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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise specified are taken from The Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright ©1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD  21029.
www.messianicjewish.net.
If you haven't yet done so, now is the time to get your copy of "As It Is Written: Ancient Torah Lessons for the Modern-day Believer." If you have a copy, get some copies for your friends and loved ones. Whether you've been studying Torah for years or are just beginning, you're sure to find pearls of wisdom and insight in this book. To get your copy, please click here: http://bnottziyon.com/christina_oakes

Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement.
Most sincerely in our Messiah Yeshua,
Christina Oakes/Hadassah

 Please note, for the 5775/2015 Year, Hadassah is considering the idea of writing another book. While we will miss her missives, we invite you to visit the archives of her past works. In these archives you will find selections on the parshiyot, haftarah and Tehillim (Psalms) according to the annual cycle of Torah readings, going back a few years. Todah!

    
 Hadassah's Hints for Halachah Minimize

Entries for July 2010

23

The title of this week's Torah portion is V'et Chanan, which translates as "I besought (KJV)" or "I pleaded (CJB)." Though this portion opens with Moshe's account of how he pleaded with HaShem to let him go into the promised land and was soundly refused, the rest of the portion is Moshe's admonition and exhortation to the people of Yisrael to be faithful to HaShem and to avoid idols and idolatrous practices at any cost. He further stresses that the Torah is given to them for their protection and for their good. There is one verse, however, that jumps off the page and challenges some things that traditional Christianity has taught for two thousand years.

D'varim 6:25 says: "It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to obey all these mitzvot before ADONAI our G-d, just as he ordered us to do.'"" For those of us who have spent any length of time in the traditional church, this verse puts our brains into a tail spin. After all, didn't Rav Sha'ul declare emphatically numerous times that no one would attain righteousness by keeping Torah? Yet this passage clearly says that it will be our righteousness if we are careful to keep HaShem's mitzvot. Is this a contradiction in Scripture?

To put minds at ease, let me clearly say that there is never any contradictions in Scripture. Any supposed contradiction lies in our misunderstanding of passages. In order to get a clearer view of what D'varim 6:25 is really saying, let us look at the broader picture of things. At this point, the people of Yisrael were already redeemed; they were already the people of G-d as this portion states many times. So, to put things into modern terms, we can safely say that their "salvation" was already settled. Thus, the righteousness referred to here is the righteousness that others see in the lives of those who faithfully follow HaShem and His Messiah, Yeshua. Revelation 19:7-8 elucidates this principle when it says: "Let us rejoice and be glad! Let us give him the glory! For the time has come for the wedding of the Lamb, and his Bride has prepared herself – fine linen, bright and clean has been given her to wear. ("Fine linen" means the righteous deeds of God's people.)" In other words, Torah in our lives as believers helps us to know what Messiah, our Heavenly Bridegroom, wishes to see in His bride, and it prepares us for that great wedding day. It is also evidence that the Ruach haKodesh is working in our lives (See Ezekiel 36:26-27.) To sum up the matter, we each have a wedding garment to work on as we wait for our L-RD's return.

May we make it as beautiful as we can by His grace. As it is written: "For we are of G-d's making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by G-d for us to do." (Eph 2:10) 

Shalom uvracha
Hadassah

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16

This week, we begin the book of D'varim, which contains the last words that Moshe spoke to the people of Yisrael before departing this life.

The rabbis of blessed memory have dubbed D'varim the "Mishnei Torah."

"Mishnei" means "repetition." So, why, during the last hours of his life, would Moshe choose to repeat the Torah?

Moshe's repeating of the torah in D'varim serves to preserve history and to impress on the people of Yisrael, and us, how to treat that history.

At this point in Yisrael's journeys, the generation that had come out of Egypt is gone, and their children are poised to cross the Jordan and enter into their inheritance. In recounting these journeys from Mount Sinai to their current position, Moshe is reminding them of where they've been. He is also admonishing them to learn from their history. This is seen when he speaks of what happened with their parents as though they were involved. (See, specifically, D'varim 1:22-46.) He is bringing home the point that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Finally, he reminds them of their history so they can look to the future unafraid. If HaShem, blessed be He, brought them all this way and caused them to win battles they would never be able to win on their own, He would surely bring them into the land He had promised them and they would be victorious.

Margaret Meade, a well-known anthropologist from the 1950s once said that if we don't know where we've been, we'll never know where we're going.

Scripture agrees with this sentiment, since it is replete with the retelling of Yisrael's history. Since we are grafted into the people of Yisrael according to Romans 9-11 and Ephesians 2, Yisrael's history is our as well, and so are the responsibilities to remember, learn, and apply that history for our edification. Have we as believers taken any time lately to look back on our lives to remember what HaShem has done for us? Have we taken the time to consider our bad decisions so we don't make the same mistakes again? Have we learned from the past so we might face the future unafraid? After all, if HaShem has redeemed us with a mighty Hand and an outstretched arm, if He has brought us safely all this way, will He not bring us into the fullness of Messiah as He has promised? As it is written: "Therefore, remember your former state: you Gentiles by birth––called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised–– at that time had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Isra'el. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying G-d's promise. You were in this world without hope and without G-d. But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah's blood." (Eph 2:11-13) 

Shalom uvracha,
Hadassah

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02

This week's Torah portion opens with the promise that HaShem gives to Pinchas, the son of El-azar the priest as a result of his showing his great zeal for his G-d. Pinchas is given HaShem's covenant of peace and an everlasting priesthood for his descendants (B'midbar 25:12-13). This promise alone could spark theological debate concerning the comparison between the priesthood promised to Pinchas and that of Malki-Tzedek.

Nevertheless, there is a more pressing incident that takes place which has generational ramifications for every Yisraelite and for every believer today.

In B'midbar 27:15-23, after Moshe has been told that it is now time for him to die, he beseeches HaShem to raise up a man in his stead who will lead the people of Yisrael and who will be a true shepherd to them.

HaShem then appoints Y'hoshua, Moshe's long-time assistant, to take his place. Specifically, HaShem commands Moshe to lay his hands on Y'hoshua and give him some of his own honor. this ceremony of the laying on of hands is more than what it appears.

In Hebrew, the word used for "laying" one's hands on someone isn't just putting one's hand on another's head or shoulder as is done so often in some Christian circles today. Rather, it is a transfer of authority from a superior to an inferior through the process of literally leaning one's weight onto the one receiving the commission or authority. this process is called "Smicha," which is derived from the Hebrew word used in B'midbar 27:23. In fact, this ceremony which began here in Torah was used to confer rabbinic authority during our L-RD Yeshua's time and perhaps beyond. What can this teach us?

Contrary to popular belief, congregational life is not about what we like, how we feel, or whether things are convenient for us. It is about doing whatever it takes to pass our faith onto the next generation. Even as Moshe, in his love for the people of Yisrael, pleaded with HaShem to appoint someone in his stead, so it is incumbent upon us to do the same.

Each and every one of us has a ministry. if we don't know what that is, we should find out very quickly and be busy with advancing the Kingdom of HaShem. Once we are involved in whatever ministry HaShem gives us, the question arises: Are we seeking someone who will carry on what HaShem has started in us? Are we diligently seeking to pass on the faith and heritage that Messiah Himself died and rose from the dead to purchase for us? Consider what happens if we aren't pursuing this endeavor. Shoftim 2:10 declares that once Y'hoshua's generation died, there arose another generation which didn't know HaShem and disastrous consequences ensued.

On a personal note, I have seen parts of culture and civilization die in my short lifetime because the previous generation didn't actively seek to disciple the young. Discipling someone is hard work. It isn't always fun, convenient, or gratifying. It's usually quite the opposite, but the ultimate reward far outweighs any hardship. Let us be obedient to our Master, Who commanded us: “Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age.”” (Mt 28:19-20)

Shalom uvracha,
Hadassah

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