.

I don’t believe in coincidences when it comes to things of God, and this morning before I started this message I was commenting on a post from a friend in my Facebook group (Just God’s Word) about how the Jews, during the time of the Judges, intermixed with and ended up being seduced into sin by the surrounding people because they did not keep totally separated from them. I think my comment to my friend on his post is appropriate here, as well.

God tells us to remain separate, and that is good advice. But when we read about the Pharisees condemning Yeshua (Jesus) for eating with sinners, Yeshua’s answer is that he did not come to call the righteous, but the sick. So here we have a bit of a conundrum: God says stay apart from sinners, and his son the Messiah, says socialize with them.

You might say the difference here is that God was talking about Jews socializing with Gentiles, but Yeshua was talking about Jews socializing with other Jews, who were sinful. After all, Yeshua says he was sent only to the lost tribes of Israel (Matthew 15:24), so he was staying within God’s commandment to be separated from the Gentiles.

But what about in Matthew 28:19, when Yeshua was being lifted up into heaven and told his Talmudim to make disciples from all the nations on earth?

God said to remain totally separated from the Gentiles, but here Yeshua is saying to socialize with them, in order to bring them into God’s kingdom.

There’s that conundrum, again.

So, how do I reconcile these polar opposite positions?

I can’t, at least not until we come to Acts 10, where Kefa (Peter) is given a vision that leads to God allowing the Gentiles to receive the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and through their repentance and conversion to God’s commandments given to Moses, be allowed to also enter the Kingdom of God. And this is hermeneutically validated by the prophecies of Isaiah, where we read that the Messiah will be a light to the Goyim (literally, “nations”, meaning all the Gentiles.)

So the conundrum has been resolved- we are not to marry with or worship with those who do not believe in God, and we are not to have intimate (meaning close, personal relationships) with sinners.

But we can socialize with them to the degree where we are a light to their darkness, and by our example provide a means for them to have the opportunity to repent from their sin and enter into God’s Grace.

So, remain separate from sinners when they are sinning and do not intermarry with sinful people. Do not develop a close friendship with them, but do socialize with them enough to provide an example of God’s influence and blessings in your life.

Bring the Good News of the Messiah to everyone, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile, but do not become so friendly that you are ensnared by their sinful lifestyle. Keep an invisible parochet between you and them, and if they repent and accept the Messiah, the parochet will (again) be torn from top to bottom allowing them to pass through to God’s side.

Thank you for being here. Please subscribe to my ministry (messianicmoment.com) and to my YouTube channel, as well (same name). Share these messages with everyone you know and when on my website, consider buying my books: if you like what you get here, you will like my books, as well (after all, I wrote them).

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

Parashah Mishpatim 2022 (Rulings) Exodus 21 – 24

God now gives Moses the laws making up a Penal Code, covering indentured servitude, murder (the difference between intended and accidental), kidnapping/ human trafficking, torts, payment for loss of time, and other crimes. http://www.messianicmoment.com/video-for-parashah-mishpatim-2022/

if you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

God also outlines the laws and punishment for moral offenses, such as seduction and sodomy. He outlaws witchcraft, polytheism, and finishes with the laws and ordinances regarding loans and pledges.

God also defines how we are to act towards each other and even towards our enemies, to be just and fair in all court cases, and not to allow our own dislike of a person to interfere with treating that person and their property with justice.

God also decrees the three annual pilgrimages to the temple, which are the Feast of Unleavened Bread, first fruits, and the harvest festival; today, these are known as Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

The parashah ends with Moses, Arron (and his sons), and the 70 Elders being called to the mountain which Moses, alone, ascends and he remains there for forty days and nights.

To clarify some of the terms in the Torah which we discuss here, and you may have heard elsewhere, the main word we hear a lot of is mitzvot, which means “laws”.

Within Judaism, there are three types of Mitzvot: Mishpatim, Chukkim, and Eidot. Mishpatim are easily understood laws, such as the prohibition against theft and murder; chukkim are ceremonial laws, such as the laws of Kashrut (Kosher) and family purity. The reasoning for chukkim isn’t always as obvious as with the mishpatim. Eidot (testimonials) are laws that come somewhere between the mishpatim (obvious) and chukkim (not so obvious), such as eating matzo during Passover and the wearing of Tefillin.

There really is only one thing I want to talk about from this parashah, and that is the subject of obedience.

Over the millennia since God told Moses what he expected (or better yet, demanded) from the Israelites, there have been many other religions that have come out of the Torah. And not just out of the Torah in terms of the Torah being the source document, but totally out of the Torah, as in not having anything at all to do with it!

Christianity does, for the most part, ignore most of the Torah, taking from it the 10 commandments (and in some Christian religions violating the 2nd Commandment) and leaving the rest behind. That’s mainly because what we call Christianity today has nothing to do with Christ, i.e. Yeshua the Messiah: almost every single rule, dictate, regulation, holiday, and ritual associated with Christianity is man-made and not the way Yeshua lived or worshiped.

That being said, even within Judaism many of the commandments, laws, ordinances, and regulations God gave us have been twisted around due to Halacha (the Walk), which are the rabbinic rules for how we are to perform and obey these laws. The problem is that in the Talmud, the rabbis have identified their own methods for obedience, more often than not adding to the way to perform these laws in our everyday lives. And in some cases, as Yeshua pointed out to the Pharisees, the rabbinic regulations are given precedence over what God said to do.

Of course, the people who created these laws and regulations thought they were doing what God wants, but when you read the Talmud, which starts off with the Torah, and read all the different theological battles and opposing interpretations of the Torah portion they are discussing, you can’t help but realize Halacha is made up of individual beliefs and not God-dictated performance.

But within Christianity, you don’t see the Torah, at all.

So the lesson today is this: God tells us what we are to do, taken as dictation from God to Moses, in the Torah. These first five books of the Bible are God-directed instructions.

The prophets were given dictation from God, so what the prophets wrote and said to the people; and, even if there was some individual method of speaking involved, what we read in the books of the prophets was basically God-dictated messages repeated by the prophet.

Anything else, such as the other books of the Tanakh and the entire B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant) are nothing more than man-made rules. The Talmudic and Christian rituals and practices are not (exactly) what God said to do.

Here is the simple truth about the way the world is today: there are too many religions that profess to be worshiping of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, most of which accept Yeshua as the Messiah God promised to send, but worship any old way they want to, ignoring, rejecting, and even ridiculing the way God said we should worship.

God has no religion! God told us the way he wants us to worship and how to treat each other, and he did that by dictating it to Moses, who wrote it down so there wouldn’t be any confusion or misunderstanding. God gave it to the Jewish people, who he chose to be his nation of priests (Ex. 19:6) so they could teach it to the world.

So, if you want to worship God and do so in the manner he wants you to, then all you need to know is here in the Torah. Anything else you are told by your Rabbi, Priest, Minister, Pastor, or whatever, is man-made and useless drek that won’t score you any salvation points.

For me, with regards to the rules, holidays, rituals, etc. that are man-made, if it doesn’t overrule or go against what God said, I can decide if I want to obey or not.

Here’s the bottom line: when you come before God on Judgement Day (and you WILL come before him), and say:

“But I did what they told me I should do.”

I can’t speak for God, but I expect he might say something like this:

“My child, I understand you did what they told you to do, but it’s what I say that counts.”

I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to hear that when I am standing in front of his throne. I hope to hear something like, “Well done, good and faithful servant”, so for me, that means paying attention to the Torah commandments, regulations, laws, and ordinances.

What do you want to hear when you come before the Lord Almighty?

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. Also, please subscribe to this ministry and my YouTube channel, buy my books, and I always welcome your comments.

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