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Cheshbon NefeshAaron Eby
The ancient rabbis quoted the Bible all the time. But they quoted other things, too. Even Yeshua used common aphorisms when they helped make his point. When one of the early sages debated with Greek philosophers, they used a figure of speech that helps unlock the meaning of one of Yeshua’s strangest sayings.
1 day ago
Yeshua desired mercy and compassion for all those with whom he interacted. He displayed true love and servitude through his life, and each action he made was filled with purpose. Let’s apply these same principles to his Sabbath healings to understand what lessons he was trying to teach.
4 days ago
The Torah says nothing about Purim because the story of Esther did not happen until about a thousand years later. And yet, four mitzvot of Purim are observed today. How could new commandments be given to the Jewish people so long after the revelation at Mount Sinai?
Shabbat Zachor is one of the four special Sabbaths that occur before or during the month of Adar or Adar II in leap years. On Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath before Purim, we read Deuteronomy 25:17-19, which mentions the commandment to remember and exterminate the evil of Amalek and his memory.
When we view the world with eyes that look forward to the beauty and bounty of the world under the rule of King Messiah when he returns, our hearts should be filled with hope. Our Master teaches that we should rejoice in the hope of his coming.
Yeshua said, “Blessed are those who mourn.” Ashrei, the word for “blessed,” is a term of congratulations. Mourning is a natural reaction to loss—hardly a reason to congratulate anyone. Should someone really be glad that they are mourning? By comparing Yeshua’s words with a prophecy from Isaiah, we learn that Yeshua is not talking about mourning for loved ones who have died.
Just as the sacrifices were powerful and effective in bringing the Presence of the infinite God to our finite earth, so too, prayer draws the Spirit of God into our hearts. When we draw near in prayer we capture the attention of the infinite, all-powerful Being who created us, chose us, and loves us.
Judaism has four New Years, and one of them, Tu Bishvat, is for trees. Why? Since we don’t see that specifically laid out in the Bible, it must be those dastardly old rabbis at it again, right? Or maybe there’s something important we could learn about the role of rabbinic authority in ancient Israel.