By Julia Johnson – Bney Yosef North America [reprinted with permission]
Recently, while pondering the upcoming 40 Days of Repentance, I was reminded of II Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, pray, and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I shall hear from the heavens and forgive their sins and heal their land.”
As I walk out this new journey of discovery, I know now more than ever that I have been called by Yahweh to be among His set apart people, His congregation of priests. As I have come into this truth, I must admit that a spirit of pride overtook me. “I” have been chosen, “I” have been set apart. Yahweh, has chosen to open “my” eyes to His truth in these last days. As I look back on those days of early discovery and how I must have come across to family and friends as I tried to explain this new walk, I know that I appeared arrogant. Oh, God, forgive me!
It would appear that the first step in repentance is to humble ourselves. What does that mean for me today? The dictionary defines humble as “being in submission, subdued, prostrate, bowed down, reduced in importance.” So, how does my life reflect humbleness? For me, the phrase “not my will, but Yours be done” comes to mind. This is no longer MY life. Well, yes, it is, but I no longer live my life for my desires, my wishes, my dreams. Now, I live my life for the Kingdom. It is my desire and hope that this is reflected in the choices I make … choices that others see.
The next step is to pray. Can one pray without being humble? I am reminded of the Pharisee who stood on the street corner, head held high, praying in a loud voice so all could hear and see and the woman who went into her closet where no one could see or hear to cry out to Yahweh. I am also reminded that prayer is a conversation. And a conversation is two-way. Do I approach the King of Kings in humbleness, giving thanks for all He has done for me or do I only come with my list of “requests”? Do I take the time to sit before Him in quietness and wait for Him to speak to me? Do I seek His face and not the works of His hands? As He reveals the evilness in my heart, do I quickly ask for forgiveness and turn from those things or do I defend my rights, my freedom to “follow my heart”? Oh, Abba, forgive me when I have done that, for I can see now that my heart is deceitful and wicked. Oh that He would give me a new heart, His heart. That, I believe is now a “work in progress” for me.
Yahweh has promised that IF we will do these things, He will hear, forgive our sin and heal our land. As His chosen people, we are called to “stand in the gap” for the world that surrounds us. Will you join me during this time to cry out to our gracious Father in humility? To spend time at His feet listening for His voice? To cry out in deep sorrow for the way each of us has “followed our own heart” doing what is good in our own eyes? To cry out for the people around us that walk in such flagrant sin? To acknowledge that only Yahweh can heal us and our land.
40 Days of Repentance. The courts are in session. Will you accept the challenge?
From Bney Yosef North America (I copied and pasted from email, as their website was down for maintenance.)
40 Days of Repentance —The Season of Teshuvah
This season of repentance begins on the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul, the sixth month of the Hebrew calendar. This is a time to blow the shofar (ram’s horn) and seek YHVH in sincere repentance. “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways.” (Haggai 1:7)
Tradition says the name Elul spelled in Hebrew Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed is an acronym for “Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li” – “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine” from Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) 6:3. The word Elul can be traced back to the Akkadian word for harvest. A root of this word Elul could be “search” in Aramaic. Thus we have this month of searching our souls.
In Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:29 we find the 10th of Tishri (the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar) is the Day of Atonement. This is 40 days from the first of Elul. There is an ancient tradition that the King would take off His Royal garments and come out to the people in the field to meet with them during this month of Elul. Then, with the month ending, He would return to His courts as the 10 Days of Awe lead us to the Day day of Atonement. During Elul, there are 30 days of the King coming to your home, your place of work, your business, and where you hang out. This can be a time when we recognize that we have fallen short in our love for our brothers and , or lack in Good deeds. As we examine ourselves, we may find we are living two lives: one spiritual, and one carnal.
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,” (Matthew 6:14)
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
The pattern of repentance, or “teshuvah” in Hebrew, as we lead up to the Day of Atonement is more than simply a tradition of “New Year Resolutions.” Repenting is the act of stopping, turning around, and moving in the other direction toward Elohim our King. This Season of Teshuva in the month of Tishri is the new year in Hebrew thought. Leviticus 25 explains it as the time of release that happens each year on the Day of Atonement. Every seventh year begins the Shmitah, or Sabbatical Year, which is a sabbath rest for the land. Every fiftieth year is the Yovel, or Jubilee, the release of all debt and the return to ancestral inheritance are in this month. But resolutions do not bring the heart change that we need. King David gives us a look at this in the pattern revealed in Tehillim (Psalms) 51.
1) We need His Mercy
2) Identify our sin
3) Recognize who we sinned against
4) Know who we are
5) Ask for cleansing
6) Rejoice in His work
7) Ask for renewal
8) Let Joy and a willing spirit return to you.
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.” (Deuteronomy 30:1-3)
This season is the time for us to take stock and actively seek forgiveness.
Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17, Isaiah 49:14-51:3, Luke 13:34-35
In last week’s torah portion, Moses reminded the generation who was about to cross the Jordan that YHWH chose Israel, not because of their size or devotion; but because He loved their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This week, not less than fourteen times, Moses stresses that YHWH will choose a PLACE where the tribes will converge to worship Him, a choice that would not become evident for a few hundred years, until the reign of King David. Yet, as we will see, a clue to its location is provided in the book of Genesis.
Deut. 12:5-7, 10-14, 26-27 (MKJV) But you shall seek to the place which Jehovah your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there, even to His dwelling place you shall seek, and there you shall come. 6) And there you shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offering of your hand, and your vows, and your free-will offerings, and the first-born of your herds and of your flocks. 7) And there you shall eat before Jehovah your God, and you shall rejoice in all that you put your hand to, you and your households in which Jehovah your God has blessed you. 10) But when you go over Jordan and live in the land which Jehovah your God gives you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies all around, so that you live in safety… 11) then there shall be a place which Jehovah your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there. There you shall bring all that I command you, your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to Jehovah. 12) And you shall rejoice before Jehovah your God; you, your sons, your daughters, your menservants, your female servants, and the Levite that is within your gates (because he has no part nor inheritance with you). 13) Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see. 14) But in the place which Jehovah shall choose in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, andthere you shall do all that I command you. … 26) Only your holy things which you have, and your vows, you shall take andgo to the place which Jehovah shall choose. 27) And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of Jehovah your God. And the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of Jehovah your God, and you shall eat the flesh.
Deu 14:22 You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed that the field brings forth year by year. 23) And you shall eat before Jehovah your God in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first-born of your herds and of your flocks, so that you may learn to fear Jehovah your God always. 24) And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry it, or if the place is too far from you, which Jehovah your God shall choose to set His name there, when Jehovah your God has blessed you, 25) then you shall turn it into silver and bind up the silver in your hand, and shall go to the place which Jehovah your God shall choose. 26) And you shall pay that silver for whatever your soul desires, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatever your soul desires. And you shall eat there before Jehovah your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.
Deu 15:20 You shall eat before Jehovah your God year by year in the place which Jehovah shall choose, you and your household.
Deu 16:2 And you shall therefore sacrifice the Passover to Jehovah your God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which Jehovah shall choose to place His name there… 6) but at the place which Jehovah your God shall choose to place His name in, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at evening, at the going of the sun, at the time that you came out of Egypt. 7) And you shall roast and eat in the place which Jehovah your God shall choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents…15) Seven days you shall keep a solemn feast to Jehovah your God in the place which Jehovah shall choose. Because Jehovah your God shall bless you in all your increase, and in all the works of your hands, therefore you shall surely rejoice… 16) Three times in a year shall all your males appear before Jehovah your God in the place which He shall choose: in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles. And they shall not appear before Jehovah empty, 17) but each with his gift in his hand, according to the blessing of Jehovah your God, which He has given you.
“Ha maqom,” Hebrew for “the place,” is hinted at in the story of the sacrifice of Isaac. Note also the presence of the word “re’eh” in this account.
Gen 22:1-4 (MKVJ) And it happened after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Behold [re’eh] me. And He said, Take now your son, your only one, Isaac, whom you love. And go into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will name to you. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. And he split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off.
“Ha maqom,” is the real estate David purchased from Araunah the Jebusite after he sinned by numbering Israel (1 Chronicles chapter 21). Because David had shed much blood as a man of war, YHWH gently refused David’s request to build the Temple (1 Chron. 28:3) and, instead instructed David to prepare for Solomon, meaning “peaceful” to be the builder.
(1 Kings 6:1) And it happened in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel… he began to build the house of Jehovah.
(2 Chron. 3:1) Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
(1Kings 6:38) … So he (Solomon) was seven years in building it.
At the inauguration of the Temple built upon the threshing floor, YHWH said,
(1 Kings 9:3) And Jehovah said to (Solomon), I have heard your prayer and your cry which you have made before Me. I have made this house which you have built holy, to put My name there forever. And My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually.
(1Kings 11:32) … and for Jerusalem’s sake, the citywhich I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.
( 2 Chron. 6:6) “… I have chosen Jerusalem, so that My name might be there.”
(2 Chron. 7:12) “I …have chosen this place to Myself for a house of sacrifice.”
Facts about Jerusalem:
Jerusalem is mentioned more than 800 times in the King James Bible, with 670 occurrences in the Tanach (Old Testament) and 144 in the New Testament. (Interestingly, the name is not found in the Quran.)
According to Wikipedia, Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and destroyed twice. The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th millennium BCE, making Jerusalem one of the oldest cities in the world.
The bible refers to Jerusalem variously as the “holy city,” “the city of David,” “the city of God,” “the city of Judah,” “the city of truth,” “the city of the great king,” and “the city of our holy meetings.”
Previous to David’s capture, the city was known as Jebus (Judges 19:10).
Jerusalem was the capitol of the united kingdom under David and Solomon.
The Temple was built in Jerusalem by Solomon in the mid 10th century BCE.
Solomon petitions God several times to answer those who pray in or toward the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chron. chapter 6).
After Solomon’s death, the kingdom was divided. Jerusalem remained the capitol of Judah, the southern kingdom.
King Manasseh desecrated the Temple by setting up an idol in it (2 Chron. 33:7)
The city was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE. The inhabitants and the temple furnishings were carried into Babylon.
In 536 BCE King Cyrus issued a decree that the captives should return (Ezra 1:1-4) According to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, some 42,000 did so. Nehemiah inspired and oversaw the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall. Zerubbabel eventually rebuilt the temple (Haggai 1:1-15 & 2:1-23).
The prophet Isaiah issues numerous promises and warnings to Jerusalem, 47 verses in all. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet penned 98 verses, many focused on the coming destruction and eventual restoration; Ezekiel contains 26 references with the same focus.
The writer of Lamentations likens Jerusalem to a forsaken widow. “How alone sits the city that was full of people! She has become like a widow, once great among the nations, a noblewoman among the nations, but now has become a tribute-payer. 2) She bitterly weeps in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; among all her lovers, she has none to comfort her. All her friends have dealt deceitfully with her; they became her enemies. (Lam. 1:1-2)
Following the star, the wise men came to Jerusalem to seek He who was born king of the Jews. (Mat. 2:1)
Yeshua/Jesus was tempted by satan in Jerusalem. “And he brought Him to Jerusalem and sat Him on a pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down from here.” (Luke 4:9)
Great multitudes of people from Jerusalem followed Yeshua/Jesus (Mat. 4:25).
Yeshua/Jesus, the disciples, apostles, including Paul, are seen throughout the New Testament going up to Jerusalem for the feasts of Passover/Pesach, Pentecost/Shavuot, and Tabernacles/Sukkot.
Yeshua/Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication [Hebrew: Hanakah] (John 10:22)
Weeping over the city, Yeshua/Jesus said, “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! the one killing the prophets, and stoning those having been sent to her; how often I desired to gather your children in the way a hen gathers her brood under the wings, and you did not desire it. Behold, your house is left to you desolate. And truly I say to you, You will not see Me until it come when you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. (Luke 13:34-35)
Yeshua/Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, “the place” where Abraham took Isaac.
Yeshua/Jesus told the disciples to tarry in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father” (Luke 24:49). The Holy Spirit was poured out on the Feast of Pentecost/Shavuot in Acts chapter 2, initiating a group who became known as followers of the Way (Acts 9:2) and the Sect of the Nazarenes (Acts 24:5), both persecuted by the Jewish religious leaders.
Note: Someone might want to inform UNESCO of these events. In October 2016 it issued a statement, still not retracted, that Israel has no connection with Jerusalem. I agree with one journalist who retorted, “UNESCO has no connection with TRUTH!”
Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25, Isaiah 49:14 to 51:3, Luke chapter 15
We have previously pointed out that Yeshua quotes the book of Devarim [Hebrew: Words], or Deuteronomy more than any other book of the Torah. In Rabbi Jonathan Sack’s short commentary from a few years ago, “The Morality of Love,” the reason becomes evident.
The book of Deuteronomy is saturated with the language of love. The root a-h-v appears in Shemot [Exodus]twice, in Vayikra [Leviticus] twice (Lev. 19), in Badmibar [Numbers] not at all, but [23 times in the book of Deuteronomy]. Devarim is a book about societal beatitude and the transformative power of love.- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Among Yeshua final words to His disciples is the powerful exhortation: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)
But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despise you, and persecute you. Mat 5:44/Luke 6:27
Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. (Mat. 19:9)
And thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (Mat 22:36, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27)
Rabbi Sacks points to a profound statement contained in philosopher Simon May’s splendid book, Love: A History:
“The widespread belief that the Hebrew Bible is all about vengeance and ‘an eye for an eye,’ while the Gospels supposedly invent love as an unconditional and universal value, must therefore count as one of the most extraordinary misunderstandings in all of Western history. For the Hebrew Bible is the source not just of the two love commandments but of a larger moral vision inspired by wonder for love’s power.” -Simon May – philosopher
I hope you will take time to read all of Rabbi Sack’s short commentary. Let us consider and repent of this gross misunderstanding and the resulting long and painful separation from our Jewish brethren, which ultimately gave birth to the Holocaust. May Abba help us to reach out in love as never before.
If we put it in context of this week’s parsha, Yeshua was saying, “Eikev [because or consequently] you love one another, all men shall know that you are my disciples. (see John 13:35)
Each year when this torah portion rolls around, the picture I have in my mind is of a toddler, shrieking with joy, arms and legs firmly wrapped around her papa’s lower leg as he walks from room to room pretending to try to shake his delighted daughter’s hold.
That kind of clinging is exactly what Abba is looking for us to do. In fact, it is the very essence of Moses last words.
(Deut. 4:4 ISV) But all of you who are clinging to the LORD your God are alive today.
(Deut. 30:19-20 ISV) “I call heaven and earth to testify against you today! I’ve set life and death before you today: both blessings and curses. Choose life, that it may be well with you—you and your children. 20) Love the LORD your God, obey his voice, and cling to him, because he is your life—even your long life—so that you may live in the land that the LORD promised to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Here’s a terrific short video from Aleph Beta to help us connect the dots in Moses long speech and beautiful love letter:
A few years ago I happened upon this most excellent explanation of the significance of the structure of the love letter from Moses, posted by Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. It remains, to date, the best introduction that I have found to the book of Torah that Yeshua quoted most frequently, a “new covenant” for the last generation. Enjoy!
Beha’alotecha 2019 “When you set up” June 22, 2019
Haftorah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
New Testament: Mat. 14:14-21
Num 8:1-4 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (2″Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.” (3 And Aaron did so: he set up its lamps in front of the lampstand, as the LORD commanded Moses. (4 And this was the workmanship of the lampstand, hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the LORD had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.
The root of the phrase beha’alotecha is “alah” (ayin-lamed-hey) means to raise or to rise or to go up. Jews make aliyah when they relocate to Israel. Aliyah means to ascend. Regarding the Holy City where Elohim has chosen to put His great name, it is always said, no matter if one comes from the north, south, east, or west, one “goes up” to Jerusalem. In the physical, it is because Jerusalem is located on a mountain. Thus, a steep ascent is necessary. It is true in the spiritual, as well. Continue reading Beha’alotecha 2019 →