From: Messianic Bible
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2012 2:07 PM
Welcome to this week’s Torah Portion, which is called Re’eh (See!)
This Torah portion will be read during Shabbat (Saturday 18.09.2012) morning services in synagogues around the world. Enjoy!
Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17; Isaiah 54:11–55:5; John 7:37–52
“See [re’eh], I set before you this day a blessing and a curse…” (Deuteronomy 11:26)
A path on a hill outside the Old City of Jerusalem
Last week, in Parsha Eikev, Moses promised the Israelites that they would prosper in the Promised Land if they fulfilled the commandments of the Torah. He also described the rewards of fulfilling those commandments and the exile associated with forsaking them.
This week, Parsha Re’eh begins with an appeal to choose a path in life that leads to blessing.
This Parsha reveals that God has endowed each of us with free will and the ability to make choices – for good or for evil, for blessing or for curse. These are the two courses are that presented to Israel here, and each Israelite is free to choose.
The future of the nation rests upon their decision, and all Moses can do is show them the way.
A life of obedience to God and His commandments will lead to certain blessing, but turning away from God into idolatry will surely bring curses on the individuals and the nation.
God wants us to have the vision to see that the choices we make in life create consequences with which we are required to live.
Jewish Mother and son holding English/ Hebrew
version of the Torah (first five books of the Bible)
A Bright Future
“But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.” (Deuteronomy 12:23)
God placed a special calling upon the nation of Israel to be a holy nation and royal priesthood.
They were not to worship the Lord in the way of the pagans, but were to wipe out all traces of heathenism in the Promised Land, even destroying the images and names of all foreign gods (Deuteronomy 12:2–3).
One of the heathen practices forbidden for God’s people is the eating or drinking of blood.
This prohibition, which is found in Deuteronomy 12:16, 23, and 24, prevents the despicable practice of eating something while it is alive, and even cannibalism. It underlines the sanctity of life and the importance of compassion to all creatures great and small.
According to the Bible, among mammals, only those that chew their cud
and have cloven hooves are kosher (fit) for eating. After an animal is
slaughtered by a trained individual called a shochet, it must be examined to
ensure that it had no medical condition or defect that might have caused
the animal to die within a year. During the koshering process, as much
blood as as possible is removed from the meat through soaking and salting.
And in case you are wondering, it is okay to eat a rare steak as long as the
meat is kosher because the blood has already been removed. This does
not apply to blood rich organ meat like liver, which must be thoroughly
cooked or roasted.
Verse 25 also repeats this commandment: “Do not eat it [blood].” And why not? “…so that it may go well with you and your children after you.” (Deuteronomy 12:25)
Notice here the consequence of obedience. When we do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, we and our children have a bright future. What a promise! That’s something to hold on to.
“Do not eat it, so that it may go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 12: 25)
Biblically kosher meat must have all the blood drained out of it before eating. The main purpose of the Jewish method of the slaughter and salting of meat is to drain away the blood.
It’s a bitter irony that the one people whose faith forbids the eating of blood would suffer from the ‘blood libel’ – false accusations by non-Jews who spread the anti-Semitic lies that Jews were performing ritual murder and using human blood for Jewish religious purposes.
One ridiculous lie invented to incite hatred towards Jewish people is that Jews use human blood to bake matzah (unleavened bread) for Passover!
Passover wine and matzah (unleavened bread)
From the Middle Ages until recent times, this fiction was used to incite outrage among the masses, which led to the pogroms in which millions of Jews were massacred.
In 1935, Nazi leaders infamously used the satanic lie of blood libel in their campaign against the Jewish People to infect Germany with a hatred of its Jewish population.
Relevance for Believers
For those wondering if the commandment forbidding the eating of blood is relevant for Gentile Believers, it’s worth noting that such a prohibition was stipulated by the Jerusalem Council, which occurred around AD 50.
In the Book of Acts, James, the half brother of Yeshua (Jesus), made the following ruling:
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” (Acts 15:19–20)
This command is so important that it is repeated several times in Scripture. Why would Scripture devote so much attention to the blood?
Amazingly, the Bible gives us a verifiable scientific fact as an answer to this question: “the life of the body is in its blood. (Leviticus 17:11)”
Blood transports the oxygen that keeps the body alive. It also helps rid the body of harmful waste products, heal the body through disease-fighting cells that it carries, and repair the body from injury, among other functions.
But God also gives an additional, perhaps related reason: blood is the instrument of atonement.
In Leviticus 17:11, we read that “the life of a creature is in the blood and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”
Furthermore, because of the blood that Yeshua (Jesus), the perfect Lamb of God, shed for sin, atonement was made once and for all for our sins (Hebrews 9:28).
“Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!” (Romans 5:9, see also Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 2:13)
A Yeshiva (Orthodox Jewish seminary) in Israel
Whose Heart is Loyal?
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in them whose heart is committed [loyal] toward Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
The Word of God contains many other commandments; however, the highest expression of our obedience to God is loyalty. God is actually on the lookout over all the earth for loyal, committed people.
He requires such unwavering allegiance that He says in this Torah portion, “If anyone should try to entice you secretly to seek after and serve other gods, even from amongst our closest family member or friend, you must put him to death.” (Deuteronomy 13:7-11)
Any attempt to seduce a Jewish person away from the One True God carried the most severe penalty in the Tanakh (Old Testament) – death by stoning.
Since Jesus is widely considered a ‘false god’ that Gentile Christians worship, it’s easy to understand why most Jewish people object vehemently to any missionary activity.
The day will come, however, when Yeshua will no longer be seen as a foreign god by the Jewish people, but as their Jewish Messiah and brother.
Messianic Prophecy of Zechariah
“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.” (Zechariah 12:10)
It’s interesting to note that this Messianic prophecy states specifically that the wives will mourn separately (Zechariah 12:12–14).
Since only the Orthodox Jews have the custom to separate men and women during religious rituals and worship, this perhaps suggests that the Orthodox Jews will come to recognize that Yeshua is the Messiah.
Orthodox Jewish man reading Scriptures
A Special Treasure
The rest of the Parsha deals with the laws of holiness. Israel is a holy nation unto the Lord. The Hebrew word for holy is kadosh, which means to be ‘set apart or sanctified for dedicated service.’
Out of all the nations on the face of the earth, God chose Israel to be His own special treasure (segulah).
All true followers of Yeshua are also God’s segulah:“a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
Through the blood of Yeshua, those who were formerly Gentiles have been grafted into the olive tree, becoming fellow citizens in the family of God. (Ephesians 2:11–13, Romans 11:17)
Paul prayed that the eyes of our understanding would be opened to see the hope of our calling in Yeshua.
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18)
Further on in Ephesians 4:1, he urges us “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”
This means we should be deliberately making choices every day to walk in the ways of God. And when we walk in the ways of God, we will live holy lives.
A Jewish girl enjoying a bowl of matzah ball soup, which is
essentially chicken broth with dumplings. Delicious!
Am Kadosh—A Holy People
“You shall not eat any abominable thing.” (Deuteronomy 14:3)
In terms of maintaining a holy lifestyle, it’s interesting to note that one of the first aspects that God addresses in the lives of His holy people (am kadosh) is food!
Biblical dietary laws (kashrut) serve to maintain the separateness of God’s people from the pagan nations.
Certain animals are ‘clean’ (tahor) and others are ‘unclean’ (tamay). Unclean meats may be sold to a foreigner but are not permitted for holy people (Deuteronomy 14:21).
Later on in the Parsha, God reveals that holiness expresses itself in love of our neighbor. He commands Israel to be generous in giving to the poor and needy in the Land:
“You shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your needy brother; but you shall surely open your hand unto him….” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8)
The poor will always be with us (Deuteronomy 15: 11), and Scripture makes it abundantly clear that we are to give generously to the poor and needy in the Land.
God promises that if we obey Him in this, then He would bless us in whatever we put our hand to.
“If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded… then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.” (Deuteronomy 15:7–10)
The Church might be missing out on their greatest blessing if they fail to realize the importance of this command.
God made a promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) and to their descendants that He will bless those who bless the Jewish people (Israel) and curse those who curse the Jewish people (Israel) (Genesis 12:3).
The Mea shearim neighborhood in the heart of Jerusalem.
The apostle Paul exhorted the Church to give materially in exchange for all they have received spiritually through the Jews (Romans 15:25-27).
“For salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22)
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May the God of Israel bless you in all that you put your hand to, and may you experience peace this Shabbat. Shabbat Shalom from all of our ministry staff !
I will bless those who bless Israel. (Genesis 12:3)
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