The Hebrew Scriptures are not readily or easily understood by native English speakers, we post a weekly addition to regular Torah commentary. "Cutting to the Root" is intended to promote an understanding of the complexity of the Hebrew language and thereby gain a richer and deeper understanding of the Scriptures. It is our goal that these notes will teach tolerance and understanding.Please visit our web site at www.shefaisrael.com
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Haftara: Isaiah 43:21-44:23
Reading date: 3rd May 2008 – 28th Nissan 5768
19:2 This parasha begins with the instruction to the nation to become a holy people. They are to emulate YHVH as much as possible. As Messiah Yeshua is our yard stick Paul and John teach that we are to be in His likeness (Phil. 3:21 and 1Jn 3:2).
19:5-8 Offerings can be disqualified by improper intentions at the time of the service. It is not enough to carry out the commandments mechanically; one must perform them with the right intentions as well. This applies to all offerings made to YHVH and not only to the sacrificial offerings.
19:9-10 Even to this day the adherence to this command is seen in Israel.
19:13 Not only is a workman due his wages but he is also due them on time.
19:14 Very simple and moral commands in the natural but consider the spiritual. One may not give bad or incorrect advice or instruction to those who are unsuspecting. A good example of is the dearth of people teaching the Hebraic understanding of the Word and not only do they fail to understand the cultural implications of the text but many also do not read or speak Hebrew! It would be the same as someone teaching you English but does not speak or understand English. For many years I have always said, even as a Hebrew speaker, “Do not believe a word that I say, I want you to check it out for yourselves.” As men we are all fallible and sometimes lazy, the onus is on us personally to make sure that what we are being taught is correct ad not just an ‘ear tickle’.
19:15 It is wrong to judge in favor of a poor man so that he will be supported in his dignity. Justice must always be rendered honestly and in keeping with the Torah.
19:18 This is a verse that was used by Akiva, Hillel and Yeshua (and probably many others) to teach about or relationships with out fellow men.
19:19 This is a very deep verse in scripture and needs to be meditated upon and considered. The Hebrew word “sha’atnez” has no other interpretation other than a ‘forbidden mixture’. The command in every sense is not to mix things that are not of the same type. This I would suggest is one of the reasons that marriages between people of different cultures very often do not succeed.
19:21 In English we read that the offender is to bring his ‘guilt offering’ to YHVH but in the Hebrew we read that he is to bring his ‘guilt’ to YHVH. The guilt needs to be placed on the altar. It is not like paying a parking fine! This gives a very different understanding in the working of repentance and restoration.
19:23 ‘When you shall come to the Land…’ The ‘orla’ and the ‘shmittah’ laws apply only to those in the Land of Israel. Those living in other parts of the world who want to exercise these ‘mitzvoth’ could do so as preparation for the time that they will be returned to the Land.
19:23-25 All fruits from the first three years of a newly planted tree or its grafted shoots are forbidden or any conceivable use, and those of the fourth year are holy and are to be eaten in Jerusalem.
19:27 The sages teach us that we are not to cut or side burns or to destroy the edge of our beards. The interpretations of the verse are many. Most hold that it applies to total removal – i.e. that men should not be clean shaven but can be neat!
19:28 There is a lot of resistance to this verse particularly amongst younger people. Torah is very clear that tattoos are forbidden. The question of how to deal with them is not always easily answered but people once understanding Torah should not for any reason take a tattoo.
19:30 In the middle of all these ‘do not’s’ we are reminded to honor the Sabbath and the Tabernacle, the dwelling place of YHVH.
19:31 ‘Do not turn to the Ovot and Yidonim’ – ‘Ovot’ are evil spirits (aggressively so) and not the patriarchs as some people have incorrectly translated and ‘Yidonim’ are fortunetellers or oracles. These people are not to be confused with prophets.
19:32 One can easily violate this command by pretending not to have noticed. Therefore, the Torah cautions us to revere YHVH, who knows our true intentions (Rashi).
19:35-36 A business man who falsifies weights and measures is likened to a judge who perverts justice.
20:9 The word ‘ish’ – man - is repeated in this verse. Whenever we find this occurrence in the Torah it is not an error but an attempt to bring the importance of the matter before us. In this case failing to honor our parents or even worse to curse them carries the death penalty. For those of you who have read our article on restoration will realize the severity of a sin that carries the death penalty and the action we need to take in order to forgiven and restored.
20:10-21 These verses contain the punishment to be dealt out for the transgressions mentioned in 18:6-23.
20:17 The word ‘chesed’ has two meanings: ‘kindness’ and ‘disgrace’. The two are related, because the disgrace of immorality is the product of overindulgence (Radak).
20: 25-26 This chapter closes with a plea to avoid forbidden foods. Correct eating is a prerequisite for holiness as set out in 11:44.
20:27 This verse refers back to 19:31 to which the penalty for this transgression is also death. When Torah says that their blood is upon themselves it means that they alone bear the responsibility for their actions. I wonder if for this transgression, as their blood upon themselves, the atoning blood of Yeshua is effective in instances like these. I would be happy to hear comments on this.
This sin should symbolize the difference between Israel and the other nations. If we serve YHVH properly, He will bless us with prophets and we will have no need of fortune tellers and soothsayers.