This weeks blog is a very difficult thing for me to talk to because it is something that I am still struggling with, but something that is very clear is going on in the world.
Christianity seems to me to be a religion that is obsessed with what we do and not who we are, everything in it is revolved around being saved from doing bad things. Judaism on the other hand seems to ask questions not of what we do but of who we are. Also, the question of what is the purpose of the Mitzvah’s is raised and I think properly answered by the Ramban, and Rebbe Nachman of Breslav. Of course, that does not mean that I reject Yeshua as Messiah, however, I do think it takes an interesting view on how Orthodox Jews view Yeshua and Christianity- I think Orthodox Judaism is correct on Christianity but wrong on Yeshua. I would hold that Yeshua teaches the keeping of Torah from the view later espoused by Ramban and Orthodox Judaism and rejects the views held by most of Christianity on Torah. Rashi is the foundation for my understanding of the Torah as he is a world renown leader in P’shat interpretation of Torah. The interesting thing about this Rashi of course is that it seems to be a favorite of Yeshua’s regarding his explanation of taking some leniencies on Shabbos.
Let’s begin with this Rashi –
“You shall pick up [the load]: This is [the obligation of] טְעִינָה,“loading,” [i.e.,] to load up a burden that has fallen off it [the animal, as opposed to פְּרִיקָה, “unloading” a burden too heavy for the animal, delineated in Exod. 23:5]. — [B.M. 32a]
[You shall pick up (the load)] with him: [I.e.,] with the owner. However, if the owner walks away, sits down, and says, “Since the commandment is incumbent upon you, if you want to load, [go ahead and] load!” you are exempt. — [B.M. 32a]
Here we see that Yeshua is in line with the discussion going on in the Gemara which actually seems to agree and go hand in hand. Yeshua’s argument of course is that kindness, and to give honor and glory to our true father Hashem is the goal of Shabbos. Note here the focus on kindness and love of Hashem together with the fear of Hashem working together both in the Gemara and in the words of our beloved Rebbe.
“The Gemara infers: The reason that a priest must not obey his father’s command to become impure is because the Merciful One writes: “You shall observe My Shabbatot; I am the Lord”; but if it were not so, I would say that the child must obey him. The Gemara asks: But why? This obligation to obey a parent is a positive mitzva, as it is written: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12), and that obligation of a priest to refrain from becoming impure is both a prohibition: “To the dead among his people he shall not defile himself” (Leviticus 21:1), and a positive mitzva: “You shall be holy” (Leviticus 19:2); and the principle is that a positive mitzva does not come and override a prohibition and a positive mitzva.
איצטריך ס"ד אמינא הואיל והוקש כיבוד אב ואם לכבודו של מקום שנאמר כאן (שמות כ, יא) כבד את אביך ואת אמך ונאמר להלן (משלי ג, ט) כבד את ה' מהונך הלכך לציית ליה קמ"ל דלא לשמע ליה:
The Gemara answers that the derivation from “You shall observe My Shabbatot; I am the Lord” was necessary, as it might enter your mind to say: Since honoring one’s father and mother is equated to the honor of the Omnipresent, as it is stated here: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12), and it is stated elsewhere: “Honor the Lord with your wealth” (Proverbs 3:9), therefore, one might have thought that the priest must obey his father’s command to become impure. Therefore, the Torah teaches us that the priest is commanded not to listen to him.”
And our Rebbe King Moshiach, Yeshua ben Yosef- states here:
“At that time Yeshua went through the grain fields on Shabbat. His disciples became hungry and began to pluck heads of grain and eat them. But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not permitted on Shabbat.” But He said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he became hungry, and those with him? How he entered into the house of God, and they ate the showbread, which was not permitted for him to eat, nor for those with him, but only for the kohanim? Or haven’t you read in the Torah that on Shabbat the kohanim in the Temple break Shabbat and yet are innocent? But I tell you that something greater than the Temple is here. If you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’you wouldn’t have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of Shabbat.”Leaving from there, He went into their synagogue. A man with a withered hand was there. And so that they might accuse Him, they questioned Yeshua, saying, “Is it permitted to heal on Shabbat?”He said to them, “What man among you will not grab his sheep and lift it out, if it falls into a pit on Shabbat? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is permitted to do good on Shabbat.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out and it was restored, as healthy as the other” The idea here is that who we are dictates how we behave, and what Mitzvah’s we are to follow. It is entirely based on who we are.
Rashi continues on the next verse:
5. A man's attire shall not be on a woman, nor may a man wear a woman's garment because whoever does these [things] is an abomination to the Lord, your God. A man’s attire shall not be on a woman: making her appear like a man, thereby enabling her to go among men, for this can only be for the [purpose of] adultery. — [Nazir 59a]
Nor may a man wear a woman’s garment:
to go and abide among women. Another explanation: [In addition to not wearing a woman’s garment,] a man must also not remove his pubic hair or the hair of his armpits [for this is a practice exclusive to women]. — [Nazir 59a] Because… is an abomination: The Torah forbids only [the wearing of] clothes that would lead to abomination [i.e., immoral and illicit behavior]. — [Nazir 59a]
ו. כִּי יִקָּרֵא קַן צִפּוֹר | לְפָנֶיךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּכָל עֵץ | אוֹ עַל הָאָרֶץ אֶפְרֹחִים אוֹ בֵיצִים וְהָאֵם רֹבֶצֶת עַל הָאֶפְרֹחִים אוֹ עַל הַבֵּיצִים לֹא תִקַּח הָאֵם עַל הַבָּנִים:
. If a bird's nest chances before you on the road, on any tree, or on the ground, and [it contains] fledglings or eggs, if the mother is sitting upon the fledglings or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother upon the young.
כי יקרא: פרט למזומן:
לא תקח האם: בעודה על בניה:
If a bird’s nest chances before you: This excludes [a bird nest that is] ready at hand. -- [Chul. 139a, Sifrei 22:55]
You shall not take the mother:while she is on her young, [whereas if she is only hovering overhead, you may take her from upon her young]. -- [Chul. 140b]
lo,engthen your days]: If in the case of a commandment easy [to fulfill, like this one] for which there is no monetary expense, Scripture says,“[Do this] in order that it should be good for you, and that you should lengthen your days,” then how much greater is the reward for [the fulfillment of] commandments that are more difficult to observe [or for which there is a monetary expense]. — [Sifrei 22:64, Chul. 142a]”
Let’s take a look now at the Ramban’s insights into this passage as I believe it further addresses that under the Mitzvah’s is to express a nature that exists of Kindness, and of love. One of the Chassidim of our Rebbe states that even more fundamental, then the mitzvah’s is “Love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
Here is Ramban on our Parsha “The Benefits from the commandments is not derived by the Holy One, Exalted be He. Rather, the advantage is to man himself, to withhold from him physical harm or some evil belief, or unseemly trait of character, or to recall the miracles and wonders of the Creator, Blessed be he, in order to know the Eternal.It is this which the Rabbis intended in saying that the commandments were given for the purpose of refining men, that they may become like refined silver, for he who refines silver does not act without purpose, but to remove any impurity…..So, too the Rabbis refer to all commandments of the Torah, positive and negative as decrees as they said in the parable of the king who entered a country, and his attendants said to him ‘promulgate decrees upon them. He, however, refused saying When they will have accepted my sovereignty I will promulgate decrees upon them. Similarly did the Holy One, Blessed be He say to Israel. You have accepted my sovereignty I am the Eternal thy G-d, accept my decrees. Thou shalt have no other gods etc.”
Once we accept Messiah the Kings sovereignty will we have the full redemption, we rejected him as King Messiah the first time, our generation then was unworthy. But now hopefully we have merited through our much suffering, our many Mitzvah’s to have this inability to see Moshiach, as the last Lubavitcher Rebbe said “Moshiach is here now, all we need to do is open our eyes”- this is true, Messiah is here now! We simply need to recognize King Messiah Yeshua the one outside the camp and then the Guelah will come, and we will be given even more commands than the first time he came, and we will get to know Hashem from the least to the greatest of Rabbi Torah Scholars. We want Moshiach now! We want the Guelah now!
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