Parashah Vayyeshev 2021 (And he dwelt) Genesis 37- 40

From this point on in the Book of Genesis, Jacob and his sons take a back seat to the story of Joseph.

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Joseph has dreams indicating that he will be the leader over his brothers which he innocently- or maybe arrogantly- tells to his brothers, inciting hatred and jealously from them. Add to this his having given a bad report about them to his father and Joseph was not doing himself any good. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Jacob, now also known as Israel, gave Joseph a coat of many colors, which at that time represented more than favoritism- culturally in the Semitic tribal system, a coat of many colors was worn by the leader of the tribe. By giving Joseph that coat, Jacob was already showing that he was going to make Joseph leader over his brothers when Jacob dies.

One day while searching for his brothers, at his father’s request, Joseph is seen coming and the brothers decide to kill him. Reuben suggests they do not kill him but kidnap him and place him in a pit, which they do, then they shread his coat and spill blood all over it to make it seem that he was killed by a wild animal.

While Reuben is somewhere else thinking about how to save Joseph (which he wanted to do in order to gain favor back from his father who was really pissed at him for sleeping with one of his concubines), Judah makes the suggestion that they sell Joseph to a passing caravan, and the brothers agree. However, as they are eating their lunch a group of Ishmaelite passing by the pit hear Joseph; they pull him out and sell him to the caravan. When Reuben returns and finds Joseph missing, he is distraught and the brothers don’t know what happened to Joseph. They return to Jacob and tell him the bad news, after which Jacob is in constant mourning for Joseph.

Right here, in Chapter 38, we have a short story about Judah and his sons, both of whom were killed for being evil in God’s sight. After the first son, Er, is killed his wife, Tamar, is married to the second son, Onan, as was the custom in those days, It was the obligation of Onan to make Tamar pregnant so that she could have a son to inherit Er’s share of the estate. However, Onan would have sex with her but he performed coitus interruptus so that she would not get pregnant, securing the brother’s share for himself. For that evil act of selfishness, Adonai killed him. Judah’s third son, Shelah, was too young to be married so he sent Tamar back to her father’s house to wait for Shelah to be old enough, but when that happened, Judah failed to fulfill his obligation to Tamar. One day when Judah was in her neighborhood, she dressed herself up as a prostitute and after seducing him, received his staff as collateral for payment. Before Judah could send her the payment, she went back to her father’s house, now impregnated by her father-in-law. When Judah is told she is pregnant, assuming she was unfaithful, he wants her to be killed but she sends him the staff to prove who the father is. Recognizing his fault in the matter, he says she is more righteous than he was and never had sex with her again. She ends up giving birth to twins, Peretz and Zerah.

Meanwhile, back to Joseph, who is taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, a general in Pharoah’s army. Joseph is found trustworthy and given authority over the entire household. Mrs. Potiphar has the hots for Joe, and although he constantly avoids her, she traps him in the house one day and as he tries to escape, she manages to pull his clothes off. She then accuses Joseph of trying to rape her, and Potiphar throws Joseph in jail.

It is thought Potiphar wasn’t totally convinced Joseph was at fault because if he really thought Joseph, a slave, tried to rape his wife he would have had him killed, then and there. But since he only had him thrown in jail, biblical scholars believe there was doubt in Potiphar’s mind, but he had to do something.

While in jail, Joseph against shows his trustworthiness and is made a trustee, serving the needs of the Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer, both of whom were in prison for somehow ticking off the Big Guy.

They each have a dream, and Joseph interprets the dreams correctly, with the cupbearer being returned to his station and the baker being hung. Joseph begs the cupbearer, as he is leaving the prison, to remember Joseph to the Pharaoh and tell the Pharaoh of Joseph’s innocence so he can be freed.

However, once back in his proper position, the cupbearer totally forgets about Joseph, and this is where the parashah ends.

What a story, right? Deception, conspiracy, violence, sibling rivalry, immoral sexual behavior, more deception, attempted sex, unjust imprisonment. I mean, this could be an HBO mini-series!

You know, it probably has been.

But, what will we talk about today? There is so much here, but I go by “feel” (always praying for that feeling to be Holy Spirit led), and what I feel is a message for us is relating how Joseph, in the midst of the worse tsouris anyone could have to deal with, maintained his faith and moral standards.

I am going to do something unusual for this ministry, and relate Joseph’s story to the current political and social environment in America. That environment is one of distrust in our government, distrust in our media, distrust in our medical system, and distrust within the community. We are a people totally polarized, where there is no common ground or compromise, living in a fearful and frustrated de facto civil war of ideologies and political positions.

One recent example is how the media has painted a man found not guilty of murder as a white supremacist who killed black people peacefully protesting. When I read the transcript of the trial, the man had a legally owned firearm and was trying to protect a family business from rioters who were anything but peaceful. After failing to protect the business, he was being chased by the rioters who were armed and while he was being chased, he heard gunshots. He turned and shot back, reasonably assuming that the ones chasing and threatening him were shooting at him. In doing so, he shot and killed a few of the people chasing him (they weren’t all black).

The court found him justified in doing what he did and released him, but this case of self-defense was turned into a racist murder by the media, which didn’t care about truth or justice but only about causing strife and disunity within the community.

Another example is the presidential election of 2020, which is still considered by many to have been more of a coup because millions of votes were falsely created by one side. Whether or not this happened, the fact that it represents such a severe and widespread distrust in one of the building blocks of our democracy- the secret ballot- is as bad as if it was proven true.

And what about the pandemic? It has been so poorly being handled, with so many contradictory reports of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, of the usefulness of masks, and lock-downs resulting in the financial ruin of millions of businesses and people, not to mention the general fear being fostered by the media, well…how can anyone not feel unjustly treated and mistrusting of our leadership?

Joseph must have felt this way, too. He was mistreated by his brothers, and even when doing the best he could showing his faithfulness to those who were in authority over him, he was unjustly accused and imprisoned.

But despite all that, he maintained his trust in God, and by continuing to behave as a God-fearing person should behave, always doing what is right in God’s eyes, he persevered. And, as we will find out later in this book, he not only persevered, he conquered.

There is distrust, strife, fear, concern, and a general sense of What-the-heck is going on! in the world today. We need to do as Joseph did, which is to trust that God will sort it all out, but in the meantime take charge of what we can, and live our life the best we can while we can.

Yes, it is difficult and there are so many things we want to do that we can’t, or we feel we mustn’t because it represents to us too much of a compromise of our freedoms. That is fine, because if we refuse to get a booster, or we decide to go ahead and get a booster, no one should tell us what is right or wrong because when we decide what we will do, it is our decision. We are taking charge of what we can, and dealing with that which we can’t control.

I don’t care what you think about the vaccine, or the President, or the medical “facts” or what I do…I am taking charge of my life as much as I can and living it with the trust and faith in God that whatever happens, he will work it out for the best. Eventually.

And that is what we spiritual types call “Faith”

I have little or no faith in our current government, not in the medical leadership of this country, and never in people, but I have tons of faith in God. Just because the world is one big mishigas right now doesn’t mean God isn’t in charge- it just means he is letting things happen. I know, absolutely, that he sees where things are going, and he has a plan to do the perfect thing we need to have done and will do at exactly the right moment.

So, nu? Are you feeling as frustrated as I am? Do you wish this all would just go away, and we could get back to our normal life- no masks, no mandatory vaccinations, no pandemic, no racist hatred (well, we’ve never been free of that), and life back to the way we had it before all this drek happened?

If so, then let me say this… GET REAL, PEOPLE!! That ain’t gonna happen, so get with the program. Do as Joseph did- act the way you know YOU are supposed to act and ignore the world going crazy. God will always see you and protect you when you do as he wants, and that is all we need to concentrate on. This will all pass, sooner or later (God willing, sooner!) so be like the maidens who had their oil ready, because when the Bridegroom comes, we don’t want to be caught up in the mess that everyone else is trapped in.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry grow. Check out my books on my website, and while there subscribe to my website and to my YouTube channel. On Facebook, “Like” my page and join my discussion 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 Vayyetze 2021 (He went out)Genesis 28:10 – 32:3

We left Jacob being sent by Isaac to Haran to find a wife from his own people. One night along the journey, while Jacob sleeps outside the town of Luz, God comes to him in a dream and confirms the same promises that he gave to Isaac and to Abraham. Jacob awakes and is filled with awe, naming the place Beth-El (House of God). Jacob also swears to God that if God will do all he said, then Jacob will worship him and give a tenth of all God blesses him with back to God.

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Jacob continues his journey and coming to a well meets Rachel, the daughter of his uncle, Laban. When he tells her who he is, she runs back to let Laban know, who then runs out to meet Jacob and bring him into his house.

After staying with Laban for a month, Laban asks what he can do for Jacob, and Jacob says he will work 7 years as a bride price for Rachel. Laban agrees, but after 7 years he fools Jacob by sending Leah, Rachel’s older sister, into the marriage tent at night. When Jacob realizes he has been tricked, Laban explains it by saying it is a local custom to marry the older daughter first. Jacob agrees to work another 7 years for Rachel, and once the marriage week to Leah is over he immediately gets another marriage week with Rachel. Now he has 2 wives and 7 more years of working for Laban, and spends that time dropping rugrats left and right: first from Leah, then from Rachel’s handmaiden, then from Leah’s handmaiden, then from Rachel, then from Leah. The last kid, Benjamin, comes from Rachel, but we don’t read about that until later.

Jacob’s work makes Laban richer so Laban asks Jacob how he can pay him. Jacob says he will take all the spotted, speckled and dark sheep (generally considered to be less valuable) as his payment, but Laban again tries to cheat Jacob by removing them all from his flocks and giving them to his sons.

But Laban didn’t know that Jacob was the best deceiver around. So Jacob uses his knowledge of animal husbandry to have all the speckled, spotted, and dark sheep be the strongest, while the “pure” sheep Laban had become the weakest.

Soon enough, Laban’s sons are plotting against Jacob because now his flocks are the hardiest and their flocks are weak. God comes to Jacob in a dream and says it’s time to go back, so Jacob sneaks away, but before they leave Rachel steals the household gods from her father.

Laban learns of this and catches up to Jacob, but before he reaches him God tells him not to do anything to Jacob, so Laban listens to God and accuses Jacob of stealing his household gods. But when he searches for them he can’t find them because Rachel has hidden them in her saddle, which she is sitting on, and says she can’t get up because she is in her time of Nidah (menstrual period). Laban and Jacob make a pact not to cross over the boundary to do harm to each other, and Laban returns home.

There’s so much to talk about here, but I want to concentrate on one small thing, which is the taking of Laban’s teraphim by Rachel before they left (Genesis 31:19).

My Chumash says Nachmanides (the great Rabbi also known as the Ramban) explains the stealing of the teraphim, which Laban calls “his gods”, as Rachel’s way of keeping him from worshipping them, but I think this explanation is designed to paint Rachel in a good light.

The teraphim, or household gods as many Bibles describe them, were more than just a religious item. They represented the authority and rulership of the son who possessed them. The other brothers and cousins would come and pay tribute to the one holding these gods, in order to win their favor for a good harvest, for children, whatever. The fact that Laban was the possessor of these teraphim indicated his authority over the clan and was part of the inheritance of the oldest son.

I don’t think Rachel took them as a means of preventing her father from praying to idols, but rather as an inheritance for her sons.

The reason I think this is because of what she says to Jacob when he says he wants to return to Canaan. In Genesis 31:14, both Leah and Rachel tell Jacob they feel their father has treated them as strangers, selling them and that there is no inheritance for them in their father’s house.

In other words, they feel like they have been disowned and cheated out of their rightful inheritance. This is a little unusual because the daughters did not get an inheritance in those days but it seems they felt cheated, in one way or another. Rachel seems to be the better match for Jacob than Leah because Rachel is a bit of a deceiver because she lied to her father when he was searching for his teraphim.

A well-known lesson we find in this parashah is “What goes around, comes around.” Jacob slyly finagled the firstborn rights from Esau, then Laban slyly finagled Jacob into marrying Leah, and I believe he did this all the while knowing he would be able to get another 7 years from Jacob, whose efforts had been making Laban richer.

Rachel finagles mandrakes for herself by pimping her husband (it seems this is a family trait since Abraham and Isaac did the same sort of thing) to gain a chance for more children.

Finally, Rachel steals the teraphim from Laban, who now feels cheated out of his inheritance.

So Jacob does Esau, Laban does Jacob, and Rachel does Laban- what goes around, comes around.

The truth of the matter is that even the Patriarchs of Judaism, men whom God spoke to directly (which didn’t happen again until Moses) are still and all, human. They have human foibles, human weaknesses, and deceiving ways about them.

Maybe we can write it off to the fact that these things were necessary in those times, but I don’t think that really cuts it. Honesty and dishonesty have been around forever, and whether in biblical days or today, honest people are honest. Period.

God sees all that we do, and he knows our hearts. It is up to us to remember this and try to do what is right in God’s eyes, not what a godless society says is right. This may ostracize us, but in the long run, it is better to be right and alone than wrong with other wrongdoers because… what is today’s lesson?

I don’t know about you, but if what I do is eventually going to come back and bite me in the tuchas, I’m going to do my best to ensure that it will only be a love bite.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages to help this ministry grow. Subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, “Like” my Facebook page, and join my Facebook discussion group called Just God’s Word. If you like what you get here, you will also like my books, available through my website or on Amazon Books (just search for my name.)

And I always welcome your comments.

Nu…we’re done for this week so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

Parashah Toldot 2021 (Generations) Genesis 25:19 – 28:9

This parashah begins with the story of Isaac and Rebekah, how she struggled with her pregnancy and was told (by God) that she had two nations in her. When the time came to give birth, Esau came out already hairy, with Jacob holding onto the heel of Esau.

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One day years later, Esau came back from a hunting trip and he was starved (I’m sure he wasn’t really at death’s door, as he whined about), and coming to Jacob’s tent he asked Jacob to give him some of the lentil stew he was making.

Jacob made Esau promise to sell him the rights of the firstborn in exchange for the stew, and Esau (always first to do and second to think about it) immediately transferred this right to Jacob, for a bowl of stew and some bread and water.

Meanwhile, Isaac remained in the land and God blessed him, but he (like his father, before him) lied about his relationship with Rebekah, saying she was his sister. The king, Abimelech (maybe the same one that Abraham knew?) saw them fooling around once and learned the truth. He asked Isaac why he lied, which might have caused someone to sin and bring disaster on the people, and Isaac gave the same answer Abraham did, which was that he was afraid he would be killed so someone could take his wife for himself.

Time out! So you’re telling me that it was wrong to take another man’s
wife, but it was OK if you killed him first, making her a widow?

Back to the parashah…so Isaac was blessed and became very powerful, so much so that Abimelech went to him and basically told him to leave the area because they were afraid of him. So Isaac went, digging wells along the way, but the locals kept taking the wells claiming the land, and therefore the water, is theirs. After the third well, Isaac was able to remain. When this happened, Abimelech had a change of heart and decided it was best to make a pact with Isaac instead of just sending him away, which they did.

Now we come to the well-known story of how Jacob tricked Isaac into giving him the blessing of the firstborn. Of course, we need to remember that it was Rebekah’s idea, not Jacob’s. In any event, Jacob (with Mom’s help) received the blessing reserved for the firstborn, and when Esau learned of this, he cried to his father for any blessing at all and received the “B Team” version of the blessing, the one that Jacob most likely would have received.

Angry, Esau vows to kill Jacob as soon as Isaac is dead, and hearing of this, Rebekah has Isaac send Jacob to her brother, Laban, to find a wife, claiming that Esau’s choice of the local women as wives is an abomination to her.

That’s the end of this parashah.

If you look in most bibles, they will title this story as something along the lines of “Jacob Steals Esau’s Birthright” or “Jacob Steals the Blessing of the Firstborn.”

I never liked that because it isn’t correct: Jacob did not steal anything. He did not take something that belonged to someone else, he bargained for it. If you see someone with a car you like and offer to buy it from him or her and they sell it to you, is that stealing? If they accept an offer much lower than its intrinsic value, is that stealing? It may be getting a steal, as the expression goes, but technically it is just getting a good price, that’s all.

When I was a Tinman, which is the term for someone selling siding (I also sold replacement windows and kitchen refacing), I learned that the sale is made when the buyer’s perceived value of the product is higher than the price tag. Someone may think a product isn’t worth $25, and someone else may feel that same product is a great buy at $75!

I never told anyone how to spend their money: my job as the salesman was to build the most value I could into the product so when I gave the final price to the buyer (after I let them negotiate) it would be less than their perceived value. And I never lied to do that- you don’t have to lie to be a good salesman.

The important point in this parashah, which is almost always ignored by almost every Bible version, is not that Jacob stole the birthright but that the birthright had no value to Esau. I mean, c’mon- the guy sold what at that time would have been a double-share of the father’s estate, which the Bible tells us was significant, for a bowl of stew!

And later, when Jacob allegedly stole the blessing of the firstborn, that wasn’t stealing, either- the blessing belonged to him! He was the legal owner of the firstborn’s birthright, which included the blessing!

Here’s the real message that I want to give today, which is just briefly mentioned in the very beginning of this parashah but is significant for any Gentile who has been taught that when they accept Yeshua as their Messiah, they are not subject to the Torah commandments.

I’m talking about Genesis 26:5; but first, let’s review the background.

Leading up to this verse, we read there is a famine and God tells Isaac to not go to Egypt but remain in the land of Canaan, and that if he goes where God tells him to go then God will fulfill the same promise to Isaac that he gave to Abraham.

Throughout my 25+ years as a believing Jewish man, I have constantly heard that we are saved by faith, and throughout the Bible, both Old and New Covenants, we are reminded that it was because Abraham believed God when God told him something, that his faith was counted as righteousness (Genesis 15:6.)

And that is where Christianity stops talking about Abraham’s faith. They constantly use his faith as the only reason he was considered righteous; today, we don’t just need to have faith in God but also faithfully accept that Yeshua is the Messiah, and it is that faith through which we are “saved.”

But there is more to it than that, and that’s what God tells Isaac in Genesis 26:5 which is why God promised Abraham what he did (Genesis 26:5 CJB):

All this is because Avraham heeded what I said and did what I told him to do -he followed my mitzvot, my regulations and my teachings.

What? Abraham’s faith wasn’t all that God wanted? Apparently not, since God said his promises to Abraham were because he heeded what God said (i.e., believed him) and DID everything God told him to do.

Yes, as uncomfortable as this is, God is saying that faith, alone, isn’t all you need: you must not just faithfully believe but also DO what God says.

That is why Abraham received the promises: he believed and he did.

That is what James means in James 2:14 when he says that faith without works is dead.

Sorry to bust so many people’s comfort zone bubbles, but just believing in God and Jesus ain’t gonna cut it all the way through. Oh, yeah, you may end up in heaven, or have a place on the new earth; you may not have to spend eternity out of God’s presence, but if you are in, it will be at the lowest level possible.

God already knew what I learned a long time ago: people don’t mean what they say, they mean what they do.

So if you think you are saved but do none of the things that God requires of everyone (maybe your religion has told you the Torah is just for Jews, but that is a lie), then you should reconsider whether God wants you to do what he said, or what some religious leader with a seminary degree tells you to do.

Abraham received blessings from God for believing and doing as God said; Isaac received blessings for believing and doing as God said.

So, nu? What makes you think you don’t have to?

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to both my YouTube channel and my website, “LIKE” my Facebook page, and join my FB discussion group called “Just God’s Word”.

I wouldn’t mind it at all if you also bought some or all of my books, available on Amazon Books and through the link on my website.

And I always welcome your comments.

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

Parashah Chayye Sarah 2021 (Life of Sarah) Genesis 23 – 25:18

This parashah begins with the death of Sarah. Abraham buys the field and cave in Machpelah, known today as Hebron, and buries Sarah there. This is the burial place of all three patriarchs and their wives, except for Rachel who was buried elsewhere when Jacob was returning to Canaan.

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Abraham is now old and decides it is time for Isaac to marry, so he sends his servant, Eliazer, back to Haran to find a wife from Abraham’s family still living there. Eliazer comes to a well and prays for God to send the proper woman for Isaac, asking that a sign be given for Eliazer to know. Rebekah comes to fetch water and when Eliazer asks her for a drink, she lowers her jar to let him drink and offers to water his camels, as well. This was the sign asked for, so Eliazer asks her who’s family she is from and when she says she is the daughter of Abraham’s nephew, he gives her some jewelry. She runs home to tell her father and her brother, Laban, seeing the goodies runs out to fetch Eliazer and bring him home to be fed and rested.

Eliazer refuses food until he has stated why he is there, and after hearing the entire story, the family agrees to let Rebekah marry Isaac.

Eliazer hurries her back, and when Isaac sees Rebekah he immediately consummates the marriage and sets her up in his mother’s tent as his wife.

We are told that Abraham took another wife and had a number of sons through her, all of whom were given gifts and money, but then were all sent on their own way; only Isaac received all that Abraham owned. Abraham dies and he is buried by Isaac and Ishmael; we are then told of the lineage of Ishmael and his death.

This is where the parashah ends.

I was reading the commentary on this parashah in my Chumash, and when it came to the verses about Isaac setting Rebekah up in his mother’s tent, it mentioned that he installed her as mistress of the house. More than that, though, it also said that she filled the gap in his life caused by the death of his mother, which also stopped the household from receiving the blessings they had received before. When Rebekah reinitiated the ceremonies and rituals that Sarah had done, the blessings of the household returned.

Time for a quick story that will lead us into today’s message…when I was visiting Israel, the guide (who was great) told us the biblical stories that were associated with the parts of Israel we were visiting. One thing he did, which is standard for Orthodox Jews, was to tell us not just the biblical history but to interject the Talmudic stories, as well, as if they and the Torah were one and the same.

I, respectfully (of course), kept interrupting him and pointing out that what he was saying was not in the Tanakh but in the Talmud. This was for the benefit of the Christians on the tour with me (believe it or not, there were 22 of us and I was the only Jew) because, as sad as it seems, most Christians do not know the Torah and cannot identify what is in the Bible and what is rabbinic commentary from the Talmud.

And that brings us to today’s message, one which I have stated over and over, and will never stop saying: You MUST know the entire Bible.

When reading the commentaries in the Chumash you must remember that you are reading from a Talmudic/rabbinic/anti-Christian viewpoint. Yes, I said anti-Christian and I meant it because traditional Judaism wants absolutely nothing at all to do with Christianity and some of what you read in the Chumash commentary, especially regarding messianic passages, will not be very friendly towards Christianity. Despite this, though, I do recommend having and reading a Chumash because it will give one tremendous insight into the Jewish mindset.

When I read this commentary, about Rebekah reinstituting the religious rites that Sarah had been doing, I just couldn’t help asking myself, “Growing up in Nahor’s household, which we know had household gods (Genesis 31), it is apparent that Nahor didn’t have the same beliefs that Abraham did, so where did Rebekah learn about the religious duties of the wife?”

There has been no mention of any part of Nahor’s life or the lives of his children in the Torah passages, except at the very end of the previous parashah (Genesis 22:20-24) where we are given a report of the fact that he had children.

I enjoy hearing the rabbinic stories, but I am concerned that so many Jews, and especially Christians, who do not really know the Tanakh will accept these fables as fact. The only facts are what we read in the Tanakh, and not what some rabbi, at some time, somewhere decided fits into the storyline.

In my opinion, many of the Talmudic stories are there to make the Torah story sound a little better.

The Talmud is called the Oral Law, and it is supposedly the many laws and regulations that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai that Moses did not write down, but passed down orally through Joshua, That being said, the Talmud does fill in the gaps, so to speak, where the Torah seems to be missing important information.

For example, we are told which animals are to be used for the sacrifice and also that we must treat animals humanely, but there is nothing in the Torah about how to humanely kill the animal for the sacrifice. Well, the Talmud tells us about the Shechitah, which is a humane and nearly painless way to kill the animal.

There are other things in the Talmud, though, that border on mysticism and mythology, such as the stories of the Golem and even a reference to Lilith, a she-demon of Jewish mythology but also referred to as the first wife of Adam. Clearly, these are not biblical and should not be considered factual, but within Judaism, they are accepted as real as the other people mentioned in the Tanakh.

Having talked about the Talmud and how it can misguide us, let’s not forget about all the Christian religions which have also misguided people by adding their own “spin” to what is in the New Covenant writings. For instance, the idea that once saved, you are always saved or that Yeshua did away with all the laws in the Torah. Another one, which I believe to be the most sinful of all traditional Christian teachings (thankfully, most Christians don’t buy this one) is Replacement Theology, which says the Jews (for having rejected Yeshua) have been rejected and cursed by God and that the Born Again Christians are now the true chosen people of God.

In the Torah, God told us how to worship him and how to treat each other; the rest of the Bible is a historical narrative showing not just how we all came to be, but how God has always kept his promises and guided us into righteousness. It is imperative that you know what God says and what religion says because they are so often, so different.

It is up to you to know the difference between what God has dictated to be the way you should worship and live, and what some religion tells you is how you should worship and live, because as sad as it is, there are way too many things they disagree on.

You will be judged not on what your religion tells you is right, but on what God says is right, so make sure you know the difference before you choose because your eternal life depends on it.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know, subscribe to both my YouTube channel and my website, and remember that I always welcome your comments.

If you are interested in the different lies about the Messiah within both Judaism and Christianity, then get my latest book, “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews, Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah.”

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

Parashah Vayyera 2021 (And he appeared) Genesis 18 – 22

In this parashah, we read about the three angels coming to Abraham and telling him that next year Sarah will have a son. They also tell him about their mission to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleads for the righteous men in the city (probably thinking about his nephew, Lot) and God allows Abraham to haggle with him, getting God to agree to not destroy the cities if only 10 righteous men are found there.

Well, we know that never happened, and as the angels literally pull Lot and his family away from the place, Lot’s wife looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt.

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Because Lot’s wife is dead, his two daughters decide that they will make sure his lineage doesn’t disappear, so they get him drunk and sleep with him, the oldest the first night and the youngest the second night, each becoming pregnant and bringing forth the kingdoms of the Moabites and the Ammonites.

Later, as Abraham enters the kingdom of Abimelech, we read how he pimped his wife, Sarah, to save his own life. Her true relationship with Abraham was soon discovered and God kept her from being defiled. When Abimelech, the king of Gerar learned of this deception, he asked Abraham why he did such a terrible thing, and Abraham excused his behavior saying he didn’t think anyone there feared God and would kill him to have Sarah as a wife. Abimelech gave Abraham sheep and goats to pay the bride’s price so that Sarah wasn’t shamed, but sent Abraham on his way.

Sarah gives birth to Isaac, as God had promised she would, but when Hagar’s son is found teasing Isaac, Sarah sends Hagar and Ishmael into the desert. God saves them from dying and promises Hagar that Ishmael will also be a great man and father of many nations because he is the son of Abraham.

Chapter 22 is known as The Akedah, the Binding of Isaac, and is considered by most to be a messianic passage indicating how God will sacrifice his own son, Yeshua the Messiah, in the future. The chapter retells the testing of Abraham’s faith in that God demands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son and the son of the promise. Abraham acts immediately to obey God, and only at the last moment is Abraham’s hand stayed and Isaac saved. A ram is caught in a bush, and Abraham sacrifices the ram instead of Isaac.

The parashah ends with Abraham going to settle in Beersheba.

    Here is an interesting thing you may not know: as a memorial to the ram that
    replaced Isaac, the shofar is usually made from a ram's horn instead of some 
    other clean animal's horn.  

Oy gevalt! There is just SO much in here I could spend a year talking about all that we can learn from this one parashah. But don’t worry- I am actually going to keep it short.

I want to talk about the dangers of “reading things” into what is written in the Bible. Too often people want the Bible to mean what they want it to mean, and to get that result they read between the lines, or conclude something that fits into the storyline but isn’t really justified by what is written.

A good example of what I am talking about is in this parashah, in fact, right at the beginning. But first, a quick background story.

When I was in Israel on a 10-day tour in 2016, the guide (who was terrific!) was telling us what the Bible says about each place we visited. As we were driving along one day, we were talking about Abraham being visited by the angels. The guide said that this visitation happened on the third day of Abraham’s circumcision, which is the most painful day. Yet, because Abraham was so humble and obedient, he was willing to get up, despite his pain, and make sure these visitors were treated correctly.

Well, I immediately asked if that was from the Talmud, which Yosi (the guide) confirmed. So this wasn’t a biblical story, or even mentioned at all in the Bible, but some Rabbi, at some time, decided that because the previous chapter ended with the circumcision of Abraham and his household, the visitation must have been right after that event. And, wanting to emphasize the holiness of Abraham, he created this storyline.

Well, we all know that the Bible is not always in chronological order, and even though this Talmudic story makes sense, it is NOT a biblical fact: it is something being read into the storyline from the Bible.

So what’s the problem? Does it really matter if Abe was hurting or not? Overall, no- it isn’t going to change anything if it was true or not, but there is an inherent danger to this sort of activity. When we make something we think might be into something that is, such as Yosi telling this as if it was a factual event from the Bible, then we are flirting with spiritual disaster.

Anyone who has been studying the Bible for a while will know when something someone says is in the Bible, isn’t, and they can correct that person (lovingly, of course.) But if you don’t know the Bible that well, which is the condition most people are in (yes, even Believers), then you can be easily misled. Religion is built on misleading people, and the fact there are so many different religions, each one having a different understanding of the Bible and what God says or doesn’t say and what is allowed and what is not, is proof of how easily people are misled.

At the bottom of my website home page, I quote Hosea, who said his people are destroyed by lack of knowledge.

Even well-meaning people, such as our guide, can mislead others away from the truth in the Bible to what they want the truth to be. I was with 22 other Believers, many of whom had been Born Again Christians for many years, some of whom were actually Ministers, and they didn’t have any idea that this story about Abraham wasn’t from the Bible! That scares the heck out of me…what about you?

So, with all the wonderful things that we can learn from this parashah, I am only going to give this one caveat: know the Bible!

Read the Bible, learn the Bible, study the Bible and be prepared to identify and correct anyone- no matter who that person is- when they teach something not found in the Bible.

You might just be saving a soul from damnation.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to my website and YouTube channel. While on the website, check out my books: I just published my 4th book, “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews, Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah”. I believe you will find it to be in line with today’s message because there are so many things people have been taught about Yeshua that are not biblically justified, but taught that way.

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

Parashah Noach 2021 (Noah) Genesis 6:9 – 11:32

We read today the story of Noah.

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Noah was the only righteous man in a world of violence and God, seeing that the world needed a reboot, had Noah, his wife, sons, and daughter-in-law all survive the flood God was to send to destroy all life on earth (except the fish, of course) by building an ark and taking a representative of each of the animals. Of the clean animals, there were 7 pairs (male and female) and of the unclean only one pair.

We all know about the 40 days of rain until the earth was completely covered, the 150 days of floating around, then finally the waters begin to recede and eventually, after more than a year, Noah and his family came to ground on Mount Ararat and left the ark, setting free the animals. Noah sacrifices to God and God makes a covenant never again to destroy the earth by flood, placing a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of the covenant.

This covenant is known as the Noahide Covenant and is the first one that God made with mankind. It encompasses the restrictions of cruelty to animals, eating of blood, laws regarding torts, and sets the foundation for the succeeding covenants to come.

Remember this important fact about the covenants God made with us: they have always been complementary, not exclusionary, meaning that each succeeding covenant -the Abrahamic, the Mosaic, the Davidic, and lastly the New Covenant- all have included and built upon the previous covenants. No covenant God has made has ever overruled or removed any aspect or requirement of the previous covenant.

This parashah tells us of the sin of Ham, who saw his drunken and naked father and made fun of it, resulting in Noah cursing him and his descendants. Speaking of descendants, we are told the generations of Noah and his children, and the story of the Tower of Babel is given.

This parashah ends taking us through the generations after Noah until we come to Abram settling in the Chaldees.

As I was going through my Chumash, there was a commentary when I came to the part where Noah gets drunk and Ham sees him lying passed out on the floor, showing the family jewels to everyone. The commentary states that most children’s versions of the Bible leave this out, assuming it is too “adult” for the children to have to hear, but that it should not be excluded because of the valuable lesson it teaches.

That lesson is children must respect their parents, and that means even when their parents do something foolish or make mistakes, the children should be respectful and not make fun of them. The example in my Chumash was regarding parents who cannot speak the language as well as their children (I think it used that example because this Chumash dates from the early 20th Century when many immigrants were still coming into the country and having language issues), but in modern times we could use the example of seniors having trouble with computer skills.

The youth of today (I am talking Millennials and younger) demonstrate a sense of entitlement and are very accusatory of their elders. They blame the previous generations for all their problems and have recently even tried to not just ignore history, but do away with it by tearing down statues. This disrespect not just for history but for their parents and their grandparents, who made that history, whether for good or bad, is a sin.

God makes it clear that children must honor their parents when he spells it out in the Ten Commandments, and we see the root of the need for this right here in this parashah, which took place nearly 450 years earlier.

So where does this disrespect stem from? If you ask me, it stems from the parents, many of whom in the last 2 or 3 generations have been more concerned with being their children’s friend than being their parent. We have become a society of overly sensitive babies, crying “Ouch” at every word or intonation that is aimed at us.

I grew up with the adage, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Today it is more like, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can be a felony.”

Words can hurt, no doubt about it, but the significant difference between when I grew up and today is that I was toughened up to ignore the words that are hurtful. The kids today can’t handle being told they did a bad job!

I had been a mentor for people learning how to be Docents (guides) at a popular zoo and when I told some of them that they needed to get better at answering questions, some of them actually cried! And guess who got in trouble for that? Yes, I did! For pointing out what they did wrong, in order to make them better at what they wanted to do, I was wrong. Imagine that.

And no, I didn’t yell, I didn’t say nasty things or insult them, I simply asked them why they didn’t listen to what I told them to do and that they needed to better learn the facts about the animals.

This was a number of years ago, but from what I see in the world, it hasn’t gotten any better. We are a society of wimps, and that is why America is spiraling down, no longer able to brag about our “can-do” attitude because what it is today is more of a “you have to do it for me” attitude.

And if you ask me, it all begins with a lack of respect for our parents, which was fostered by parents being afraid to punish and control their children. As a parent, your first and most important responsibility is to provide the basic needs for your children- food, water, shelter, and (of course) love. Next, you should make sure that they are self-sufficient, and this is where many parents have failed. Children can’t be alone- I see parents picking up their children from school in nice neighborhoods when they live less than a quarter of a mile away. Let the kid walk it, and if you are afraid of predators, teach the kids to walk in groups and how to avoid the predators.

The disrespect Ham showed to his father was unjustified and the cause was in Ham, but in my opinion, today the cause of this disrespect is from the way parents coddle and dote on their kids. The example a parent who dotes and coddles their child makes is one of weakness and fear of rejection. Kids pick up on this, and it will never earn the respect their children should have for them and will result in adults who will not be able to teach their kids to be strong, self-sufficient members of society.

Leadership has to be strong and constant, and if the parents aren’t able to handle stress or being treated meanly by other people, how can they teach their children to do so?

We are a society of emotionally and spiritually weak people, and unless we teach our children to respect their parents by being parents who earn that respect, we are doomed.

Thank you for being there and please share these messages, subscribe to my website, YouTube channel, and like my Facebook page. You might also want to join my Facebook discussion group, Just God’s Word.

I have completed my 4th book, “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews, Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah”. It is available in paperback and Kindle format, and you can get it from Amazon books or use the link on my website.

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

Parashah Bereshith 2021 (In the beginning) Genesis 1 – 6:8

Welcome back to the beginning of the word of God. With Shemini Atzeret past us, we are now starting the annual cycle of readings from the Torah, all over again, and that puts us here, at the beginning where the Torah tells us all about the beginning.

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I don’t really need to go through what happens in this parashah, do I? Even the atheists know that God created the earth, separated the sea and the land, created the stars and the sun and the moon, the fish, the plants, the animals, and finally people. Later, when the earth was populated with sinful people, God decided that he needed to start this over again, and that the only one worth saving was Noah.

Hmm…looks like I went over it even though I said I didn’t need to go over it.

This parashah will undoubtedly bring up the age-old argument of Creationism vs. Evolution. But wait a minute! That argument isn’t really age-old, is it? Judaism has been around for nearly 6 Millennia, and this discussion has been around for barely 160 years, so it isn’t really age-old! In truth, it is very recent. So, why is it so new? Maybe, because before science became so important to people, they were very satisfied accepting that God was in charge and that what happens in the world is all his doing.

I love science and believe it is necessary for our existence, and to understand how things work is a good thing. But, science has the unfortunate side-effect with many people of displacing God.

Recently, though, many scientists are coming to the conclusion that because of the complexity and balance within the Universe that it couldn’t have been accidental- there is definitely an intelligence behind it.

Personally, I do not argue Creationism vs. Evolution, but make the argument for Intelligent Design. That seems, to me, to be the best compromise because it accepts that God created everything, but did so in a step-by-step process, allowing inferior species to become extinct while creating a more adaptable species to replace it.

The creation of the universe has been scientifically proven to be the result of a gigantic explosion. This was proven by the sensing of radio waves coming to earth from outer space, radio waves that would be the remains of a tremendous release of radiation from a super-explosion that occurred billions of years ago. The Bible tells us God created the universe with a thought or sometimes we read with a word. The thing that matters is that God made it happen, and so why not with a gigantic explosion? Why couldn’t God have reversed a Black Hole, releasing all the matter that had been condensed within its unmeasurable gravity?

As for the earth, the logical sequence in which things appeared couldn’t have been by accident. After all, evolution says the fish came on the land, but if the creation of life was accidental, why didn’t land creatures evolve before the fish? Or why couldn’t they have evolved together? Or why couldn’t have we have been formed from the start as we are now?

The invertebrate to fish to reptile to marsupial to mammal sequence clearly shows a continual improvement in adaptability. But if this was accidental, how come some species within the same genus died and others didn’t? And if this is how evolution works, then there will be a next level; will that result in homo sapiens who might still be around being enslaved by a superior form of humans? Will they still be human anymore, at least what we know a human is?

And if that is to happen, then it is still feasible to consider that God is behind it. In fact, from a strictly logical viewpoint, it makes more sense that there is some intelligence, far superior to ours, designing and improving the workmanship of life than to suppose these things are happening by accident, or more accurately, by some beneficial genetic mutation.

There have been many different mutations over the centuries, and how many of these have ever been recorded as beneficial to the species? Have any birth defects, which are a mutation of the genes, ever made those with them more adaptable to the environment?

Not from what I have ever seen or heard.

No. Even if I was an atheist, I would find it hard to justify accidental mutation as the reason there are so many viable living entities in the world. The odds of a bunch of rocks forming a planet just the exact right distance from the sun, with just the right atmosphere, just the right temperature, etc., to form life and sustain itself so well are astronomical. Our environment is so fragile in one respect and so adaptable in another that it has, for billions of years, not just survived but thrived.

The only threat to the world is mankind, and if mankind does become extinct, it won’t be by God’s doing- it will be our own fault.

Genesis says the universe and all life on earth was created in 6 days. Science says that happened over billions of years; because I believe in Intelligent Design, and also that God is beyond our understanding (which includes science) that when God told Moses to write 6 days, as far as God is concerned, those billions of years could easily have seemed like 6 days to him.

Frankly, none of this matters to me at all because my salvation is not based on creation or evolution but faith that God is God and Yeshua is the Messiah. If someone wants to believe all this happened by accident, I don’t argue with them.

However, I do feel a sense of pity for them because if everything happens by accident, what hope can they have? None.

I believe God created everything in the universe and that the evolution of the earth’s species over the millennia has been by his design. I also believe that he is going to stop at our current state of development.

Why now? Because he has told us that when he sends the Messiah for the last time (which is the next time since Yeshua has already been here once), that he will create a new earth for those who are to be saved and we will live in God’s presence for all eternity.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty final to me.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages; subscribe to the website and my YouTube channel and like my Facebook page. My books are available for sale (my 4th one will be out soon, which is going to debunk many traditional lies about Yeshua) and I always welcome your comments.

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

Parashah Nitzavim 2021(Standing) Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30

This is the first parashah message I have given in nearly three weeks, due to vacations and such, so it is nice to be back.

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

Moses has just finished giving the people his discourse on what will happen when they obey the Lord, which will be blessings upon blessings in the land. And he also told them what will happen when they reject God and disobey: they will suffer curses upon curses, leading to death, destruction, and ultimately ejection from their land.

Now he holds them, as well as their offspring there with them that day and those that haven’t even been born yet, to cleave onto God and his Torah; otherwise, the destruction he told them God will send upon them will happen. Then, prophetically, Moses tells them that after they reject God, and after all these terrors and curses come on them, and after they have been dispersed among all the nations, they will finally turn their hearts back to God who will then bring them back into their land.

Let’s talk about one of the things Moses tells the people, which is that those who know the Torah and what God wants, but secretly say to themselves (as if we could keep any secrets from God!) that they will still do whatever their sinful heart’s desire is to do, well, they will be found out and separated from the people.

He says that if anyone thinks that because he or she is among the righteous that God will not destroy them because the righteous provide a sort of protection, like fish swimming in a school, well…that ain’t gonna work! God will seek out and find the ones who purposefully defy him and they will suffer.

I wondered why anyone thought God would ignore their sins just because they are among righteous people. Perhaps they got this idea from the story of Abraham negotiating with God for Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33)? After all, Abraham sort of called God out, asking why the judge of the earth would destroy the righteous with the unrighteous, and God went along with him, promising not to destroy the entire city if he found as few as 10 righteous men in it.

We all know what happened with that

But this is not the case, anymore. These people aren’t the pagans living in Sodom, no- these are God’s chosen, the ones he brought out of Egypt, and they are seen by God as one people, a single unit. If one should sin, they are all guilty, especially if they do not do something about it.

What about us, today? Do we see sin and do nothing about it? The answer is a resounding, “You bet!”, but to some degree, there isn’t a whole lot we can do. We can’t stone sinners we know, we cannot remove people from public office without going through the proper channels, which could take years. We cannot just move to another town or country as they could back then because our society is so much more complex and interwoven.

No, we see sin and we want to do something about it, but in many ways we are helpless, and that is really sad because God will punish the sinful country, and the good and the bad alike will suffer.

What we can do is maintain our faith and be an example to the sinners of how they should live. Throughout the Tanakh, God has stated that even though the good people will have to drink from the same cup of his fury that the evil will drink from, those who remain faithful and obedient will survive. Even if our lives are the only thing we retain, that will be more than what the sinful will have.

By the way, for the record, you really can’t be faithful without obedience.

So as things continue to spiral downward in the world, as is happening in America this very day, steel yourself for more because the worst is yet to come. Maintain faith, read the Torah so you can know for yourself what God says you should do. Too many people have been brought up believing what humans have told them to do, instead of knowing and doing what God says to do.

And I think you already know this: God will not give up his authority to a Pope, a Rabbi, a Minister, or a Priest. I don’t care what traditional Christian drek you have been told about the Torah, which is usually that Yeshua (Jesus) made obedience to the Torah obsolete for Christians because that is NOT what he taught. The fact is most modern Christian doctrine was created by Constantine and the Council of Nicene, nearly three hundred years after Yeshua!

So many times I hear Christians decry man-made traditions while living their entire spiritual and physical life obeying nothing BUT man-made traditions! Yeshua obeyed God, and if you have been told you should “Do as Jesus does”, well, that is a good thing. The problem is too few Christians have any idea what Jesus did, and go by what they have been told by men they should do, based on misunderstanding and misconstruing the letters that a man, Shaul (Paul) wrote to his different congregations, all of which were having inter-personal and faith-related problems.

It’s real easy: read the Bible, the whole Bible, and just look for what God says you should do, then do your best to do it. You will know what God says because it will come directly from him or through his prophets, and you will find it only in the Tanakh because God didn’t give any new or different instructions in the New Covenant.

And Yeshua never said to disobey or ignore his Father.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages to help this ministry continue to grow, and check out my books from the website.

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

Parashah Re’eh 2021 (Behold) Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17

The Lord commands the people that when they have entered the land they are to go to Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, and with the people split into two groups, some on the one mountain and the rest on the other mountain, they are to announce to the land the blessings and curses that God will give them.

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Moses further relates that God also commands the people, once they are in the land, to utterly destroy all of the pagan altars, standing stones, and every remnant of the religious articles of the people they conquered.

God tells the people they are not to sacrifice anywhere they want to, but only where God will choose to place his name.

The other warnings that Moses gives deal with false prophets, and that a religious seducer (someone trying to get the people to follow pagan practices) must be killed as an example, even if members of one’s own family.

The laws regarding Kashrut (Kosher) and holiness are repeated, as are the rules for tithing and the Year of Release, treatment of slaves, and the Pilgrimage Festivals.

What I would like to talk about is the passage where God says we must not sacrifice unless it is where he says we should. Initially, this was at the Tent of Meeting which, during the time of the Judges, was located in Shiloh. Later, King David moved it to Jerusalem, and when King Solomon completed the Temple God then said that is where his name shall reside.

So why was it so terrible to sacrifice elsewhere? Isn’t God everywhere? If I sacrifice to him in my backyard, why is that different than in Jerusalem?

I’ll tell you why: because when we do whatever we want to do, we screw it all up.

The pagans would sacrifice under large trees and on the high places and God didn’t want us to do what they did, in any shape or form. In the Book of Judges, we read no less than three times that there was no king, and the people did as they wanted to. We know by reading that book, that every time the Israelites did what they wanted to, they ended up doing the wrong thing and were punished.

God gives us instructions for worship and treatment of others, and these are not just so that he can demonstrate his authority over us: he gives these to us so we can be protected. He is trying to keep us from harming ourselves, and I don’t mean falling off a ladder or burning our hands, but condemning ourselves to hell for all eternity. When we ignore what God says we should do, we ignore God.

This is a lesson that, unfortunately, Christianity hasn’t learned. They ignore most of the instructions God gave and justify it by referencing what men said, men like Paul, Peter, and James. And even though there are many good things that these men said, none of them is God, and not one of the Apostles or anyone after them has professed himself to be a prophet, hearing directly from God.

When King Solomon dedicated the temple in Jerusalem, the Jewish people had a place where they could go to be forgiven of their sins. That was the only place, and when the Romans destroyed it in 73 AD, the Jewish people were devastated because now there was no means of receiving forgiveness.

This is why they have to accept Yeshua as their Messiah because the resurrection of Yeshua was, in a way, a replacement of God’s name.

God said we could only sacrifice at the temple, and that has never changed, but when God raised Yeshua as a sign of his sacrifice being accepted, Yeshua then replaced the need to bring an animal to the temple. The commandment that we cannot sacrifice anywhere except where God places his name still exists and is valid; the only thing that has changed is where God put his name, which is now “on” Yeshua.

By accepting Yeshua as our Messiah, we have a new place where the sacrifice for sin is acceptable to God; through Yeshua, we can ask forgiveness without having to make a sacrifice at the temple.

All the other instructions in the Torah still stand- there is no “Get Out of Jail Free” card just because someone accepts Yeshua as their Messiah. We are ALL still expected to obey what God said we should do in the Torah.

Through Yeshua God has made forgiveness available to everyone, and he did it without ever changing his Torah.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages and check out my Facebook discussion group called Just God’s Word.

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

Parashah Ekev 2021 (Because) Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25

Moses continues to advise the Israelites that when they obey the Lord’s instructions they will be blessed. God will go ahead of them into the land and slowly weaken the people there so that they will be more easily defeated.

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Moses reminds the people how God has tested them, afflicting them when they ignored him and yet, keeping them alive and protected for 40 years while they were in the desert.

Moses again warns the people that when they have settled in the land and are happy and safe, that they should not abandon God or think that they have all they do because of anything they did. He tells them that when they do that, the Lord will drive them out of the land, just as he did the ones that were there before them.

This discourse continues, reminding the people of the sin of the Golden Calf, God separating the Levites for service to him, and how he, Moses, suffered for them to have God spare them and give him the 10 Words, again.

Over and over Moses tells the people to remember all that God did for them and what happens, or will happen, when they reject God. He relates the story of the rebellion under Dathan and Abiram and pleads with the people to maintain their faithful obedience to God so that it will go well with them when they are in the land.

When I read this book, I sometimes think the name should be the Book of Redundancy. Over and over, and over, and over Moses tells the people the same darn thing: when they obey God’s commandments they will be blessed; when they reject God, they will be cursed and driven out of the land. He says this so many times, that you’d think the people would reply, “All right already! I get it!”

But history shows that they really didn’t get it.

Despite the many miraculous demonstrations of God’s power and ability to save, the people were no different then than they are now: if it is right here in front of me, I see and know, but once I am on my own, I don’t care and will do what I want to.

Even with strong and righteous leaders, such as Moses, Joshua, and many of the Judges, later on, people need to be strictly controlled in order to remain righteous. We desire to do evil, which is called iniquity, and it is part of our DNA! What we really need is to be strictly controlled by strong and righteous leadership in order to keep us in line.

So what can we do? If you’re asking me, and even if you’re not, I believe the only thing to do is for each individual to determine what they want from eternity. This life is temporary, and quite short, even insignificant compared to forever, but it is all the time we have been given to decide where we want to spend eternity.

And what is worse is that we never know when our time is up!

So do as Moses wanted his people to do, and faithfully accept that God is the one to listen to: not Moses, or your Rabbi, or the Talmud, or the Pope, or your Pastor, Minister, or Saint Paul, or non-Believing family or friends, but G-O-D.

And God tells you exactly what he expects from you here, in this Torah. Nowhere else in the entire Bible does God say what he wants us to do, how we are to worship him (Leviticus 23) or what we are to eat (Leviticus 11) or what kind of intimate relationships are righteous (Leviticus 18), and other ordinances and regulations found throughout the Torah that outline the kind of society and lifestyle we should have.

People think that religion is the way we are to worship God, but it isn’t. God has no religion, but people created religion in order to have power over other people, and the best way to disobey God is to obey a religion.

If you want God’s blessings, all you have to do is live your life the way God said you should. It’s really that simple: the reason there are so many different ways to do that is that religion has confused everything.

And for those who refuse to believe in God, or accept that Yeshua really IS the Messiah God promised to send, well…you’re on your own.

Good luck with that.

If I may, I suggest you check your history books because every civilization that rejected the God of Israel or came against Israel has been so decimated that it has never recovered its full strength, or is no longer in existence. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Spain, and more currently the Nazis- all gone. And no matter how many times Syria or Jordan or Iran or Iraq or anyone else surrounding Israel tries to defeat and destroy them, they fail.

Not because of how great Israel is, but because of how great God is, and as long as Israel tries to do as God has commanded them, they will continue to survive and flourish.

God isn’t just for Israel, though- the good news for everyone else is that this is possible for them, too; all they have to do is reject their religion and worship God as he said to do.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages, and check out my books on my website. I have a Facebook page and discussion group called Just God’s Word which everyone is invited to join, so long as you agree to the rules.

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