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Jacob Ben Avraham

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About Jacob Ben Avraham

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  1. VETERAN’S DAY AND THE BIBLE One might ask; “How does Veteran’s Day relate with the Bible?” I would say, it has a lot to do with God’s Word. It was Adonai himself who formed the tribes of Israel into “armies”. We saw a hodge-podge of Hebrew slaves coming out of Egypt, disorganized ex-slaves of Pharaoh, made into a nation at Sinai. Adonai wanted to see his prophecy to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob come true. The land of Canaan would be the inheritance of Israel, yet the Israelites would have to fight for these lands. Once the 12 tribes were organized and trained into fighting tribes, with the exception of the Tribe of Levi, that tribe would be the “chaplaincy”. Just as the armies today have chaplains, so did the armies of Israel, they had the Levite priests that would go ahead of the troops into battle. Today, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) are not in the “attack mode” but in the “defense mode”. The IDF is in Israel to defend the borders against enemies that want to come in and invade, attack, take over, etc.…We do not see Israel going forth as to conquer other lands. The land has been given to Israel as a promise to Abraham and his descendants. Every country in the world has defense forces, some small, some large. It is said that in it “necessary to show strength in order to maintain peace”. Just picture a poster with a giant, ten-feet tall strong-man in uniform with a pistol belt with ammo pouches, an M-16 on his back and he’s holding an M-60 machine gun. Then there’s the caption that reads; “Let’s have peace neighbor!” At times, it takes strength and intimidation to maintain “peace” especially when one’s “neighbor” is a war-faring country that perhaps has dreams of conquests. One only has to think back to WWII, with Adolf Hitler and Hirohito having dreams of world domination, in the end, they were defeated. November 11th is a day that we remember all veterans who served in the armed forces, both in peacetime and in wartime. This is a special day in the United States, but I think that every country in the world should put aside a special date to remember their “veterans” who fought and served in their nations to protect their nations’ borders. We see throughout the pages of the Bible many, many wars in which Israel was involved. While the curse of sin is in this world, there will always be wars, and there will always be armies to fight against enemies. As born-again believers, we are members of a special, called-out army, the Army of the LORD. Yet we do not fight with M-16s, nor with M-60s, nor with RPGs, landmines, nerve gas, etc. We fight against an invisible enemy, an enemy who has many soldiers in the ranks. This is the army of Satan, and his soldiers are all the fallen angels that are now called “demons”. The battle is in the process as I write this article. If our eyes could be open to the spirit world, we would probably freak out, seeing demonic beings clashing with angelic beings all around us. Our main arms of defense are the Word of God and prayer. We have angels at our disposition, all we need to do is call upon them and they will raise their swords against the soldiers of Satan. God showed strength in order to have peace at Calvary’s Cross. He became a human being, yet still was God, God in human form, to bring “Salvation” (Yeshuah) to this lost and dying world. He conquered the curse of sin and death when He was nailed to the cross and shed his blood for us all. At that point, the war was won! Yet the enemy doesn’t realize it, (or perhaps...yes...he DOES realize it) but doesn’t want to admit it. With His physical death, “Spiritual” peace was brought into being. Here is where “strength brings about peace” World, spiritual, and physical peace will only come about when our Messiah returns to this earth and sets up his kingdom. In the meanwhile, we need to be conformed with spiritual peace. We ought to know that when we breathe our last on this earth, we will continue to breathe in the “World to Come” in the “New Jerusalem”. There should not be any “veterans” in the LORD’s army, only “active service members”. Veteran status comes after death when we have finished fighting the enemy on this side of eternity. So, take time to salute the veterans you know, and continue the fight against the principalities and entities of darkness, but we already know the outcome. Rabbi Ben Avraham US Army Veteran 1972-1984 IDF support volunteer, Summer of 2015
  2. Jacob Ben Avraham

    Parasha "Toldot" (generations)

    PARASHAH: TOLDOT (generations) GEN 25:19-28:9.............MAL 1:1-2:7..................MATT 10:1-11:30 This study starts out with the generations of Abraham and Sarah. After years of waiting and praying they finally had Yitzchak. The legacy continues, the promise of YHVH is revealed once more, but not without testing of faith. Yitzchak and Riv'kah also have to wait, about 20 years, yet they prayed and entreated the LORD to have a child. “The prayer of the righteous prevails” the following is from the Talmud (B. Yevamot 64: a) “Why were our ancestors’ barren? Because the Holy One (blessed be He) longs to bless the prayers of the righteous” Since Yitzchak and Riv’kah were righteous, and part of the covenant promise, YHVH (in HIS timing) answered their prayer. Does that mean that ALL prayer is answered? Yes, it is, but not always the way we want Adonai to answer it. The answer comes in three forms; Yes, No, and “later on” The sick are prayed over, and many are healed, others are prayed for, and YHVH takes them home. It doesn't mean to stop praying or pray once, God likes “continuous prayer” I prayed for 40 years for the LORD to reveal to me my biological family, and finally, about 4 years ago, HE DID! But in HIS timing. The birth of “B'nei Yitzchak Riv’kah” came as a surprise, “twins inside” and the battle ensued. Yet the LORD speaks to Riv'kah saying: “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people will be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” When we look at this today, we see prophecy revealed plainly as day. From “Ya'akov”, we get “Am Yisrael” the (Nation of Israel) and from “Esav” we get the name “Edom” which is almost the same as “Adam” with the exception of the “o” or in Hebrew the letter “Vav” (v) If we look at the paleo-Hebrew, one could get the symbolism of “Esau” who was made of “Blood and spirit” was connected (Vav) to “chaos” Esav was a “man of the earth, disinterested in spiritual things, he was materialistic, he related more to the “red” earth than the things of God. From “Esav/Edom” we get Haman (the Agagite) and from Haman, the nation of “Rome” was formed. Rome was stronger and conquered a good part of the world, and Israel was under the yoke of Rome, YET today, we look at Israel, it has the strongest, and one of the most advanced and modern Militaries in the world. And it was indeed an honor to serve under the IDF two years. When we ask, will the nations bow down to Israel? I would say that during the Millenium when Messiah Yeshua is on the throne will all nations come and worship the Lamb who sits on the throne in Jerusalem. Did the nations bow down to the descendants of Jacob/Israel in the past? We can remember when Joseph was in Egypt, that his brothers came and "bowed down" to him, as well as the nations that came in search of food. Jacob and Esau, twin brothers but two separate nations, two brothers, yet worlds apart, One spiritual, interested in the things of God, then other, interested in the things of the world. Esau and Jacob represent the world of today. We have the “lost” “unrepented man” and we have the “born again believers” which include ALL who have accepted Yeshua the Messiah as LORD and Savior, doesn't matter if we are a Sabbath-observing messianic believer, or a Sunday, church going believer, we are ALL part of God's family. Yet we see that Jacob exhibited “carnal behavior” he wanted things “his way” yet when God sent Jacob to uncle Laban's “school of hard Knocks” he came out different... (but that is in the next parashah). Jacob symbolizes “all believers” both carnal and spirit filled. We ALL have growing up and maturing to go through on this side of heaven. I would like to take a look at three names; Adam, Edom, Esau, Jacob/Israel. How are we like these names? Adam and Edom are spelled almost the same. Adam was the first man made in the “image of Elohim” he was made from the earth, “Edom” means “red” perhaps the earth with which Elohim made Adam was a reddish color. Esau was a carnal man, and gave in to his hunger and ate of Jacob’s “red” lentil stew. Adam was made perfect in all ways, yet sin broke fellowship between him and God, thus, sin was passed down to all generations. Esau and Jacob, one could say were like “twins”. Yet one sought after spiritual things and the other, after carnal things. Jacob and Esau symbolize the spiritual man and carnal man, yet we can decide which “man” we want to follow and emulate Esau despised his birthright for lentil stew, we can see the same today, many people will prefer a life of sin, money, fast cars, drugs, fame, you name it, and reject the gift of God, “Salvation” (YESHUAH) and then “perish” for all eternity. That's kind of like “exchanging” Eternal life with God for a “temporary life” of comfort and ease, riches, etc. Just doesn't make sense, does it? The time of blessing comes, Isaac is old and blind, and there has been a family “division” Esau “Loved” Esau (because of his wild game) yet Rebecca “loved” Jacob. Does that mean that Isaac didn't love Jacob and Rebecca didn't love Esau? No, only means that there were “family favorites” which is a big NO, if we are to live in peace with our children today, even between “students and teachers” no favorites, please! We see in Chap 27, that Jacob passes for Esau, and Esau gets the shorter end of the stick. Taking advantage of poor Isaac's blindness, yet there is a saying “The chickens come home to roost” and “What goes around, comes around” We will see LATER, what happens, Jacob is the younger, and pretends to be the older. When Jacob gets married, he thinks he's getting the younger daughter but gets the older daughter. Jacob deceives Isaac in his “darkness” (blindness) and Jacob gets deceived being in the “darkness” (night time, dark tent) and maybe he had too much to drink to know who got in bed with him. Esau doesn't change, he marries a “Hittite” woman and then gets another wife from his uncle Ishmael, all to “get back” (maybe) at Isaac for giving away his birthright, but didn't he already sell it? Hello? MAL 1:1-2:7 The prophet speaks and writes through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) “Jacob have I loved, but Esau I have hated”. He you ask, “isn't God love?” isn't God all about love? Why does he “hate poor Esau?” The word “hate” has the same meaning as “reject”. YHVH who is “all knowing” knew even before Esau was born that he would reject HIM, so, YHVH rejected Esau! Polluted offerings, corrupt priests. No wonder God is fed up with Israel, they have gone “the way of Esau” offering God the “left-overs” and not offering with “pure hearts”. It is like today, if we serve the LORD with less than our best, or only with “half a heart” or just because we feel we “have to” then, we are offering “polluted offerings” We should serve GOD with all we have, with the best we have, or not at all! MATT 10:1-11:30 Yeshua sends out the twelve talmidim, to teach Torah and to share the word that Yeshua is Mashiach, and has fulfilled all the prophecies of the Torah. First to the “lost sheep of Israel” remember that Israel has been scattered to many different countries, many being absorbed by the nations, yet still remember their identity, but even in Israel, there are those who need to know the truth about Yeshua as Messiah, prophesied by Moshe and the prophets The work and ministry of sharing/teaching the WORD of God is not a lone undertaking, it is to be shared by many, and ALL who have that calling. Even Yeshua, God in human form, could not be in all places at the same time, so he sent out his followers, to fulfill the “Great Commission”. Today, we are equipped with the “gifts of the Spirit” to fulfill this great task, and today we have the internet to help spread the “Good News” whereas hundreds of years ago, only papers and books were available to those who took up that task. We are living in exciting times, let's take advantage of modern technology. Rabbi Ben Avraham
  3. PARASHAH: “Chayei Sarah” (Sarah lives) GENESIS 23:1-25:18..................1 KINGS 1:1-31...................MATT 8:1-9:38 The title of the Parashah is “Sarah lives” or “Sarah lived”. Yet Sarah is dead, so, how does she live? She lives on in the memory of Abraham, her legacy lives on, her influence lives on, and this is what the patriarch wants for Isaac. I remember some of the words of Marine Gunnery sergeant Hartman to his trainees in the movie “Full Metal Jacket” “Most of you will go to Viet Nam, some of you will not return alive, but even dead, you will still live, you will live on in the spirit of the corps.” So even dead, Sarah continued to live on as a godly wife and mother, no doubt that Abraham wanted to bless Isaac with a similar wife. Torah says that Sarah lived 127 years. It is not often that the Torah records the age of women, but Sarah is the exception. We can see some symbolism in that number. I guess there are several ways we can look at it, one way is to see the Hebrew letters associated with numbers, 100 is Qoph (Q) 20 is Kaph (K) and 7 is Zayin (Z) Seven is the number of YHVH, the perfect number. According to some rabbis, “120” years are a “full life”. So, Sarah lived a “full life” plus 7 more. Another way we can look at this is, from the Hebrew text; “One-hundred years, and seven years, and twenty years. Why is this worded this way? The rabbis say that when Sarah was one-hundred years old, she was as beautiful as when she was twenty, and when she was twenty, she was as innocent and holy as when she was seven. Moshe lived a “full life” and maybe would have lived longer had he not “struck the rock” Sarah lived a “Kadosh” life (Holy life, separated to serve God, her husband Abraham and raise her son Isaac. One could say she was “anointed to serve” (Kaph) is a letter the symbolizes “anointing”. Zayin (z) is the letter that symbolizes “weapon” anointing and holiness are a “weapon” one can use against “HaSatan” our spiritual enemy can be defeated by the fruit of the Spirit, through the Ruach Ha Kodesh. 127 can also symbolize “echad” (unit of oneness) (1), “covenant blessing” (2) “godliness” (7) Sarah received the blessing of being a godly woman, who joined in the “covenant blessing” of Abraham with YHVH, and together became “Echad Am” (One people) the Hebrew people who later became the Nation of Israel. When we add 1+2+7 we get 10, which is the number of “Torah” (some say “law” personally, I don't like using that word, it is misunderstood) but “Torah” means “instruction” Sarah honored Abraham, and YHVH by submitting to their instruction, she was submissive, in the right way. Yet Sarah had her times of happiness and sorrow as All marriages go through. Abraham and Sarah loved each other, and in death, Abraham showed his love towards Sarah by purchasing an overpriced piece of real estate. 400 silver shekels was a lot for a cave on a piece of property in Hebron, but He didn't mind paying for it, (guess it is like buying a hamburger for $25) It had to be “written down, and documented” legally, not just “words”, we see that today, words are nothing, but if it is signed, sealed, written down, you can take it to court! So Abraham honored his wife both in life and in death. One of the biggest and drastic changes in one’s life is the “death” of a spouse. We see the words in the Torah which recount the time of Sarah’s death. “and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke unto the sons of Heth saying…” There is a time for mourning and weeping, and a time for joy, a time for continuing with life, as life does go on, with or without a spouse. Abraham had the right to mourn and weep, since Sarah was part of his life for many, many years. We do not know when they got married, but when Abraham was called by Adonai, he was 75 years old, and he was married at that time. We could say that for about 50 years, Abraham had Sarah by his side. The Adonai called her home. There will be a time when Adonai calls home our spouses, how will we respond when that happens? Will we cry out to God; Why? But are our spouses our own? Or do we all belong to Elohim? What are we but souls inhabiting finite bodies which will eventually cease to function and return to the earth. A baby enters the world with clenched fists, yet leaves the world with open hands. We all want to hold on to everything, even spouses, yet we have to let go and let God have his way. A spouse, a wife or husband, is like a library book. We will take the library book and read it cover to cover, do we understand what we read? We have “x” amount of years to do it. But the master Librarian will call for his book to be returned someday, and we will have to deal with that. A spouse is like a jewel to be worn and cared for, for “x” number of years, but the Jeweler will call for his gem someday, and we will have to take “her” or “him” off and return “her” or “him” to Jeweler of all creation. I think that the more we love our spouse, the more difficult it will be for us to let go someday when our spouse is at death’s door. It wasn’t easy for Abraham, and it will not be easy for us. I think that the time for caring, for loving, for giving flowers is now that our spouses are alive, not at the grave site. One wonders what the surviving spouse will say? “May he (or she) rest in peace!” …or…” Now that he (or she) is gone, I can rest in peace!!” Abraham wept and mourned, but then, he got up and “buried his dead out of his sight” He continued with life, searched out a wife for his son Isaac, and eventually Abraham got remarried, to Keturah who bore him six children (Chap 25). There is life after the departing of a loved one. The most difficult part of losing a loved one, especially a spouse, is if the spouse is an unbeliever, lost, without salvation. THEN we shall never see that spouse again, EVER! All the more reason to be “equally yoked” To lose a spouse in death is to be separated for “a season” but be reunited with her (or him) later on in heaven. That is the way we have to look at it, because it is the truth. Some people, like Abraham, will marry again, others will not. That is a decision every widow or widower will have to make. Me? I wouldn’t like living alone without someone by my side, but that’s me. Love is having to “let go” when our Master calls for “going home” it WILL come. The true meaning of the word “love” is NOT feelings. What is “Love at first sight?” (Hey, I like your moves, I like your legs, your hair, your eyes, your build, etc.). yet feelings, emotions can lead two people to enter into a covenant of “love”, “love” is the action of “giving” the Hebrew word is “Ahavah” it has the verb “hav” which is “to give” and the word “av” is in there, being “Our Heavenly father gives” He proved his love toward us that He GAVE His Only Son, Yeshua, as a sacrifice for our sin. When a couple chose to marry, share life together, provide one for another, in health and in sickness, and not “cop out” on each other, THAT is TRUE LOVE. The words, “I feel I don't love you anymore” are silly, worthless words. Imagine if Sarah had told that to Abram. Or if Abram would have said that to Sarah, “I don't love you anymore, because you can't give me children” and the two separated, where would the Nation of Israel be today? It would be nonexistent. Yet they kept by each other’s side in good times and in the bad times, the times of drought, the “Egypt” times, the “Ishmael” times, and the long waited “Isaac” times. Abraham sent his servant Elazar to look for a wife for Isaac. (I wish that custom was still here with us, parents getting their children husbands and wives, those were the 'good ol days') (my opinion). He carried 10 camels with gifts, the “bride price” for the “bride to be”. He had to go to Mesopotamia, to Abraham's family, He did NOT want a Canaanite woman for the bride of Isaac, a pagan Canaanite woman would have been an “unequal yoke” that is wisdom for us today, a “born again believer” should only marry another “born again believer” where the two worship and serve the “same God YHVH/Yeshua” Elazar observed “Rebecca's actions” Rivka watered the thirsty camels, sought not her own comfort, but had a servant's heart. This is what Elazar was looking for, Abraham would be happy, and so would Isaac. The “engagement jewelry” was a nose ring and gold bracelets” today in our society we give an engagement ring. Abraham wanted a wife like Sarah for his son Isaac. We might think, what kind of wife (or husband) would one believer look for? Well, there are certain qualities to look for in looking for one’s “life mate”. If a man is looking for a woman to be his wife. I would think that he might want a woman whose first love is for God, for Yeshua, and to obey and follow the Torah. That the woman also be humble, who will run the home with wisdom, and with money in her hands, will be spent wisely? She should be a woman who will raise her children according to the Word of God, and to not waste time with “fairy tale reading” but with “Torah Tale reading” if she is to read “Bed-time stories. I have not mentioned the “physical” characteristics, since “how beautiful or not” is not of prime importance, but yes, is a bit important since men are usually in search of “what attracts the eye” Just as “Riv’kah” was willing to follow Elazar to Isaac’s home, so should the wife be willing to follow her husband. Where he is, she should be as well. UNLESS, there is some sort of danger or unwise decision making on the husband’s part, then, the wife needs to help the husband “re-think” the decision. There is a story about Adam and Eve. Adam was sad because there was no mate for him among all the animals, so Adonai said to Adam; “I will give you a mate, one who will never say no, one who will care for you and for your house, never argue with you nor ever say unkind words to you, one who will raise all your children, one who will cook for you and be your perfect servant and your lover any time you want.” Adam was happy, and he said; “and what will all that cost me?” God said to Adam; “It will cost you an arm and a leg!” So, Adam thought for a moment, then asked; “What can I get for just a rib?” (well, you know the rest of the story, but it works both ways) Now “Rivka” had to be “willing to go with Elazar to be Isaac's wife”. We can see this is our relationship with Yeshua. Yeshua/Jesus is the “bridegroom” and we, the “Kehillah” (Congregation of “called out ones”) are the bride. We have to be a “willing bride” to go with our “heavenly bridegroom”. Just as Elazar brought gifts to the bride-to-be, Yeshua has given “gifts” to us as HIS Bride; Salvation (Yeshuah) an eternal home/mansion in Heaven, spiritual gifts to do service and minister with. Healthy bodies (for the most part) in which to inhabit, spouses and children, jobs to earn a living, if we think about the list could go on, as to the “Blessings” we have through Yeshua. 1 KINGS 1:1-31 This tells the sad story of a father who failed to discipline his sons, and old king David reaped the whirlwind, Adonijah (which means YHVH is my master) if it were so, He would have been in subjection to his father David, had the nerve to proclaim himself king, even before David dies. Yet David corrects the situation and names Solomon as the future king. This part of the Parashah teaches us to be under authority, willingly, the bridegroom has his bride under His authority and subjection, BUT NOT in a tyrannical way, not like a “dictatorship” but under a “love “relationship. A wife can be under subjection to the husband, and feel used, like an object, or feel loved and protected, all depends on the husband, if He is under the subjection to the LORD, he will treat his wife with love and respect. MATT 8:1-9:18 We see here that Yeshua shows love through action, in healing the leper, it is an act of “giving” He gave back health to an unclean man, yet Yeshua also respected and honored the Torah, in telling the man to go to the priest and offer the proper sacrifice for his healing, Yeshua, who is our Messiah, Savior and LORD had ALL RESPECT for the Torah and its commandments. Another thing we must note is that there are two types of “Tza-arat” (Leprosy) physical and spiritual. One thing is being healed physically, on the outside, another is being healed on the inside. We can be healthy outside, but corrupt on the inside, or, unhealthy physically, yet Holiness resides inwardly. We need that balance, of being “tahor” (clean) both inwardly and outwardly. We must also remember though, the situation with Lot from last Parashah, how is was, and is considered as “Righteous Lot” yet was affected by living in Sodom, he had to be almost, “dragged out” by the two angels. His inner being was being affected by living around the wicked. His wife was “sold out” to Sodom and became “well salted” in the end, his daughters committed indecency with him and led to the origins of Moab and Ammon. Take care least we be “Tza-arat” inwardly. Rabbi Ben AVraham
  4. PARASHAH: “VaYERA” (and he appeared) GENESIS 18:1-22:24………………2 KINGS 4:1-37……………. MATT 8:1-9:38 YHVH appears to Abraham at his tent, yet it also says that “three” men appeared to him. He addresses them as LORD (YHVH), how is that? One can only wonder. Could one of them be YHVH incarnate and the other two ministering angels? Could all three be a representation of ELOHIM? “Av” (father) “Ben” (son) and “Ruach HaKodesh” (Holy Spirit)? This could open up into a lengthy discussion. All we know is that Abraham receives them with great hospitality. They eat and then they bless. This is pretty much how it works even today. We receive blessings from HaShem, but many times, we bless others, help others, and blessings follow. Can we bless “Adonai?” We know that He blesses us in many ways and forms, but how do we “Bless” YHVH? “Baruch” (bless) comes from the word “Berek” which means “knee”. When we “bow” the knee in praise and worship, we are, in fact, “blessing” Adonai. We come to pray, asking for “this and that” but do we just come and thank HIM for just who He is? He announces the birth of “Yitzchak” yet Sarah laughs in disbelief “within herself” not even out loud, or, just barely audible, yet YHVH hears her and asks “why did Sarah laugh? Yeah, but thou didst laugh” Can anything be hidden from the LORD? Even inside us, HE KNOWS what is going on inside us, within the heart, within our minds, HE KNOWS ALL THINGS, even the “not so kosher” things. Something to think about the next time we think we are alone. We really are NOT alone. Abraham intercedes for Sodom and Gomorra, yet there were not even ten righteous residents of Sodom. Had Abraham asked; “Will you not spare Sodom for only ONE righteous person?” what do you think that the LORD would have answered? Maybe YES? If that had been so, then, perhaps Lot and his family might have never left the city! Lot was still considered a “Tzadik” a righteous person, yet he was living in a sinful and totally corrupt city. That is a dangerous position to be in, to be comfortable in a place where you have no business to be in! or participate in activities that the lost world does. “by the skin of their teeth” one might say, the angel drags Lot, his wife, and two daughters out of there before the judgment of destruction begins. However, we can think back to when the scripture says that “Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom”. He wasn’t there yet, he was close, but then, he was INSIDE Sodom. He even bought a house, perhaps even started a business. We read that he was “at the gates of Sodom” when he invited the angels to come spend the night with him and his family. Those that we at the “gates” of the city, were “greeters’ sort of saying, perhaps “tour guides” maybe Lot was involved with politics. We can only guess; The Torah doesn’t go into detail about Lot’s life inside Sodom. We know that before, he had much cattle. What happened to his cattle? Did he sell the cattle in order to buy the house? What happened to his tents? Traded it all for a life of “excitement?” inside the city? We must say that when families moved to places or into neighborhoods that are corrupt, one might expect that the families also can suffer under corruption. It isn’t easy to maintain one’s testimony in a pagan society or job place, but it isn’t impossible. Lot was considered “righteous” in the New Covenant, yet his family suffered. When the angels led Lot and his family (wife and two daughters) out of the city, they were told not to “look back” yet we remember that Lot’s wife DID look, and behold, she became a pillar of salt. She longed for her lifestyle in corrupt Sodom. On the other hand, Lot’s daughters had sex with him and produced two sons; Moab and Ammon. The capital city Amman, in Jordan, is named after “Ammon” and the Moabites were also a corrupt, idol worshiping people. But God has his hand in ALL situations. Remember that “Ruth” was a Moabitess, yet she became a “Y’hudit” became part of God’s people and Ruth is in the genealogy of Messiah Yeshua. Adonai can make a negative situation or decision and do something with it, something wonderful. One thing we remember from Parashah “Noach” The Torah says that “Noah was righteous in HIS generation” Does that mean that if he were living in the time of Abraham, be might not have been considered so righteous? If yes, why? Did Noah plead for the lost world before the flood? Did he ask YHVH to save the world IF there could be found a handful of righteous people? We don’t know why transpired during the 120 years that it took Noach to build the ark. Did he preach to the people? Did he warn them of the coming judgment? In the book of Enoch, we know that Enoch warned the giants of impending judgment. In Noah’s case, the Torah is silent. We do see that Abraham pleads for the innocent people in Sodom. We know that there were probably infants and very young kids that were innocent. Sad to say that they too were destroyed, however, they are in heaven today because they died as innocent creations. The command of the angel to Lot and his family was “don’t look back” yet Lot’s wife DID look back and was turned into a pillar of salt. Does it really matter what YHVH turned her into? Might as well have been a loaf of bread, a donut, a fudge brownie, a…that fact of the matter is that she DID turn and looked back. This is meaningful, indicating that she “longed” for that life of Sodom. She might have thought, “I’ll take one last look and…ZAP…instant saltine cracker. Perhaps she gazed on the very “essence” of YHVH in destruction mode. If one goes to the ruins of Sodom today, one can still find little Sulphur balls embedded in the ruins. When lighted, they emit a bluish flame. Imagine that after all these years, remnants of God’s judgment are still there. We also read about the birth of “Yitzchak” and later the separation of “Ishmael” and “Yitzchak”. We see a separation between the “chosen” and the “world”, but also, we see today the “wheat” and the “tares” growing together, not to say that all the Arabs are evil, there are many born-again Arabs who are the descendants of Ishmael, those who love the LORD. But for the most part, the Arab world and Israel are enemies. We come to the last part, the final test, “Take your son, your ONLY son who you love, and offer him as a sacrifice” Now God didn’t say “Sacrifice him” only “offer him as a sacrifice” Today, we offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” before YHVH to do his perfect will, and to serve him. Abraham was willing to bring the knife down on his only son Isaac, yet the LORD did not allow him to do so, as it was a test to see his obedience, and to see if he was willing to follow through with “sacrificing and spilling Isaac’s blood”. When we read this account, we see symbolism. The “donkey” that took Father and Son to Mt Moriah, the donkey that took Yeshua to Jerusalem, later to be led to Mt. Calvary. The wood that was laid on Isaac’s back, compared to the cross beam that was laid on Yeshua’s back, or Yeshua’s back that was laid on that cross beam. The altar of stone which Abraham build compared to Calvary’s hill which is pretty much made of stone, made by our heavenly Father. The fire which was in Abraham’s hands could symbolism the fiery judgment that Yeshua took on our behalf. Isaac symbolizes ALL of us. Yet when Abraham was ordered to take him off the altar, so we were “replaced” by Yeshua. Isaac was replaced by the ram which was caught in the thicket. The “ram” is “Yeshua” the ram’s horns were caught in the thicket, and around the head of our Mashiach was a crown of thorns. Isaac could not be the sacrifice for sin because he, like all of us, was born in sin. The ram took Isaac’s as Yeshua took our place. In some translations, there are some interesting words spoken by Abraham. “God will provide himself as a lamb” other translations read; “God will provide for himself a lamb” I like the first one since it explains what God did, He came down and became the sacrificial lamb, in our place. What Abraham said was prophetic God was not willing that anyone should perish, but for ALL to have eternal life. He was not willing that Abraham should give up his only son, but God was willing to give HIS unique SON, Yeshua for the payment of our sin, one time and forever. Yeshua is both; “echad” (unity of ONE) and “Yachid” (unique, only, one of a kind) Yeshua was willing and did undergo the “fires” of our sins, up there on that cross for a few hours, and thus made the “new covenant” that through his death and sacrifice, we might be saved. One might say symbolically a “covenant of fire” (brit esh) When we read the word “B’reisheet” (in the beginning) we can see those words, “brit esh” in the middle, just rearrange the letters around. Since “the beginning” YHVH had this in mind, to pay for our sin debt, with HIS blood. 2 KINGS 4:1-37 Here, Elisha Ha Navi (the Prophet) ministers to a Shunamite woman, as some prophets had a public ministry, Elisha had more of a private ministry, ministering to individuals more than to the general public as a whole. Yeshua did both, he ministered to the sick, the hurting, the poor, and also preached to the public in synagogues. In this case, the Shunamite woman needed a miracle, yet she “blessed Elisha first” by preparing him a meal, the same way that Abraham blessed the three angels that came. He blessed them with a meal, and afterward, they announced the blessing of the coming of Isaac. Elisha responds with “multiplying the oil”. The woman asked pots from her neighbors, then, received the oil, in abundance. Many times, when we look for miracles, we extend a blessing to another, and then, we receive from God, it just works that way at times. MATT 6:1-7:29 The Talmid Matityahu (Matthew) writes about different themes. One of the themes is that of prayer; “DO not pray/repeat vain repetitions” We often wonder what does this mean? Many people memorize prayers and “recite them” over and over again. It becomes routine, and the danger in this is that one can pray “like a machine” and really not understand nor meditate on the meaning of the prayer itself. Then, the prayer becomes just plain words. A parrot can learn to speak, repeat things, but it doesn’t understand what it is saying. Are we like parrots? or souls created in the image of Elohim? In Judaism, there are many prayers that are part of the prayer books. It isn’t bad to learn them and repeat them, only “understand” what the words mean and how they relate of our God. Then, when we pray the morning and evening prayers, we can meditate on what these words are really saying so that they do not become just “vain repetitions”. Here we have the LORD’s prayer. It is not meant to be something we just memorize and repeat like we do many times with prayers. This prayer is something to meditate on, and let the meaning penetrate our souls. “Aveinu BaShamayim” “Our father who is in the heavens” Who has the right to call God, “Our Father” but only those who are members of his family. All of humanity is God’s “creation” and he is humanity’s “creator” but only to born-again believers, he is “Father” “Kadosh Shmo” (sanctified be his name) HIS name is YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) which comes from HAVAYA (to exist) he is “Haya” (past) “Hoveh” (present) and “Yiyah” (future). And his name is indeed “Kadosh” (Holy). Contrary to popular belief, the Torah does not prohibit one from using it, on the contrary, the Word of God says “Call upon the NAME of the LORD!” “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” The “kingdom of Heaven” is HIS activity on earth, so, it is already here. It has been here since Genesis 1:1. It is here and manifests itself in the midst of his believers, churches, synagogues, congregations, bible study groups, etc. There is a “coming” political kingdom and a literal “New Jerusalem” which will appear on earth someday in the future, and what a time that will be. “Give our bread continually”. Our “daily bread” does not consist only of literal food, but ALL of our basic needs. YHVH is a loving God and many times gives us even our “wants”. He will do this “continually”, I have seen this many time in my life when I just “think” of things I need, all of a sudden, I get them, many times for free. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” Many times, we commit sins against God, and yes, we want Him to forgive us, but what about people who have committed offenses against us? Are we holding grudges against them? If so, how then can we expect forgiveness for our sins? Our sins against our Holy God are greater. We must learn to forgive those around us. At times, it is hard, but it is a “command!” when it can’t come from the flesh, it must come from the spirit. “Do not lead us into the power of temptation, but keep us from all evil…amen” What is the “power” of temptation? It is succumbing to the power of HaSatan. Remember that just because we are “b’nei Melech” (children of the King) does not mean that we are free from being tempted. Everyone on this earth has been tempted, even our LORD and Messiah. This is part of testing, we can be tempted, but that does not mean that we will give in to the temptation and commit sin. It is OUR choice, the very last word is “Amen” which comes from “Amun” which is “to say something that is true” so, when we say “amen” it is “so be it, as it is truth from God” (this was taken from a Primitive Hebrew text, as the first “LORD’s prayer was written in Hebrew) there is also an Aramaic rendition of the LORD’s prayer, look it up on “YouTube” . have a blessed Sabbath and a blessed week.
  5. PARASHAH: “Lech Lecha” (go forth yourself) GENESIS 12:1-17:27……………………...ISAIAH 40:27-41:16……………MATTHEW 5:1-48 “Now YHVH said unto Abram: Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee” these are the opening words that YHVH speaks unto Abram. A Midrash interprets this to mean; “Go forth to find your authentic self to learn who you are meant to be” This might be a command to every person on earth. We are to “go forth” and find “Adonai” and discover who He intends us to be! What is our destiny in HIS hands? Now we might ask, “why did YHVH choose Abram to begin his chosen people?” No one really knows the “why?” only that he DID choose him. Perhaps he had a curious and searching mind, searching for the real and true God. We must remember that there was no such person as a “Jew” back then. Abram was a Mesopotamian, from the Chaldean city of “Ur” similar to the Hebrew “Ir” which means “city”. He was raised as an idol worshipper, and his family’s business, according to the rabbis, was making and selling idols. We only know that YHVH chose Abram, and he accepted and obeyed the voice of YHVH. Here is a commandment and the blessings of obeying the commandment. “Leave your father’s house and go to a land which I will show you.” We see that G-d wanted Abram to distance himself from idol worshipping and everything connected with the such. Once he obeyed the voice of HaShem, THEN… the blessings would come; “I will make of thee a great nation” , “I will bless thee and make thy name great (shem gadol) and be thou a blessing” , “I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee” , “In thee shall all the families of the world be blessed” we later see that under “being a great nation” we could add the promise; “Your seed will be like the dust of the earth” and also “like the stars of heaven” What do these promises involve? First of all, let’s look at the words; “Dust of the earth” and “stars of heaven”. Am Israel becoming as the “dust” of the earth, in that they were “trampled upon” by many nations that wanted to extinguish the Jewish people, yet they were also as the “stars of heaven” they shone with the light of Adonai, they brought the worship of the ONE true GOD, Adonai-Elohim-Yeshuah. And from Am Israel, came “Yeshua” who is the “Light of the World” Once that Abram obey the voice of YHVH, and he arrived in the land of C’anaan, then came the testings. We see that Adonai wanted to test his faith, like he tests us all in many different ways. Yes, we all want blessings, but at times, blessings come with a price. “Am gadol” a great nation, or a great people. It started with Yitzchak, the first and only son of Abram and Sarah. From him we know the story; Yitzchak > Ya’akov > 12 tribes > multitudes! As a sign, YHVH changed the name of Abram to Abraham. If we look at the paleo Hebrew symbolism in the name “Abram” we see “Alef” “Beit” “resh” “mem”. 4 letters, “4” symbolized the 4 corners of the earth. The descendants of Abraham are in all 4 corners of the earth. But we can see these letters meaning or symbolizing “the father who is the head of a multitude”. Also, we can read this as; God blesses the first house with a multitude”. Later, YHVH changes his name by adding the letter “hey” (h). Now it is “abraHam”. What is the significance of the “H”? Well, one way we can look at it is that the “hey” (h) is the only letter in the Hebrew Alef-bet that is pronounced with one “breathing out air”. When you pronounce “h” we send out a puff of air from our mouth. We can also say “wind” in Hebrew; “Ruach” it also means “spirit”. SO…we can say that “YHVH sent out the “spirit of life” into the womb of Sarah through the seed of Abraham. Also, the ancient meaning of the letter “hey” is “Behold!” so, we can say “Behold, a multitude is coming from Abraham and Sarah!” starting with Yitzchak. Yet we cannot forget about Ishmael, who was the son of Abraham and Hagar, the Egyptian. The promise extended to him too, although this was not part of God’s “perfect” will. He “permitted” the union between Abraham and Hagar, yet with consequences; the Arab nations who are the enemies of Israel. “Ishmael” means “God listens (to man)” “Ish+shema+El. (reading right to left) HOWEVER if we read from left to right we get “Man listens to God” and every man that listens to God, in obedience, whether Arab or any other ethnic identity, that man will be blessed also. Adonai stated also that “in thee, all of the families of the world would be blessed”. The greatest blessing is in Yeshua HaMashiach. From the seed of Abraham, came the nation of Israel, and we know that Mary and Joseph, the guardians of Yeshua were of the seed of Abraham, and more closely, the seed of David. We need to look not so much at physical blessings, nor biological/genealogical blessings. We might be of Jewish ancestry, but that does not secure for us salvation, we need to look at Yeshua our Messiah, who is our “Yeshuateinu” (our salvation) This chapter also states that “Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the wealth that they had amassed and the persons that they had acquired in Haran and they set out for the land of Canaan” Some translations say “souls” instead of “persons”. We can assume that by these words “acquired persons or souls” that Abram and Sarai were “soul winners” that they converted many “souls” in Haran to the belief in the one TRUE GOD, that they abandoned the false deities and were thus “grafted in” sort of saying, into the “Mishpochah Abram” (the family of Abram) They also probably bought servants and slaves, and I am sure that they witnessed to them too. The Word also states that Abraham acquired much “wealth” and took it with him of course. This wealth was in the form of gold, silver, and livestock. We all have internal “wealth” which is the knowledge and wisdom which comes from studying God’s word, and that is what we take with us where ever we go. We are to “share” this wealth with others through teaching and preaching the WORD, and be witnesses of the “Living WORD” Once they arrived in Canaan, they would be “Gerim” from the word “Ger” which means a “sojourner” that is a person who is not a native of that land, but who will live there. We could consider ourselves as “sojourners” on this planet called “earth” this earth is not our permanent home, even though we were born “earthlings” our true home is in Heaven, the New Jerusalem. Now we look at Lot, Abraham’s nephew, Lot started arguing over land for cattle. So, Abraham says for him to select one area and he would go in the other direction. So, Lot chose “Sodom!” the land around it looked very fertile. That is the way the land of sin appears to people. It looks attractive. So, Lot pitched his tent TOWARDS Sodom…then…he actually enters and LIVES in Sodom. And so, it is with sin. We might get attracted to it, get closer to it, and finally, indulge in it! So, be careful! Another fact we read is that Abram stopped in two places, “Shechem” and “Betel” there he built altars and worshiped Adonai there. We do the same, but we do not build stone altars. We worship Adonai in spirit and in truth. An interesting fact about the place “Beth El” it means “House of God”. Yet the Canaanites worshiped a false deity which was also called “El” the difference between the god “El” of the Canaanites and “El Elyon” or “El Elohim” is that we worship the true EL, the “One who is Strong and who Leads and Instructs” as symbolized in the two Paleo-Hebrew letters; “Aleph and Lamed” There were three promises made to Abraham. His seed would be like the dust of the earth. His seed would be like the stars of heaven, his seed would be like the sands of the sea. Can you count the stars? Can you count the grains of sand on the beach? Can you count dust? Here is something to think about. We walk on dust, we trample it under foot. Israel has been trampled underfoot and has been looked down upon by many nations, yet, the dust still lasts, it will always be. Leave a car out in the desert for 50 years, and the dust will wear it away into rusted metal, yet the “dust” will always be, and so will Israel. Circumcision! This is an important area, but some make it TOO important. YHVH instructed Abraham to be circumcised and that every male should also be circumcised. This was and is a mark of the covenant. But what about today? Is it still important? Yes, it is, but in the physical aspect of the same. For male health and cleanliness, it is good for every baby boy to be circumcised. YHVH is more concerned in our heart condition. Moshe stated that the “foreskin of our hearts should be circumcised”. Spiritually speaking, the “foreskin” of our hearts is the carnal ways that we all have, being that we are a fallen race and have the inbred original sin. “So, circumcise your heart and stiffen your neck no longer” (Deut 10:16) ISAIAH 40:27-41:16 The prophet is encouraging Israel saying that YHVH will support them, will protect them. Israel has been through a lot, they are weary of being persecuted, well, they went away from the LORD and went after false gods, yet, when the repent, YHVH will be there. They are weary, weak, tired. Yes, when we do it in our own strength, yet when we go in the strength of YHVH, HE is our strength. We are not talking about physical strength, but spiritual strength. The physical is and always be physical. We can be strong physically by eating right, exercise, etc.…but we can be spiritually strong through prayer, reading God’s word, and just trusting in HIM for our needs. “Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee and not cast thee away, fear not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed for I am thy God, I strengthen thee, help thee, uphold thee… (41:10) What better promise from God do we have? He has chosen us as HIS people, through Yeshua, we become an active part of the commonwealth of Israel, and, as our LORD, and Master, He will provide. MATT 5:1-48 There is a lot of meat in this chapter, besides the Beatitudes, which are “blessed are the…” poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek (or humble) etc.… these we can understand, Yeshua is explaining this quite clearly. But there is another part which needs explanation. 5:17-18 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto thee, till heaven and earth pass, not one yod or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled” This has been a misunderstood verse in many if not all Bible churches today. What is “Law?” in the Latin we have the word “legis” which when translated into English, we get “law”. The problem is when we go into the original Hebrew the word in “Torah” which means “instruction, teaching". When translated correctly into Latin, it would have been; “disciplinam”, “educatio” “instructio” “mandatum” Any of these words would have been better than “legis” In the ancient Hebrew, when worded “destroy” and “fulfill” meant that “destroying” is “erroneous interpretation” and “fulfilling” meant “correctly interpreting”. Yeshua did indeed “fulfill” the Torah, the biggest and most important fulfillment was dying for our sins. He fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system of animal blood, using his own blood. The Torah consists of commandments, 613 to be exact. If we say, “we no longer have to live by those old-fashioned laws, the “law” is over, finished, ended, then…why don’t we go out to rob a house, to take your neighbor’s wife, to murder someone you don’t like? Those commandments are part of the “law”, aren’t they? So, if it is over with, well, why not? Because Yeshua himself said so! That he didn’t come to “end “or “get rid of, or “abrogate” as some translations have. Of course, many of the 613 commandments are not for today, since there is no more animal sacrifice nor Levitical priesthood, but many are STILL for today. That is the reason for Bible study, which ones are or not. As our rabbi (now in heaven) once said; “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater” Now, someone is going to write a comment saying; “But doesn’t the Word say if we break one commandment it is like breaking them all?” we are guilty then of breaking the entire “law” The answer is that if one is trusting in obedience to the commandments as our method of gaining eternal life and acceptance by God, then, YES, we are guilty, since YHVH demands PERFECT holiness, Yet, our salvation does NOT depend on our obedience to the commandments, but in accepting Yeshua’s sacrifice, and trusting HIM as LORD and Savior. Our obedience to the commandments comes AS A RESULT OF our renewed relationship with YHVH through Yeshua Are the heavens passed away yet? NO! is the earth still here? YES, is the WORD of God still here in our midst? YES, is the LIVING WORD in our hearts? YES! Have a blessed Sabbath. Rabbi Ben Avraham
  6. PARASHAH; “Noach” GENESIS 6:9-11:32…………………. ISAIAH 54:1-55:5………………...MATT 3:1-4:25 The Torah says; “Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with Elohim” Noah was a “Tzadik” a righteous man. This is a powerful statement since, in his days, the whole populated earth was corrupt, yet he and his family decided against “going with the flow” and decided to follow YHVH in His ways. We know the story, it is one of the most popular stories from the Bible. Elohim decides to destroy the world with a flood of waters, saving only Noah and his family, and representatives of the animal kinds. He is commanded to build an ark, a “floating barge” a rectangular box-car type of vessel. In feet, it measured 450 feet long, by 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It had rooms or animal stalls, three floors, a door in the side, and ventilation all around. Using biblical measurements, it was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. A cubit is about 18 inches, it would be from a man’s elbow to the tip of his middle finger (more or less). The total was 380 cubits, length + width + height = 380. In Hebrew letters, this sum would equal “Sheen + Pey” with the symbolism of “The all-consuming fire speaks” Elohim is about to judge and tear up the world with a watery judgment, and he speaks to Noah, who is the only one faithful to HIM. He also says to seal it within and without with “pitch” or “tar” which would make it water-proof. It is interesting that the Hebrew word is “K’fer” very similar to “Kafar” which is “covering” this word is used during “Yom Kippur”. During Yom Kippur, the blood of the animals “covered” the sins of the people for one year. This “covering” on the ark would also “seal” Noah and his family inside the ark for the same amount of time, for a year. The world would perish under the water judgment, yet YHVH would make a “brit” (covenant) with Noach and his family. They would be safe and sound, and of course dry inside the ark for a year. The word for “ark” in Hebrew is “Teivah” it has three Hebrew letters; “Tav” “Beit” and “Hey”. The ancient Hebrew meaning of these letters together would be “behold the house of the covenant” The ark would be their house for one year a temporary house that was under God’s “covenant”. Inside the ark, the DNA for all humankind would be safe. Had not YHVH chosen to save Noah and his family, and instead, destroy all of humankind, today, we would probably be plants, trees, or flowers. Also remember that in the days before the flood, it never rained from the sky, but from under the ground. When the rains finally came, the people outside the ark probably freaked out big time! We read that animal representatives of each animal kind entered the ark. Two of each “unclean” kind came into the ark, and fourteen of the “clean” animals, such as sheep, goats, cows, bulls, buffalo, deer, moose, elk, etc. or seven pairs of each. Later on, we find out why? They would be used for eating purposes and for sacrifices, so, there would have to be a lot of them on the earth. Dinosaurs? Yes, they came on board, probably the young ones that were still babies. The word “dinosaur” is a modern word, back then the word “dragon” was used for dinos. We read that when Noah finished building the ark, which took 120 years, he took enough food to last a year, and when the animals got on board they settled down. Some might have gone into hibernation status. Then, after a period of seven days of waiting, 7:16 says “and YHVH shut him in” This means that “God himself shut the outside door”. The period of grace was over, death and judgment would begin. Every human being on this earth is under a period of grace when we can come into the presence of Adonai and enter into the “ark of salvation” which is Yeshua. After our physical death, our fate is sealed, judgment will fall. Eternal condemnation in the lake of fire for the lost, and for believers, our “works” will be judged where we will either receive or lose rewards, yet we ourselves will inherit eternal life with the King of Kings, and LORD of Lords. The WORD says that it rained for 40 days and nights. “40” is the number of “judgment and testing,” it says that the waters rose above the highest mountains 22 feet. This proves that it was a “universal flood” not a local flood. During this time, there was a lot of seismic activity, shifting of the earth's continents, creating new mountain chains and ridges. We have no idea how the pre-diluvian earth looked like, but after the flood, Noach and his family stepped out into a strange and different world. The flood waters were upon the earth for a year, and the Word says that in the seventh month and on the seventeenth day of that month (Tishrei) the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. Isn’t it surprising that the ark came to rest on dry land during the third day of Sukkot! Noah’s “Sukkah” received “shalom” and on the first day of the first month “Nissan” “New Year’s Day” the waters had completely dried up on the earth. This is very significant because the whole earth is starting anew, a new year for a renewed earth. So, Noah and his family leave the ark and start life anew. About 4000 years later, a Turkish countryman and his son, and later the Tzar’s army soldiers found the ark halfway sticking out of an ice glacier on Mt. Ararat. They took measurements and explored it, so, Yes, it was found. Noah and his family left the ark, and the first thing Noah did was to build an altar and sacrifice clean animals. Here again is the burnt offering to remind us of our sin nature. After the flood was when God gave permission to eat the flesh of clean animals, before, mankind was vegetarian. Yes, Noah was a Tzadik, a righteous man yet he still had his sin nature. He planted a vineyard and got drunk from the wine he made. Ham, one of the sons of Noah saw his father naked inside his tent. We do not know what happened, if he just saw him naked, or…perhaps…committed some kind of perverse sexual thing on Noah, we only know that the Torah says that when Noah awakened from his drunkenness he discovered what his son had “done unto him”(9:24) implying that something was “done” Ham did not just “see” his father naked. The result is that Noah was angry and cursed “Canaan” Ham’s son. Now, we don’t understand why the grandson had to suffer for what his father had done. Doesn’t seem fair, well, life ISN’T fair. It never has been. We’re living in a lost and dying world, a world that is going down the tubes. One thing is that Noah had already blessed his sons, and being blessed, you cannot take the blessing from them. Are there any Canaanites alive today? I would say not. They ended up being a perverse, vial people. Now the world becomes populated again. People start moving around from the three sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japheth. From these three sons, we get the three main people groups of the world. “Shem” the Semites, “Ham” the Hamites which went down toward Africa, and “Japheth” who brought about the European peoples. One of the popular names from Japheth is “Ashkenaz” who was the father, one could say, of the Ashkenazim East European Jews later on. “Tubal” = Tobolsk (in Russia) “Meshek” = Moscow (Russia) Another name is “Nimrod” who came from “Ham” and also “Mizraim” (Egypt) and “Cush” (Ethiopia, Sudan) Nimrod founded Babylon. From here we get the division of the world languages. At that time, the descendants of Noah spoke only one language, probably Hebrew, The people under Nimrod contracted a bad disease, namely “US-itess” “Let US build US a city let US make US a name least WE be scattered abroad the earth” (11:4) the direct opposite of what YHVH ordered them to do, to “multiply and fill the earth again with people! The flood taught them nothing! They continued to rebel. The Torah says that YHVH gave them new languages. According to scholars, from one language came 70 languages then, and 70 people groups. So, they left Babel and went off into different directions to repopulate the earth, so that is how languages started. They were complete with grammar, syntax, many even with written words. Today, there are lot more than 70 languages, but no matter what language a person speaks, YHVH knows his name in ALL languages, and ALL who call upon the NAME of the LORD will be saved! When a person prays to receive Yeshua as LORD and Savior, no matter what the language is, HE will HEAR and come into that person’s life! Remember, HE is the author of ALL languages of the world. ISAIAH 54:1-55:5 Am Yisrael is compared to the “sands of the sea” and the “dust of the earth” and the “Stars of heaven” The prophet Yeshayahu in these verses are comforting Israel that they will be blessed, with descendants, even though at the time they might be going through some rough times, always, when people go away from the LORD and follow other gods, then judgment will follow, and suffering will follow, however, YHVH will never reject his people…and…He will increase their numbers. In spite of HaSatan trying to wipe the Jewish people from existence through the Holocaust, pogroms, etc. The people will continue to exist. Why is Israel compared to the “sands of the sea?” because who can count each and every grain of sand? Why is Israel compared to the “dust of the earth?” One walks on the dust, and Israel has been trampled on, like dust, but dust is enduring. Leave a car outside in the desert, in the dust, for perhaps one-hundred years. In the end, the car will no longer exist, it will have been wasted away, yet the dust will continue to exist, forever. Why “the stars of heaven?” because Israel will “shine” like the stars, because, the Mashiach came from Israel, and He shines, as everlasting light. Israel will be a light to the nations and will teach the nations of ONE GOD “Echad” MATTHEW 3:1-4:25 Yochanan the Baptizer is in the Jordan, baptizing the people, getting them ready to meet their Mashiach, his cousin, his LORD. We need to get our hearts and minds right, a need to change is necessary, to leave the lost world behind and embrace the things of the LORD. Yeshua is baptized, goes into the wilderness, fasts for 40 days, getting ready for his ministry and teaching, healing, and finally, dying for our sins. 40 is the number for testing and judgment. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but from every word that proceeds from the mouth of Adonai”. Yes, physical food is necessary, and it feeds the physical body, yet the WORD of God feeds our spirit man/woman. There needs to be a balance between the two. Good, healthy, kosher food which Adonai gave us, and HIS WORD, which is the living manna. Yeshua settles in Capernaum, or in Hebrew “K’far Naum” the “Covering of Naum”. I have been there, to Capernaum, and the synagogue that Yeshua visited is still there, although it was torn down a rebuilt a few times, the floor is the same. It was an honor to physically “walk” where Yeshua walked and taught Torah. The remains of Peter’s house is also there. Let’s walk the way Yeshua walked, let’s keep on preparing our hearts, and minds, and our lives. The Kingdom of Heaven IS here, it IS at hand. The “Kingdom of God” is HIS activity here on earth. Shabbat Shalom…………. Rabbi Ben Avraham
  7. PARASHAH: “B’reisheet” (In the Beginning) GENESIS 1:1-6:8…………………ISAIAH 42:5-43:10……………MATTHEW 1:1-2:23 During Simchat Torah, we begin in Genesis…But…Some have the tradition of reading last few verses of Deuteronomy, (34:10-12) “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moshe……..and in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moshe shewed in the sight of all Israel.” Interesting that the very last word in Deuteronomy is “Israel”. We read verses 10 through 12 and in the same breath, continue with Genesis 1:1. Meaning that the Torah is a continuous book, like a circle. The very first line in Genesis, the very first line in the Torah has so much meaning; “B’reisheet bara Elohim ET haShamayim v’et haAretz” (In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth). One thing to point out, in many English Bibles, the word “heaven” is singular and should be “heavens” (plural), because in Hebrew, “HaShamayim” is “heavens”. Also, in the words; “B’reisheet Bara Elohim” (In the beginning, Elohim created) we find the mixed letters that spell out “Israel” also. So, the Torah begins with “Israel” and ends with “Israel”. If we look at the Hebrew letters that spell out “B’reisheet Bara Elohim” we find “Israel” how? Well let’s see;……. Beit, Resh, Aleph, Shin, Yod, Tav……Beit, Resh, Aleph…..Aleph, Lamed, Hey, Yod, Mem sofit. Then we pick out the letters that form “Israel” Yod, Shin, Resh, Aleph, Lamed. What can this tell us? That from the “Beginning” Elohim had Israel in mind! This is just one way one could look at this. If we count the Hebrew words, we have “7” words in the first verse. “7” is the perfect number of YHVH. If we take the seven words, and take the middle word “ET” and take this word “ET” and draw a vertical line from it, we can make a “Menorah” three lines from the middle line connected to “ET” to the other words in this first verse. The word “ET” has not a literal translation, yet it points to a specific object which is very important. “ET” in the ancient Hebrew letters are the “Alef and the Tav” or in Greek, the “Alpha and Omega” Or…. the “God of the Covenant”. So, every time we see “ET” in the original Hebrew, we are reminded of “YHVH, the God of the Covenant” Why does the Bible start with the letter “Beit” or “B”? why not with “Alef” or “A”. Isn’t the “Alef” the symbol for “God”? There is a story about the letters “Alef” and “Beit” who are having an argument as to who would be first. They both came to Elohim and presented their case. Elohim-YHVH said, “Alef”, you are very important as you represent who I AM. You will be the third letter in the Bible because “3” symbolizes “Elohim” because we are united as Father, Son, and Spirit, three entities in one “Echad” being. “As for you, letter “Beit” you will be first because you symbolize the “house” which I will make for mankind, for the plants, trees, and flowers, and for all the beasts which I will create. This house will be called “earth”. This perfect planet will be a “B’rakhah” a “Blessing” to my creation, therefore, the Torah must start with “B” Also, the letter “Beit” is closed on three sides, yet open on one, the left side. This means that before the “beginning” there was nothing, only Elohim, and revelation starts with “B” going towards the “left” as the Hebrew is written.” So, therefore, the Alef and the Beit left, both satisfied with the verdict from Elohim-YHVH. We also see in the first line, the creation of the three basic elements of the universe; “space” (the heavens) “time” (in the beginning) and “matter” (the earth). We have an infinite God that comes out of infinity past and speaks and creates a finite earth. Creates matter. The first law of Thermodynamics states that; “All matter has been created and that there is no more matter being created” what we do see is that “matter changes states” (from liquid to solid, = water to ice) or from liquid to gas = water vapor. We can also see today the effects of the “2nd law of thermodynamics, that shows that everything in the material world is on a downward spiral, from order to disorder, from composition to decomposition, from perfection to imperfection, why? Because of sin! The wages of sin is death, and therefore, not only in the world of the living but also, in the material world, everything is “dying” Elohim looked upon the earth he was forming, which was then, a lot of water and earth elements, and then spoke in verse 3 saying; “Haya haOr” (let there be light) “V’yahi or” (and there was light). And Elohim saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness” (vs 4) There are 4 levels of Torah understanding which are “Peshat” (literal), “Derash” (moral and spiritual), “Remez” (Symbolic), and “Sod” (hidden), (this is when we use gematria, or numbers with math to come to different revelations, mind you this is NOT numerology!) There was the physical light, the light we can see, and also, the WORD of God which is looked upon as “light” YESHUA also is referred to the “Light of the World” light is also “sinless perfection” and the “darkness” is also the physical darkness, which is needed, for us to rest at night, so that the flowers can close up and sleep. I can also refer to the “spiritual darkness” which is “evil” or “sin”. SO… there is a separation between what is holy and what is not holy, between sin and perfection, between evil and good. Between our “daylight” and our “nighttime” (taking it literally). Now, if I were going to study every verse, this first parashah would be perhaps ten pages long, so, we are going to jump a bit. Elohim created all that this earth contains in 6 literal days, of 24-hour periods. Now, there is some SSs (silly scientists) that say, “the six days are considered a period of four-billion years!” really? Really? Well, if we look at verse 12 it says that Elohim created the plants, trees, grass, etc, then in verse 14, it says that Elohim created the lights in the heavens, which include the sun, moon, and the stars. Well, if each “day” consisted of, let’s say 600,000,000 years, then, how would the plants and trees, and life itself survive without sunlight for this amount of time? Many times, we just have to take God’s word literally. “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness…and Elohim created the man and the woman in His own image” (vs 26-27). What does this mean, in HIS own image? What is the IMAGE of ELOHIM? One could say that the image of Elohim is complete holiness and perfection! Sinlessness! That was how the first couple were made. The earth was “created” without any previous existing matter, yet man and woman were “created” using “already existing matter” namely,” the dust of the earth (adamah). The name “Elohim” shows the “plural unity (Echad)” of God, and just as Elohim consists of the Father, the Son, and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) so man and woman were also joined “Echad” with Elohim in mind, soul, and spirit. What is man? What is woman? But a soul and spirit inhabiting a flesh and bone body. Bodies that will one day (because of sin) deteriorate and cease to function and return to the earth. Elohim loved his creation of man and woman. He placed them in a perfect paradise home, a garden full of trees that produced fruit, nuts, flowers, clean water, animals that were friendly. The only prohibition was the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. But…as we know the story, HaSatan, tricked them into eating the forbidden fruit. As soon as Adam and Eve ate the fruit (and nowhere does it say that it was an apple) the Word says that they “realized that they were naked” (3:7) but weren’t they already naked? I mean, they weren’t created wearing Levis! however...remember the word “light” the words “light” and “skin” are written almost the same way in Hebrew, the only difference is the first letter, “skin” is “OR” written with the letter “ayin” which symbolizes “eye” and OR (light) is written with an “Aleph” It is possible, and probable that Adam and Eve were created with a covering of “light” When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai after being with God for 40 days, he was “glowing” with light, the Shekinah light, and Moses was a sinner, imagine Adam and Eve who were sinless, their light covering would have been permanent had they not sinned (and would still be alive today). When they disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit, the light covering must have vanished, THEN…they saw that they were NAKED, without the light, which served, one could say as, “a skin of light over the skin of flesh” The sin of eating the forbidden fruit shows the following; the LUST OF THE FLESH, THE LUST OF THE EYES, AND THE PRIDE OF LIFE. Eve was hungry, she “saw” that it looked really delicious, and, she, “thought” it would make her “wise” as the serpent lied to her saying the same. Sin today is the same, it is a mix of all three things, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life “And YHVH Elohim made coats of skins for the man and for the woman and dressed them” (3:21) This is the very first blood sacrifice in the Bible. YHVH had to sacrifice one or two innocent animals, perhaps two lambs or goats, to “cover” Adam and Eve. This is a reminder of Yom Kippur, where the blood of animals covered the sins of Israel for one year. This would be a reminder to Adam and Eve of their sin. Their sin caused an innocent, blameless animal to lose its life. The Word of God does not say, but we can imagine that YHVH told Adam and Eve that they would have to sacrifice a lamb, or a goat, or another kosher animal every day, to remind them of their sin. We look towards the cross of Calvary and we see YESHUA the LAMB of God who offered himself up as a blood sacrifice for our sins, once and forever, not just to cover, but to erase. In chapter 4 we see the birth of Kayin and Hevel (Cain and Abel) They were born with the sin nature, and we see in both boys, the direction of the world that would follow; some would choose holiness and all that is good and others would choose the unholy and all that is evil. There came a time when they both had to offer sacrifices (that is why I said that Adam and Eve must have taught them to do the same). Hebel chose to obey and Kayin chose to disobey. Kayin offered a sacrifice, but it was not a blood sacrifice, rather it was a “grain offering” nothing wrong with a grain offering, but a blood sacrifice was needed. Therefore, it was rejected. Hebel however, offered the correct sacrifice, a blood sacrifice, and it was accepted. This caused anger and jealousy in Kayin and we know the story, Kayin rose up and murdered his brother Hebel. Yet YHVH Elohim still offers him an opportunity to repent and confess his sin, but Kayin does not. Then YHVH Elohim says; “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground” (4:10) the Hebrew word is “damei” or “bloods” it is written in the plural. But why is this? This is eluded to the idea (which is written in the Talmud) that “he who saves the life of one person is as if he has saved a whole nation, and he who takes a life of another, is as if he has murdered a whole nation.” It is as if the souls of all the “would have been” descendants of Hebel were crying out for vengeance because they would not be permitted to be born. “the voice of thy brother’s bloods cries out…” the many “bloods” cry out in “one voice” so it seems. Hebel is slain, his blood is sacrificed, and Kayin goes away, runs away to the land of wandering (Nod) and becomes a vagabond, just wandering, living off the fruit of trees and whatever grows of its self, since now, his farming days are over, YHVH curses the land he farmed as punishment. We can see here again a shadow of Yom Kippur. In Yom Kippur, two goats were selected, one was sacrificed and the other was “sent away” Here, Innocent and righteous Hebel is sacrificed, and Kayin “goes away” yet this “going away” is in the negative light, he “goes away” from the presence of Adonai, while Hebel goes “into the presence of Adonai” There is a saying that goes like this; “you can mix good apples with bad apples, and the good will never correct the bad, rather the bad-rotten apples will corrupt the good ones. Well, that is the way the “world turned” way back then, as the years pass, the descendants of Kayin mixed with the descendants of Seth, (who was born after the death of Hebel. “and it came to be that when men began to increase on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And YHVH said ‘My Ruach will not strive with mankind forever in his going astray. He is flesh, and his days shall be 120. The Nephilim (in some translations, the giants) were on the earth in those days and when the sons of Elohim came into the daughters of men, they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men of old, men of name(fame). 6:1-4 There are two schools of thought when the issue of “B’nei Elohim” comes up. Some believe that it refers to the godly line of Seth mixing with the ungodly line of Kayin. The other school of thought which is more probable is that the “sons of God” refer to the fallen angels that were kicked out of heaven together with HaSatan. These “b’nei Elohim” somehow and someway transformed themselves into flesh and blood, and the offspring of those “demon-human” relationships were born “giants”. The word “Nephilim” means “fallen ones”. It does not mean “giants” …however…those “mighty men of old” many were “giants” we have examples; Goliath of Gath, Og, king of Bashan. There is archeological and paleontological evidence of a race of giants in the pre-diluvian world. Many fossil skeletons have been found some 20 some 30 feet tall. The Indians of the South-West claim that there was a race of red-haired giants who were cannibals, they could run after a herd of buffalo, catch one and bite off a leg and eat it on the run. These giants were destroyed during the flood, however, their DNA still survived. “His days shall be 120” What is it saying here? YHVH has decided to destroy and cleanse the earth by a universal flood, and Noah and his family were found to be the only righteous people around. Noah will receive instructions to build an ark, and it will take him 120 years, so, the people will have 120 years to repent, which they did not. This was a very short time being that thousands of years ago, people lived 800 or 900 years. 120 years would be like a week in our times. Noah was a “Tzadik” a “righteous person”. He went “against the flow”. Imagine a school of fish going in one direction, and you are going in the opposite direction. How about you? If the world is going down the tubes, headed for destruction, will you follow the world? Or will you remain with Yeshua and go HIS way? The choice is yours. The only way we can be a true “Tzadik Ben Elohim” (a righteous child of God) is through faith in Yeshua HaMashiach/ Jesus the Christ, through faith in HIM trusting in HIS one-time atonement for sin. ISAIAH 42:5-43:10 The prophet speaks through the Spirit of YHVH saying: “I, YHVH, have called you in righteousness, and I take hold of your hand and guard you, and give you for a Brit (covenant) to a people, for a Light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house” 42:6,7 Some say that this is referring to the prophet himself? Really? Was Yeshayahu called to be a “covenant?” to open blind eyes? To set the prisoners free? Yet re-arrange the letters in the name “Yeshayahu” and we get Y-E-S-H-U-A-H! it was HE who the prophet was talking about. His name means “Salvation” and He came as a ‘blood-covenant” that would not simply cover for a year, but to get rid of, wipe out, the sin we inherited. He came not only to his own Jewish people but also for the peoples of the nations outside of Israel. He not only opened the eyes of the physically blind but also for those who were spiritually blind. Once we did not understand the Bible, or we could have cared less for the Bible, but since we have accepted Yeshua as Messiah and LORD, now we have the Holy Spirit to help us understand the Torah. Once we lived in spiritual darkness, in the prison of HaSatan, called the “lost world” but we have been freed to follow HIM who set us free. “And I shall lead the blind by a way they have not known, in paths they have not known. I lead them. I make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight” (42:16) The new paths are the Torah paths, David wrote; “thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” By allowing God’s Word to take root in our lives, our paths are made straight, we know now how to tell the difference between the Holy and unholy, between the clean and the unclean. The WORD which is taught to us through the Ruach HaKodesh, using God’s chosen teachers is His gift to us, as born-again believers, it is our duty to stay on the right path. There are “blind people” who have eyes, yet do not see, they may see physically, but they do not see spiritually, God’s Word can change all that (43:8) MATT 3:1-4:25; JOHN 1:1 We read the ancestry of Messiah Yeshua, his birth during one of the evenings of Sukkot, and his escape with his parents to Egypt when Herod sought to kill him. Later, YHVH “brought up HIS SON out of Egypt” Adonai saw his children go into Egypt through Jacob, and they also came out of Egypt through Moshe, Adonai led HIS SON down to Egypt with Miriam and Yosef, and Yosef and Miriam led him BACK to Israel. Now, Yeshua, HIS Son leads us ALL out of the Egypt of this world through a relationship with HIM, In John 1:1 it says; “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with YHVH, and YHVH was the WORD” In this we see that Yeshua took part in the creation of this world, as “The WORD” this is the essence of the name “Elohim” the plural G-d who is “Three” yet “One” like; 1 x 1 x 1 = 1 Rabbi Petersen
  8. SIMCHAT TORAH ( The Joy of the BIBLE) So, what's it all about? This is the time of year that we take to remember the Word of Adonai to all mankind. He gave us his Torah, his teaching, guidance, instruction which is so important in a sin-filled world. He gave it to fallen mankind to give him direction to “Yeshuah” (Salvation) a reconciliation between fallen man and a Holy and Supreme, Perfect God, through “Teshuvah” a “turning around and change of mind and direction” and turn to follow our One and Only Supreme and Holy God. Torah also teaches us that G-d himself came to earth as man and yet as God, to be our mediator. Yeshua, our mediator is the only way of reconciliation between sinful man and Adonai who is Holy. The animal sacrifices illustrated the necessity of blood, yet the only blood that got rid of the curse of sin was the blood of Yeshua. This is the most important teaching of the Torah, the way back to Adonai through Yeshua our Messiah and Redeemer. The word “Torah” comes from “Yarah” which means “to point to” or “to direct towards” like an arrow that is headed towards the bulls-eye of a target. So, we ask, where did it all start? We might say that it all began with Moshe who wrote down all the words of Adonai while in the desert, starting with the Ten Commandments (Which were written by G-d himself) and compiled all together, 613 mitzvoth, which were written down in 5 scrolls. However, the Word of G-d, His Torah was even before that time. It was the time of the Oral Torah. I don’t mean the Talmud, it was way before the Talmud. The Oral Torah was the instruction that Elohim gave to Adam verbally, who passed that instruction down to Kayin and Chevel and later on to Seth, who passed it down to his descendants, and finally reached Noach, and Noach passed down the teaching to his sons, Shem, Ham, and Yafeth, who passed down the teachings to Terah, and from the there to Abraham, and then to his sons, to the sons of Israel, and from there to Moshe, who finally wrote down the instructions by the verbal commandments of Adonai. Adam sacrificed to Adonai, and so did Chevel, (Abel) a burnt offering. How did they learn about that if not through the spoken words of G-d? How did Noach know about the clean and unclean animals to put aboard the ark, unless God told him about those kinds of animals since the clean and unclean commandments of Kashrut didn’t appear until Leviticus 11, which was way after the time of Noach. So now we have the written Torah in our midst, and we ought to be thankful that we have it with us, and in some homes, probably quite a few copies of the Bible, which is the Greek word “Biblios” which means “books” So, what does the Torah consist of? How many books? Manuscripts? Well that depends on what one considers the complete “Torah” In today’s Judaism, we see quite a few denominations, just like in Christianity, we see quite a few denominations. We have Ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, Chasidim, Reformed, Conservative, and Messianic (those who believe and accept Yeshua as Messiah and Redeemer. As we are all part of the great International Community of Israel, or the Commonwealth of Israel, consisting of those born and raised in Israel as well as those born outside of Israel. Even those who have lost their contact with the faith through pogroms, persecution, accepting other faiths, many have returned to the faith of Abraham and have recognized their Jewish heritage, even if it came from great ancestors. We must be tolerant one with the other, listening to one anther’s views open-mindedly, not in a condemning manner. We can look at the schools of Shammai and Hillel and see their examples. A student once had a question concerning an aspect of the Torah, and went to the school of Shammai and ask the sage the question. “It means this-and-that” and he continued. He later went to the school of Hillel and asked the same question about the Torah. Hillel asked the student; “What did Shammai say?” the student said, “He said, this-and-that”. “Well” stated Hillel, “ I’ll give you our view” and he told the student their view. Afterward, he said, “now consider the view of Shammai and our view and come to your own conclusion, what does the Spirit of God tell you?” So, just like the schools of Shammai and Hillel had their views on the Torah, so must we also listen to those who perhaps have different views, whether the person is conservative, orthodox, Messianic, or another denomination. After all, we are ALL people of the Torah, and if terrorists come and wish to murder us all, they will not come up to ask us what we believe, whether or not we believe that Yeshua is Messiah or whether we keep Kosher or not, all they will look for will be kippahs on our heads and Tzitziot hanging from our undershirts or belts, we will all die together as “Am Y’hudim v’Israelim” Some believe that the Torah consists of only the 5 books of Moshe, Genesis to Deuteronomy. Others accept also the Nevi’im and Ketuvim (the Prophets and the Writings) up to Malachi, while Messianic believers also embrace and accept the gospels of the Brit HaDASHAH, up to Revelation. One thing that is certain, ALL is Torah, The Instruction of a ONE and Holy God (Echad) through his chosen writers, through a period of two thousand years. What does Torah teach us? It teaches us that G-d is Perfect, Holy (Tamim v’Kadosh) and that He made man in His holy image, yet man was tempted by HaSatan and thus broke fellowship with his creator. Adonai reached down and sent his prophets his words to bring fallen mankind back into a right relationship with Him again, using His spoken and written word, He directed us to a ‘Yeshuah” (salvation) experience and thus, bringing us back into a right relationship with Him again. The Torah is a continuous book of reading and studying. It is ALL related, just as a circle has no beginning nor end, so the Torah is continuous, and every part is connected to the next part. Here are some examples. The custom of Simchat Torah is to begin reading from Genesis 1:1; “B’reisheet Bara Elohim…” (In the beginning, Elohim….) yet many begin by reading the last verse in Deuteronomy 34:12. And in the same breath continue with Genesis 1:1. How do these verses relate? The last word in Deuteronomy is “Israel” the first word in Genesis is “B’reisheet” (In the beginning) If we take this a step into the Derashic level of understanding, one could say, “even in the beginning, God had Israel in his mind and heart!” If we take it even a step further, the last letter in Deuteronomy is “L” (Lamed) and the first letter in the Torah is “B” (beit) if we put “lamed and beit” together we get the word “Lev” (heart) thus getting the understanding that “In the beginning, Israel was in the heart of Elohim” Let’s take a step further, the last word in Malachi is “Cherem” (curse or destruction) and the first word in Genesis is “B’reisheet” (in the beginning) how do these words relate? In the beginning, Elohim created a perfect world which was “destroyed” by the “curse” bringing sin into the world. The last letter in Malachi is a “Mem” sofit. The letter “Mem” (M) symbolizes “chaos, water, multitudes”, while the letter “Beit” (B) symbolizes “house” or “household”. What is the relation? In the beginning, chaos was introduced into the multitudes (people) through the curse of the original sin, and the world was destroyed by water (The Genesis Flood). Let’s go a step further, for those who are of the Messianic belief. The last book in the Bible is Revelation. The last word in the Book of Revelation is “Amen” and the first word in the Bible is “B’reisheet” “Amen” means “So be it” or “Let it be so”. We can see that “In the beginning, Elohim created the Heavens and the earth, “Let it be so” (amen) The last letter in “amen” is the letter “Nun” (N) which symbolizes “life” and of course, the “Beit” symbolizes “House” so one could say, “In the beginning, God’s household was full of life! Life, happiness, joy, bliss, in Gan Eden, (In the Garden of Eden) up until the time of sin…then…all changed. And we all know the rest. We are all reaping the whirlwind. The Torah gives us the way of righteous living before a Holy God and before mankind. Following and living the mitzvoth of Adonai. They direct us toward the right path to “Yeshuah” (salvation) by faith. In the following weeks, I will present a series of Torah portions with Midrashim so that all who would like to read and follow the weekly Torah cycle, can do so. Hag Sameach Simchat Torah Rabbi Ben Avraham
  9. DEUTERONOMY 33: 1-34:11…….ZECHARIAH 14:16-19 We are at the end of the five books of the Torah, yet as we all know, the whole Torah is ALL the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, yet this was the beginning of Adonai’s speaking his words to be written down by his chosen Prophets, in this case, Moshe. In Chapter 33, Moshe blesses all the 12 tribes of Israel. Very interesting are the words in verse 7: “And this of Y’hudah, and he said, “Hear YHVH, the voice of Y’hudah and bring him to his people, His hands shall fight for him, and you be a help against his enemies.” The sacred name of Adonai is used here, as in all places where the name LORD is used, yet it is also in the name “Y’hudah”. Y + H + V (u) d + H. Here the letter “u” is also the “Vav”. So we see God’s name in the largest tribe. As promised, Adonai will put his name in his people. Let’s go to the derashic level. Does this point to something? We can take this to the “Sukkot” level. “Shema YHVH, ha Kol YHVH!” God listens to God! YHVH came to earth in flesh and blood as YESHUA during this time of Sukkot. The Father brought the SON to HIS people. The hands of Yeshua fought for Israel and for ALL of mankind. He was a help against ALL enemies. Yet the fight was on the spiritual level, against HaSatan and against the curse of sin. Adonai lifted up and spread out his hands on Calvary’s cross to receive the nails, (symbolized by the letter “vav”) The very name YHVH symbolizes in the ancient Hebrew; “behold or revealed the hand, behold or revealed the nail” His very name points to Yeshua. His death paid the price of sin for ALL of mankind, but to make it effective, one must trust in Yeshua’s sacrifice on the personal level, to receive HIM as LORD and Savior. (33:11) O YHVH, bless his strength and the work of his hands, strike through the loins of those who rise against him, and of those who hate him, that they rise no more” We can look at this in two ways. Adonai has indeed blessed Israel, even though it is a small country, about the size of El Salvador, (El Salvador was one of the first countries to accept and support Israel as a nation), a country that has a powerful army, the IDF and Air Force, and was able to defend herself through God’s power, against many Arab nations who wanted to see the destruction of the Jewish state. “accept the work of his hands” Yeshua, who is our “Cohen Gadol” our High Priest, put out his hands to receive the nails, and thus was his work, his offering, his sacrifice for us all, “accepted” by the Father. Since sin entered the world by a man, (Adam) so a second man had to pay the price of sin that entered the world by the first Adam. It couldn’t be any ordinary man, it had to be “God and Man” both, that is why Yeshua is called the “Second Adam” Chap 34: We see that Moshe is ready to die and be buried by YHVH himself, yet he allows him to see the land which Israel will inherit. It is amazing that Moshe saw ALL the land as far as the Mediterranean Sea. Perhaps Adonai gave Moshe a “Close-up look” a miracle that happened only that time, to see so far away. Is it possible that Adonai gave Moshe a glimpse into the future, so as to see Israel in the future as well? The book closes with Yehoshua Ben Nun taking the lead, being filled with the wisdom of Adonai. He will lead the people into the promised land. Yehoshua is symbolic of “Yeshua” who is the “Life” which is what the letter “nun” symbolizes. Within the letters of the name “Yehoshua” is the name “Yeshua”, which when written in Paleo Hebrew, we can see the name “Yeshua” with the letter “hey” (h) in the name, meaning “Yeshua is revealed” and “Salvation is of YAH” It is Yeshua who leads us into the promised land, which is the New Jerusalem. He came in person during this time of Sukkot, which is all about “God coming to tabernacle among men” He came the first time as fire on top of Mt. Sinai, then came to dwell among the Israelites in the Mishkan, as fire and smoke, then he came in flesh and blood as Yeshua, then he returned in the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) on Shavuot (Pentecost), and He is still here among us all. He will return in the future to set up his millennial kingdom. Yeshua is as close as prayer is. He paved the way for us all, and the way was through the Cross of Calvary for all who believe. ZECHARIAH 14:16-19 Zekaryah Ha Navi (Zechariah the Prophet) is seeing into the future, during the millennial reign of Yeshua HaMelech (Yeshua the King) who is now on earth and reigns over all nations. A reign of peace has now begun and all will rejoice in this period of “shalom”. All the nations of the earth will go up to Yerushalayim to worship King Yeshua and to celebrate the Festival of Sukkot. It says that if “anyone of the clans (or families) of the earth does not come up to Yerushalayim to bow down and worship the King, then on them there will be no rain” But what exactly does this mean, we might ask? Does this mean that every person in every nation of the world will have to leave home and go up to Yerushalayim to celebrate Sukkot and worship Yeshua? If this were the case, how would so many people fit inside Yerushalayim? You can only get so many people inside a city. What would be the population of the world after the tribulation, perhaps with half of the world’s population dead through the plagues and wrath of Adonai, there would probably still be perhaps quite a few billion inhabitants of the earth, so, how would they all fit? Now, this is just my idea, my idea only. Perhaps, just perhaps the families of the nations’ leaders would be required to go up to celebrate Sukkot and worship Yeshua. These families would represent all the families of said nations, and any nation that does not send representatives, well, that nation would not receive rain in due season. This would make more sense than every family on earth going up to Jerusalem. The other thought would be that Jerusalem would be a lot larger than it is now, being a renewed earth during the millennial reign of Yeshua, but still, fitting in ALL of earth's families would still be far-fetched. One can only suppose what will happen. Well, my thoughts only. Shabbat Shalom……..Rabbi Ben Avraham
  10. PARASHA: “HaAzinu” (give ear) DEUT 32:1-52…………………2 SAM 22:1-51…………………JOHN 20:1-31 Before going into this study, I would like to go back to chapter 30:15; “See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil in that I command you this day to love YHVH thy God to walk in his ways and to keep his commandments…” It is very interesting to see how Moshe words this. We are used to hearing and reading the words “life and death” associated together, and “good and evil” associated together. We see these word comparisons because they are opposites, yet here we see the words “life and good” associated together, as well as “death and evil” associated together. Is there perhaps a connection? Perhaps the answer is in that “doing good deeds, “mitzvoth” will produce a prosperous life, a life which is blessed by Adonai be it a short life or a long life. We can also see that living a life doing evil deeds, will produce death, perhaps death very soon. It can also bring spiritual death as well as physical if the person does not repent and turn to Yeshua. That is why Moshe commands us to “Love” Adonai and walk in his ways and keep his commandments. In this way, we are certain to live a life of meaning and reap the rewards when we appear before the judgment seat of Messiah. Again, keeping the commandments does not bring salvation, salvation is a separate issue based on our faith in our risen Messiah. “Give ear!” I am sure that we don’t hear that expression very often today, but in the times of Yeshua, it was like saying today; “Yo, listen up dudes!” “Will ya listen t’me already?” or “Hey, listen, I have something important to say!” This is Moshe’s last speech, and he wants all of Israel to pay attention, He is looking into the future, and sadly, he sees the nation of Israel in apostasy, going against the commandments of YHVH, going after strange gods and heading to corruption. He calls all of Heaven and earth as witnesses. We can be assured that the angels of heaven heard this speech, and “His” people who were on earth also heard, they were right there. “I will proclaim the name YHVH, and the greatness of Eloheinu” Here Moshe mentions two of the many names of God, the most holy, “Yod Hey Vav Hey” When we look at these letters from the ancient Hebraic aspect we get “behold the hand, behold the nail” this takes us directly to Calvary and imagine Mashiach hanging there by the nails in his hands (wrists). The name “Eloheinu” is the “behold the God who leads (us) and connects (us) to life through his hands” when we go to the ancient Hebraic symbolism of the letters. “The ROCK, His work is perfect! Here is another name of God, “The ROCK” (HaTzur) from the letter “Tz” which symbolizes “Tzadik” (one who is righteous) and the word “Perfect” (Tamim) from “Tamei” which is “clean and pure” we have heard of God being called the “Rock of Ages” the “Solid Rock” Moshe is saying all of this through the Holy Spirit so that the people can understand that THEY are the problem, not God. In all this song (Shir) he lets Israel know that they will be “doing wrong” and “have been wrong” Moshe is like a father speaking to his children to change their ways, or curses will follow. All this time, YHVH has provided for their needs, giving them water from the ROCK, and when Israel goes into the promised land, they will “wax fat” they will receive blessings from their cattle and crops, YHVH refers to Israel as “Yeshurun” which is the ancient name for “Yerushalayim” it was the ROCK (YHVH) who begot thee! This, of course, refers to ELOHIM as their “father” so why go against him? It also says that he will “rouse them to jealousy with a no-people and a vile nation” because they provoked YHVH with a “no-god” the “no-people” and “vile nation” could be the pagan nations outside of Israel. At that time, all the nations outside of Israel were pagan, idolatrous nations, worshiping false gods. Adonai has “called” those nations to worship and recognize HIM as God, in a way, He is saying; “OK, you want to go after false gods, OK, I will look for worshipers in other places, I will accept other “peoples” to become part of my “called out ones”. Not that HE rejected Israel as his people, NEVER! He just “added” more people, (the Gentile nations) to become part of his “called out family”. We must remember that Abraham was from Mesopotamia! which was a pagan nation, yet her responded to the “call” to “Leave his people and follow HIM” and the result would be a “New People” a people of the “Book” of the “Torah” who would be a “light to the pagan world”, a people who would bring forth the Messiah. “For YHVH will judge his people” (vs 36) and Yes, he DID, and still does. The word “judge” has two meanings, one is “taking counsel to take certain kind of action either for or against” and the other meaning is “condemn, or sentence” Israel sowed corruption and chased after false gods, and reaped the whirlwind! Yet YHVH is a God of forgiveness and love. (43) “Sing aloud all ye nations of His People (Goyim Amo!) This verse sees the nations as part of HIS PEOPLE, being grafted into the olive tree, peoples outside of Israel, who have accepted the atonement of Yeshua for their sins, become part of “Am Yisrael” and YHVH will avenge the “blood of his servants” We are all part of HIS PEOPLE, He loves us and has blessings in store for us, whether we were born in Israel or not, it doesn’t matter. His people started with 12 tribes and has extended to the whole world. 2 SAM 22:1-51 YHVH is my ROCK (Tzuri) and my fortress, and my deliverer; “Elohei Tzuri” (My God) in who I will take refuge. My shield and horn of YESHUATI. (2 Sam) The Spirit of God is speaking, again, using the name ROCK and ELOHEI TZURI, (the God who leads who is my righteousness) We see the name YESHUA…my “Hightower” (hey, that’s the name of my high school!) and my refuge. We take refuge in HIM because he has provided us with salvation, eternal life, a “Hightower” is a look-out tower in a fortress where the guards can see the enemy coming. Through Yeshua, the enemy has been beaten. He has been beaten by the “blood”. Vs 32; “Who is God save YHVH and who is a ROCK save our God?” again, the names TZUR-ELOHEINU Also, in Hosea 14, the prophet tells Israel “Return to YHVH your Elohim, for you have stumbled by your wickedness… for the ways of YHVH are straight and the righteous walk in them! (vs 9). The Prophet Micah also says; “He shall turn back, and have compassion on us, He shall trample upon our wickedness. And you shall throw all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19) It is not surprising that this verse is read just a week before Yom Kippur. A Yom Kippur tradition is taking breadcrumbs and going to a flowing body of water, throwing the bread crumbs into it. This tradition is known as “tashlich” the breadcrumbs symbolize our sins and the body of flowing water, the sea! The prophet Joel says; “and you shall know that I AM in the midst of Israel and that I AM YHVH your ELOHIM, and there is no one else.” No wonder he speaks through his prophets, over and over again telling his people to “love HIM” and to “Follow HIM” doing and keeping his commandments. Unfortunately, his people forgot all of that and later on, follow pagan gods, thus reaping the whirlwind! But just as a father will punish, but not abandon his son, neither will Adonai abandon HIS people and forget them. A loving father chastises yet continues to love. JOHN 20:26-21:25 A very interesting reading, as Yeshua appears to his talmidim after his resurrection, and meets them by the Sea of Galilee, or Tiberias, as it is sometimes called. Since he knew that they were fishermen, he decided to help them out again, since they caught no fish during the night. “Throw your net over the right side of the boat,” Yeshua told them, and the caught 153 fish. It was then that they realized; “It is Mashiach Yeshua!” It is also interesting that the number “153” is symbolic as well. The words, “Ani Elohim” (I am God) sums up in Hebrew gematria to “153” (Ani = 61) (Elohim = 92) 61+92=153. Yeshua also has a talk with Kefa, “Do you love me?” then…feed my lambs, shepherd my sheep, feed my sheep” three times he asked, “do you love me?” the answer came back, feed and shepherd the lambs and the sheep. What is the difference between a lamb and a sheep? A lamb is a very young sheep, up to one-year-old. So, what is Yeshua telling us here? If we love the LORD, then, as believers and followers, we are to teach and guide both young and old believers, believers who are at different stages in their spiritual walk. If you want to be used by the LORD, just ask HIM for opportunities to share the Word and teach the Word, there are believers who are willing to learn and be guided. There are also the “lost” yet have an open mind to listen to the Words of God, the Words of the “Lamb” of God who took the sins of the world upon himself to set us free! Shabbat Shalom………. Rabbi Ben Avraham
  11. PARASHAH: “VaYelech” (and he went) DEUT 31:1-30………………. ISAIAH 55:6-56:8……………...JOHN 18:1-19:42 Just a few important points over this short Parashah. A few more points to add to the previous study where we combined “Nitsavim and VaYelech”. “I am 120 years old today” starts Moshe, “I can no more go out and come in…” It is interesting that he mentions his age, 120 years old. Guess the day he spoke to his people was his last birthday. He would complete 120 years on earth and give up the ghost. We can divide 120 years into 3 parts, the first 40 years, the second 40 years and the third 40 years. “40” is the number of testings and trials. He lived the first 40 years as a price of Egypt and a general in the Egyptian army, through circumstances (which never happen by accident) Adonai sends Moshe running to the land of Midian where he meets his wife and family and becomes a shepherd. So, we go from royalty to a shepherd, a profession loathed by the Egyptians. Then the last 40 years are the “ministry years”. Adonai changed his profession so that he could fit into God’s perfect plan, that of freeing his people from the bondage of slavery through HIS chosen vessel. Moshe was 80 years old when he received the commission to free his people. The prior years were all “training years” or “Years of getting ready”. We ask ourselves what we will be doing when and if we reach 80 years of life? Will we be ready to continue in ministry? Or will we be looking forward to a rocking chair and sipping ice-tea through a straw? We must take the example of Moshe, active until the day he dies. One can retire from a secular job, but not from ministry. Ministry is a life-long calling. Whether it be a pastor or rabbi, Torah teacher or Sunday School teacher, music leader, youth worker, o just giving out bread to the hungry along with a gospel tract of the “Bread of Life” we must no think of retirement, not from that. “I can no more go out and come in” Moshe has already been told that he is about to leave the land of the living, so, he is to anoint the future leader, “Yehoshua” he will take the lead and lead the people to the promised land. “Yehoshua” (Joshua) is the longer name of “Yeshua” the name “Yehoshua” contains the name “Yeshuah” which is “salvation” or we could say, the name “Yeshua” with the added “h” which means “Behold, Salvation comes from “YAH” Symbolically, it is God himself who will take the people through the final steps of the journey to reach the promised land, through his servant Joshua. We will not live forever in our mortal bodies, sooner or later, we must name a successor, someone who will take our place. Kind of like Luke Skywalker taking “Yoda’s place as the next “Jedi” yet he had to get prepared first! We need to be preparing someone who will be the next “you” in ministry. After Moshe had finished writing the scrolls of the Torah, he gave them to the priests to put besides the Ark of the Covenant. So, I imagine that the Ark of the Covenant had some sort of “side-pocket” or a place to put the scrolls. Now, the “Aron HaKodesh” was complete, with a gold chest with the tablets of the Commandments, the pot of Manna, Aron’s rod, and now the Torah scrolls. All to remind us that the “Torah is our guide and leader to give us the “Bread of Life” who is Yeshua, who leads us through his Holy Spirit and his WORD. Moshe also commanded that the Torah would be read during the time of Sukkot at the end of seven years (vss 10,11) It may have been just the book of “D’varim (Deuteronomy) or the whole Torah (from Genesis to Deuteronomy) I would like to think that it was the whole Torah (the five books at that time). That way, the people would listen to the history of the world, the entrance of sin, and the plan of redemption. Why is the WORD of God important to us? What is its purpose in our lives? Why should it be so important to read and study it? It shows us the perfection and sinless being of God and who He is. It points out our weakness and sinful nature, and it points us to reconciliation with God through Yeshua. Then it teaches us how to live a holy and righteous life-style through the mitzvoth (commandments) (In that order!) Good works do not come before salvation, rather the other way around. Righteous works will count towards rewards in heaven, not towards a salvation experience, THAT only comes by faith in the completed work of Yeshua at Calvary. ISAIAH 55:6-56:8 “Seek YHVH while he may be found, call upon him while he is near” But we ask ourselves, is there a time when he can NOT be found? Or when he is NOT near? One answer would be “at the time of death” if a person has not reconciled himself or herself with God through Yeshua, if a person dies lost and in the state of sin, then, YHVH will NOT be able to be found, and HE will be forever FAR AWAY. A second answer would be this. When we are living in a state of sin, or out of fellowship because of sin in our lives, it will seem that God is far from us. In reality, HE is as near as prayer and repentance. He can be “found” again. It isn’t that HE is away from us, rather WE are away from HIM. “Let him return unto YHVH” (vs 7) The word for “return” is “Shoov” or “Teshuvah” which is what the High Holy days are all about. The sinner should forsake his evil ways and “return” to Adonai. Just as the prodigal son returned to his father, we should return to OUR heavenly father. Remember that the prodigal son WAS A MEMBER OF HIS FATHER’S FAMILY! He was not an outsider. That should tell us something. 56:1 “Thus saith YHVH, keep judgment and do justice, for my YESHUAH is near to come and my righteousness to be revealed. Interested verse, the Hebrew “Mishpat (judgment) is keeping his commandments and understanding discernment in what we do. The word “justice” is Hebrew in this verse is translated as “Tzedakah” which is also giving charity. “Righteousness” is translated as “Kadosh” which is also “Holiness” so, the prophet foresees the coming of Yeshua as YHVH’s “righteousness” to be revealed to all mankind. He has already come and will come again. Are you ready for his second coming? JOHN 18:1-19:42 “After Yeshua had said all this…” but what is “all this?” He had just prayed for his disciples, his followers, if you read all of chapter 17, it shows how Yeshua prayed for all those who came to trust in him, he prayed for their protection against HaSatan, he also states; “those who WILL trust in me because of THEIR word that they may all be ONE (Echad) He is talking about you and me, we are all ONE in the body of Messiah. I think that “Y’hudah Ish Kariot” (Judas Iscariot) missed the greatest opportunity to be one of Yeshua’s disciples. Yes, he was “With” Yeshua but was not “part” of Yeshua. He was just along for the ride, didn’t learn very much (it seems). When the soldiers and temple guards said, “we are looking for Yeshua” and Yeshua answered, the word of God says that they “all fell backward”. Some believe that Yeshua answered with the infallible name of YHVH. Yet in the Hebrew New Testament, the words that Yeshua said were; “Yeshua Ani” (I am Yeshua), it does not mention the infallible name, yet even the name “Yeshua” has power in itself. Even though they came and took him roughly, and Kefa took matters into his own hands by cutting off Malchus’ ear, even then, Yeshua rebuked his own disciple and healed Malchus! Even at that time, he showed love and mercy. The world accuses the Jews as “killing Jesus!” when the truth of the matter is that no one took his life, he offered it up willingly as part of the Father’s perfect plan of redemption. It was just a handful of religious zealots who captured him, and the Romans hammered in the nails, yet it was really our sins that caused his death, his death for our life, life eternal. Rabbi Ben Avraham flying over Tel Aviv 7/2015
  12. Are the Jewish High Holy days for all believers? The reason that I have begun this writing with “Jewish” High holy days is because this is what most of Christendom believe when the holy days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot are mentioned. But in reality, they are “God’s” Holy days for ALL believers. Why do I say this? Let’s keep on reading. In Genesis 1:14 Elohim says; “and God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons” This is not talking about the 4 seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. The Hebrew word “seasons” here is “Moedim” which means “appointed times when God instructs man to come to worship” these are special times with special meanings. Elohim originally called his people Israel to celebrate these appointed times, yet when they came out of Egypt, not only did members of the 12 tribes come out but also many Egyptians and probably Nubians as well followed the Israelites out. They became part of Israel by their own choice. God made a covenant with his people, and He also had in mind these peoples who followed the true God, YHVH. In Deuteronomy 29:10-15, Adonai speaks through Moshe stating that everyone that was standing that day, from the most important person down to the lowliest common laborer, standing before Adonai were being made HIS PEOPLE, and he mentions in verse 11; “your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp” the mention of the word “stranger” usually means one who is not of the 12 tribes, “that thou should enter into covenant with YHVH thy Elohim. He included ALL into his covenant to be HIS people. From that time up til now, the people of the 12 tribes have been spread out over all the earth and from the original 12 tribes, the Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and the Falashim groups have been formed whose roots are in Israel, yet they are from the nations of East Europe, Spain and Middle East, and Africa. Christendom may be divided up into denominations, but we are all still part of the Commonwealth/community of Israel, extended outward into the world. So, we can well say that all the appointed days of Adonai are for ALL believers and followers in Yeshua/Jesus. So, these are not “Jewish” appointed days, but “God’s” appointed days. From September 9th to the end of this month we are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. How do these appointed days point to Yeshua? To be very brief, we could say the following; The sound of the trumpet or shofar which is heard on Rosh Hashanah, or Yom Teruah marks the time of repentance and inner reflection. It reminds us that the “King is coming” and for us to ready our hearts and minds. It is time for us to “Shoov” or “return” to HIM who redeemed us from the curse of sin. If we have fallen short of the mark, we should take better aim and point ourselves back to our relationship with Yeshua. Yes, we all sin and come short, yet God invites all repentant sinners to come home. The father welcomed his wayward son who had gone astray. He was returning home. He was “part” of the family already, he had just gone astray and realized the error of his ways, and returned into the arms of his beloved father. Repentance in the Hebrew is “Teshuvah” which means “a return” or “change of mind and heart.” As we think and ponder upon our relationship with our Savior. We come to “Yom Kippur” or the “Day of Atonement” Under the old covenant, the high priest could come only once a year into the “Holy of Holies” in the Tabernacle and later in the temple. That was where the “Aron HaKodesh” was kept, the “Holy of Holies” in this box were the tablets of the commandments. The high priest sprinkled blood on the mercy seat and when the “Shekinah” or the “Holy Spirit” looked down upon the mercy seat, he saw the blood of innocent animals and not the broken commandments. Yet this was only temporary, as the blood of animals could not really atone for sin, only “cover” sin. The animal blood points us to the blood that really counts, to the blood of Yeshua, whose one time only sacrifice on the cross not only covered our sins but paid the entire price of sin, eternal separation from God. His blood for our salvation. We are now rejoined with God and not separated from God. During Yom Kippur, two goats were brought to the priest. One was sacrificed and the other sent away. A priest placed his hands on the goat’s head, symbolically placing all of our sins onto the goat. The other goat was sacrificed What does this ceremony mean? It means that just as our sins were dealt with on the cross, they are also “driven away from us” never to be remembered, never to return upon our heads. The words “Yom Kippur” mean “day” (Yom) “Kippur” comes from “Kafar” meaning “covering” or also “Yom Hakipurim” (Day of the coverings) because more than one animal was sacrificed at this time. So, it wasn’t a singular “blood” (dam) but “Bloods” (damei) therefore “coverings.” Yet Yeshua’s blood was unique and ONE (one of a kind) Sinless and perfect. Just like Adam had when he was originally made in the image of Elohim. It is also a day of prayer and fasting, when the Word of God says; “afflicting one’s soul” it is a time of taking note of our sinful state, and spend the day in fasting. This year, Yom Kippur starts the evening of Sept 18 and ends the evening of Sept 19th. In mainline Jewish belief, the books that God has concerning people are closed. The state of the soul in written in those books and it will be so for one year. However, we know that the books are “always open” since the line from man to God is open 24-7 for repentance. Yeshua’s death on the cross is for all time. The final appointed day is “Sukkot” or the “Feast of Tabernacles”. This is a time of joy, gladness, rejoicing that the “King is here”. We can look at Rosh Hashanah as saying; the king is coming, get ready, Yom Kippur we could say “the King is at the door, really get ready, if you need to repent, do it now! then Sukkot would mean; “The King is here, he has come, so rejoice!” This festival of “Tabernacles” symbolizes the coming of God to this earth. A “tabernacle” is a dwelling place, usually a temporary dwelling place like a tent. YHVH came down first to his people on Sinai, in a cloud of fire and smoke on top of Mt. Sinai. There he invited Moshe up to commune with him, he gave him the commandments for HIS people. Then he came down all the way to rest on the “Mishkan” (The Tabernacle) in a cloud by day and a column of fire by night. He led his people through the desert for 40 years. Eventually, the tabernacle was replaced by the Temple. Then YHVH came to earth in the form of flesh and blood, as a man, as God-man, as Yeshua. He came around this time towards the end of September or early October. This can be proved mathematically. I am not going into “Christmas bashing” at this time, but December 25th was set aside in ancient times by Rome to commemorate the festival of Saturnalia. It celebrates the birthdate of all the pagan gods of Rome. Sukkot is a seven-day celebration, culminating on the 7th day as “Hoshana Raba” the great day of the feast. This was when Yeshua was in the temple and said; “whoever comes to me from him will flow rivers of living water” The priests at that time poured out near the altar water and wine, as Yeshua poured out his blood mixed with water on the cross, when the Roman soldier stuck a spear in his side. During this festival was when Solomon dedicated the temple. On the 8th day, it is a time to rejoice in the Torah, that we have God’s Word in our midst. The Hanukkah lights are lit for 8 days to remind us of the dedication of the first temple, and also to remind us that today we are the temple of YHVH. Our bodies contain the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of God at one time inhabited the Tabernacle and the temple. The entire chapter of Leviticus 23 speaks of the “appointed days” set aside to worship and to get right with Him. Of course, it is the choice of every believer to either celebrate or not to celebrate these days. Life is all about choices. We can either ignore these days or celebrate these days. We should not judge our brother or sister if he or she chooses not to. We are saved by grace through Yeshua, not through observance of the commandments. However, if we love the LORD we will want to do as He commands in scripture. If you want some detailed info on these Holy Days, you can go to www.hebrew4christians.com. When you go to that site, look to the left and under “home” look for and click on “Holidays” and you can get detailed info under the “Days of Awe” . Shalom Rabbi Ben Avraham
  13. PARASHIOT; “Nitsavin” (you are standing) and “VaYelech” (and he went) DEUT 29:10-31:30………………ISAIAH 61:10-63:9…………. JOHN 16:1-17:26 QUESTION? How does one stand before a righteous GOD? We are coming up to the end of Moshe’s earthly ministry. He has walked with God’s people for 40 years and has gone through a lot with them. He received the Commandments from Elohim and taught the people HIS Word. As we remember, YHVH gave the people the Ten Commandments directly and the rest of the 603 commandments were given to the people through Moshe, yet ALL the Torah comes from Adonai. Moshe has intervened quite a few times to rescue Israel from destruction. As you remember, YHVH wanted on a few occasions destroy the whole nation because of their disobedience and unbelief, yet Moshe intervened on their behalf. The same thing happens today when we have an advocate in Heaven who pleads our case before our Heavenly Father. Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Christ is that person who is our “mediator” and pleads our case and atones for our sins. As long as we have the sin nature in our bodies, we need a redeemer, a Messiah who will stand before a Holy God, who sees us as “righteous” because we have accepted HIS righteousness by faith. Moshes starts out saying…” You stand, All of you, before YHVH your God, your chiefs, tribes, elders, officers, men, women, children, etc.…” He goes on to say “that you may enter into the covenant with YHVH your God. He is making this covenant with you today in order that “He may establish you as HIS PEOPLE! What is this covenant which Moshe talks about? It is the first covenant established by blood, the blood of rams, bulls, goats, and sheep, the establishment of the sacrificial system which lasted many, many years. Yet about 1400 years later, Rav Shaul (Paul) writes that this covenant was changed to a “better covenant”, the “better covenant was NOT based on the blood of rams, bulls, sheep, and goats, rather based on the blood of YESHUA! The difference was that the sacrificial system continued for years, every day, day after day, and the blood of the animals only “Covered” sin for one year, and the covenant was renewed every “Yom Kippur”. The covenant of YESHUA, however, was a “one- time deal”. His death on the cross was enough for ALL TIME. His covenant wiped away the stain of sin, it “atoned” “got rid of” the curse of sin. So, one might ask, what was the reason for the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament? They were to “point” to Yeshua’s future sacrifice for sin. The animal sacrifices “symbolized” what Yeshua would do in the future. People were still saved by faith, the only difference was that before Calvary, people looked “forward” to the cross, and after Calvary, we look “back” towards the cross. One thing both covenants have in common; “The Blood!” Moshe announces that “everyone” is involved and included, from the tribal chiefs to the simple water fetchers, everyone was included, and NO ONE was excluded. He goes on to say; “I am making this covenant and this oath with those who are here today and with those who are NOT here today….” Who are the ones that were NOT here! Why you and me of course! We weren’t around back then. Who knows, perhaps we were just souls in heat We are coming up to the end of Moshe’s earthly ministry. He has walked with God’s people for 40 years and has gone through a lot with them. He received the commandments from Elohim and taught the people the Word of Adonai. As we remember, YHVH gave the people the Ten Commandments directly, and the rest of the 603 commandments were given to the people through Moshe, yet ALL the Torah comes from Adonai. Moshe has intervened quite a few times to rescue Israel from destruction. Why did God want to destroy Israel? Because of disobedience and unbelief. When Moshe mentioned “all who are not here” he had us in mind, YHVH knew that one day, we would be here and this covenant would be for us too. The “Covenant Renewed” this is our covenant, a covenant of faith which is not based on the blood of animals but on the blood of Messiah Yeshua. This “blood” covenant unites us with YHVH through Yeshua, which brings us YESHUAH (salvation). Now, does this do away with the Torah (instruction) of Adonai? Never! In Yeshua’s own words; “I come not to abolish the Torah, but to Fulfill the Torah” (or render a perfect interpretation of it) He fulfilled it with his own blood. The commandments are for our edification and our blessings, the blood of Yeshua is for our “Salvation!” Moshe goes on to say that no one should ever think that one can live anyway one pleases, sinning here and there, living like the devil himself and still say, “I have peace, everything is OK!” That is NEVER the case, that person will be reaping curses 29:30 says; “The secret things belong to YHVH Eloheinu (Our God) but the things revealed belong to us and our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this Torah!” So, what are the “secret things?” perhaps things in scripture that we haven’t figured out yet, things like, what were the “Urim and Thumim” really? One can suggest, but no one really knows for sure. There are many more things that, to us, are “secret” (known)only to God) like things in the universe, far away galaxies, life out there in those galaxies that might have planets with life, where every single diamond, emerald, and ruby is located, where all the “buried treasure” is located. Moshe also establishes “Yehoshuah” as his successor, He knows his death is near, and he knows that Israel will fall away from God, it has been revealed to him by God himself, there is no other explanation. However, he also says that “when they repent, YHVH will bring them back to the land” this is happening already, Israel was re-established as a nation in 1948, and His people are coming back! “Yehoshua” is another way of spelling “Yeshua” It is fitting that “Yehoshuah” leads the people to the “promised land” just as our LORD and Savior “Yeshua HaMashiach” has led us to the “salvation” experience, and is awaiting us in “His Promised Land” (The New Jerusalem) our heavenly home! ISAIAH 61:10-63:9 The prophet Yeshayahu sees the future glory of Israel, “He has clothed me in garments of YESHUAH (salvation) and has wrapped me with a robe of “righteousness” (Tzedek). It is fitting that the two go together when we accept Yeshua as our LORD and Savior, we receive “righteousness” through our faith in HIM. We come under a “right-relationship” with him now, where before we were “unrighteous” living in sin, now, we are in right-standing with Him, and therefore, we are “Tzadikim” (righteous ones). Even though we still have our sin nature, God still looks on us as righteous. “Say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your YESHUAH comes” (62:11) Yeshua came to Zion, but many in Zion did not receive him, yet He will return in the future, and then, ALL Zion will receive him. The future is bright for Israel, and we will be a part of that future, keep praying for the peace of Yerushalayim, but real, permanent peace will only come when Yeshua returns. He will return to his people to conquer his enemies, rescue his bride, and reign for one-thousand years, and then more. Seems like a very good future. JOHN 16:1-17:26 Yeshua promised his “Ruach HaKodesh” (his Holy Spirit) He was the “sent one” by the Father, yet he also promised another “sent one”. The difference between Yeshua and the Ruach HaKodesh is that when Yeshua was on ea This is the “comforter” that was promised. Yes, his followers would be persecuted, cast out of churches and synagogues, and this continues today. To be a believer is to be “persona non-grata” in some places. Can we endure this? Another title for the Holy Spirit is “Ruach HaEmet” (The Spirit of Truth) since it was also one of the titles of Yeshua, the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE, (HaDerech, HaEmet, HaChai) Are we following the Spirit of Truth as he leads us through the Written Truth? He is here to guide us through. , he could only be in one place at one time, while the Ruach HaKodesh, is EVERYWHERE, ALL THE We are coming up to the end of Moshe’s earthly ministry. He has walked with God’s people for 40 years and has gone through a lot with them. He received the commandments from Elohim and taught the people the Word of Adonai. As we remember, YHVH gave the people the Ten Commandments directly, and the rest of the 603 commandments were given to the people through Moshe, yet ALL the Torah comes from Adonai. Moshe has intervened quite a few times to rescue Israel from destruction, as we remember, YHVH wanted on a few occasions destroy the whole people because of their disobedience and unbelief, yet Moshe intervened on their behalf. The same thing happens today, we have an advocate in Heaven who pleads our case before our Heavenly Father. Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Christ is our “mediator” and his blood pleads our case and atones for our sins. As long as we have the sin nature in our bodies, we need a redeemer, a Messiah who will stand before a Holy God, and HE sees us as “righteous” So, to answer the question. How do we stand before our GOD? Only one way, through YESHUA! Shabbat Shalom…. Rabbi Ben Avraham
  14. When the Sabbath ends, my wife and I often visit churches on Sundays that are close by in our neighborhood because some of them are looking for understanding in the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. The following is a Sunday School lesson which I received from “Reconciliation Anglican Church” here in Houston, Texas on 8/26/18. The pastor was kind enough to give me permission to put this lesson online for all to see and feel free to download and make copies to share with your Bible study groups and congregations. Rabbi Ben Avraham ________________________________________________________________________________ BIBLE STUDY: “THE VALUE OF PRAYER” Aim/purpose: to teach those who have the desire to learn the value of prayer, how to pray, to identify hindrances to prayer, and how to pray effectively. \ INTRODUCTION: Prayer is to the Christian what breath is to the living organism. That is why Scripture instructs Christians to pray ceaselessly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Luke 18:1) By praying, the believer gets his or her needs met. Jesus himself prayed before every major activity He carried out (Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12) QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: What is prayer? (1 Samuel 1:15; 2 Samuel 22:4; Mark 11:24) Why is prayer necessary in the life of a believer? (Nehemiah 9:27; Psalm 40:1-2; Ephesians 6:12; Joel 2:32; (Matthew 26:41; Mark 11:24). How should a believer pray to receive answers? (Matt 6:9-15; Romans 8:26,27; Gen 24:12-19; James 1:6-8 ; 1 Thess 5:17; Psalm 55:16,17) What hinders prayer? ((Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1-3; Matt 5:23-24; 6:14,15; Ephesians 4:26, 27) MEMORY VERSE: Luke 18:1 “He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” CONCLUSION: For us to enjoy fellowship and due relationship with God, we need to initiate the process of asking, seeking, and knocking. When we initiate, God gives us enabling grace to seek more persistently till we receive answers. Unless we initiate and persist we might not obtain. We may not also enjoy the warmth of fellowship with God. Make sure you forgive anyone who offends you. Do not have the spirit of unforgiveness at all in your heart.
  15. PARASHAH: “KI TAVO” (When you enter in) DEUT 26:1-29:9……………ISAIAH 60:1-22……………………. JOHN 13:1-15:27 We are coming to the end of Moshe’s earthly ministry, and he reiterates again, the importance of following and obeying the Torah of Elohim. Am Israel is still in the desert wilderness, but it isn’t like the desert that we find today in the middle east. Remember that the people had much cattle to tend and care for, there had to be Grass and water to drink, otherwise, the cattle would have died out. Moshe starts off with; “when you enter the land that YHVH gives you as an inheritance…” they will be planting and harvesting crops like wheat, barley, corn, etc. In the third year of harvest, the people must give tithes and offerings of whatever they harvest. Tithes to the priests, where? “to the place where YHVH your God chooses to have his name dwell! They must also care for the widows, orphans, foreigners, etc., giving them also from the tithe and offerings of the crops. This is so that everyone is taken care of. Back in the Bible days, there was no such thing as the welfare office and food stamps. God’s people were responsible for caring for each other. The same thing should exist today, if there are brothers and sisters in the faith that are suffering, God’s people should take care of them until they can get back on their feet. Today we cannot only give monetary tithes and offerings to our congregations, since this is where YHVH has chosen to place his name, we can also give of our time, and talent. Whatever spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us, we can give back and minister to others. Also, when the people offered up their tithes and offerings of their crops, they would recite to the priest; “a wandering Aramean was my father…” and the people would affirm that he was oppressed by the Egyptians, and were in slavery, yet taken out of Egypt by a mighty hand…” this reminds us of the story of Passover. If we were to recite the same thing, or almost the same thing, what would we say? We could probably say: “We were a wandering lost people, on our way to hell, and Messiah Yeshua took us out of the bondage of sin, away from the land of HaSatan…” the crops we would offer up would be the offerings of praise and service to HaShem. Moshe continues to say to his people; “Today you have affirmed that YHVH is your God and that you will walk in his ways, keep his statutes, commandments, and ordinances, and obey him. And today, YHVH has affirmed that you are His special people as He promised you……You will be a AM KADOSH (Holy People) To YHVH your God as He promised. There is something interesting in Chapter 27, it says: “Keep all the Commandment which I command you this day” Why is it written in the singular “HaMitzvah?” and not in the plural “commandments?” Could it be that all the commandments are boiled down to one singular commandment; to “Love thy God with all thy heart, soul, and strength? And if thus be the case, then, when we love the LORD our Elohim, we will obey his instructions in his Torah. There is another interesting detail in this chapter, the Israelites had to take stones (Avanim) and cover them with plaster and write upon the stones all the Torah! Probably took more than two stones to do that. Once across the River Jordan, they would set those stones up as witnesses. Those stones would be set up on Har Ebal (Mt. Ebal) the word “Avanim” (stones) comes from the singular “Aven” which is the combination of “Av” and “Ben” (Father and Son) these stones could very well symbolize the unity “echad” of “God the Father and God the Son (Yeshua) The Israelites would also make a stone altar made of “unhewn stones” (stones that are uncut). The Hebrew word for “unhewn” is “Sh’leimot” which has a root word “Shalom” (Peace) the word “Sh’leimot” spelled in Hebrew would be “Sheen, lamed, mem, vav, tav” (sh + l + m + v + t) if we put the “vav” before the “mem” we get “Shalom” (peace) and the “Tav” symbolizes “Covenant” so we see in the altar “Covenant of Peace” the word also has 5 letters, and “5” is the number of grace, so we have a “Covenant of Peace through grace” Also, in Gematria, the word “Sh’leimot” is “776” we see the “7” which is perfection, and “6” which is the number for man. The perfect “Aven” (Father and Son) offers peace to “man” . Yeshua offered himself up as an “offering of peace” to convert enmity between God and man into a relationship of peace and Salvation (Yeshuah) and thus making us a “Holy People” (Am Kadosh) a “set aside people” to HIM. Every born-again believer today is part of His “AM KADOSH” even though we were born and raised in Israel, and perhaps our parents weren’t either. The Commonwealth of Israel has extended from that specific group of Israelites that were ready to cross the Jordan River, to ALL people who embrace the God of All creation and accept the blood atonement of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ), and so become part of HIS family, we have been all called out and separated from the rest of the world, a world that rejects God and all that is holy. We are the “odd-balls” of the world. But it is good being that kind of an odd-ball. There is, however, belief in Christendom that the “law” has been done away with, abolished, and in its place, “grace”. All the commandments that God gave are no more. It may be that many are not for today, because there is no more Levitical priesthood, no more animal sacrifices. Yet we know that Yeshua FULFILLED all the Torah in its entirety. “Fulfilling” is not “abolishing” Yeshua said so himself “I have not come to abolish the Torah and the Prophets, but to fulfill” in other words, to give a precise interpretation of the same. The Torah (God’s instructions to his people) has always existed, it just was not written down until the time of Moshe, and “Grace” has always existed as well. Adam was saved by grace, so was Eve, so was Noach, so was Abraham. But let us also remember that “Salvation” is a separate issue, “salvation” is a done deal when we accept Yeshua as Messiah and LORD in our lives. Through our salvation experience, we should be led by the Holy Spirit to love and obey the teaching that is within God’s Holy Writ, and not that we can choose only what is convenient to us, like, “guess it is OK now to have a ham sandwich, or order shrimp scampi at a restaurant, “wrong” Elohim already made up man’s menu, it is up to us to follow it, or reap a physical curse of high cholesterol Speaking about curses, there are “covenant curses” that we should all be aware of, starting in chapter 27:15 “Cursed is the person who: makes carved idol images, who dishonors parents, who moves boundary markers, Who leads a blind person astray, who denies justice to foreigners, who does illicit sexual practices, who commits murder, who accepts bribes to kill an innocent person, and all those who does not put the Torah into practice. Let’s look at some of these, “no images” yet most religions today have them, many of them, have they not read about this curse? It is always best never to condemn religious denominations that have images, because God’s Word already does it, our job is to lead a person to study God’s word and see it for themselves. “removing boundary markers!” the Word of God makes boundaries for us NOT to cross over. God’s Word is like a fence, it keeps us in and keeps evil out, cross the boundary marker, or “take away” boundary markers, then, we are “taking away” from God’s WORD, we are headed for trouble. “Leading a blind person astray” who would intentionally do that one may ask? But when one brings erroneous or bad teaching of God’s Word to people, we are “leading astray” those who do not know God’s Word, many being “blind” to the truth, and leading others away from the truth. “Those who deny justice to foreigners” are under a curse, is the USA government under a curse? For deporting so many innocent immigrants who just want to come to America for a better life? Did “Harvey” just happen? Did Irma just happen? Or are these weather conditions part of divine judgment? Something to think about! “Illicit sexual practices” goes without saying, yet many call these practices, “alternate life-styles” Why not just call it what it is; SIN and REBELLION to God’s WORD! and be honest? Murder and bribes to murder, this goes without saying, we all can understand that. The last is a hard statement, “cursed is anyone who does Not put the words of this Torah into practice!” Yet Yeshua, took the curse of sin from us, and nailed all of our disobedience to the cross of Calvary, so even when we do sin, and fail to put the “words of the Torah” into practice, there is forgiveness when there is sincere repentance, As Yeshua told the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, “I condemn thee not, go and sin no more” If the one who could have condemned her, did not, but forgave her, we also can receive forgiveness. Remember, first comes a personal salvation experience with Yeshua, which leads us to follow the Word of God, in that order, never the other way around. (we are saved unto good works, not to do good works to be saved) But on a better note, there are blessings for obedience! IF…. we obey, blessings and curses are always and have always been conditional. It is up to us, to follow in the master’s footsteps, following the master’s words. There are earthly blessings, and eternal blessings, the best of both worlds. ISAIAH 60:1-22 Israel can rejoice, for the OR ISRAEL has come, the LIGHT of ISRAEL, will attract all the nations. Isaiah gets a glimpse of the future of Israel, perhaps the millennium Israel, when YESHUA is on the throne, what a time that will be. Jerusalem will be the capital of the world, and best of all, we will be serving the LORD during that time too. Did the prophet Isaiah see airplanes; “Who are these who fly like a cloud, like doves in their windows?” sounds like an airplane to me. JOHN 13:1-15:27 In this chapter, we see Yeshua washing his disciples’ feet, this was after the last supper. Many might wonder what was this all about. We must understand the custom of that time. Today, when visitors come to our house, we might show them to some easy chairs, get them a drink of water or juice. In winter, we might take their coat and hang it in a clothing closet which might be near the front door. In my aunt and uncle’s house, it was by the front door. In ancient times, the host would have the guest sit down and the host, or the host’s servant or slave would take the guest’s sandals off and wash the guest’s feet. There were no paved roads back then, the roads were dry and dusty, and when it rained, the roads became muddy. A guest might come with either dusty or muddy Sandals and feet. When Yeshua washed the disciples’ feet, he was giving the example of “servanthood” the “master” becomes the “servant” to “lead” one must first learn to “serve” washing of the feet also symbolizes “fellowship among believers” An important part of ministry, is serving others, when we serve others, we are doing it unto God. Rabbi Ben Avraham