1 And the children of Israel proceeded from Rephidim and they encamped in the wilderness of Sinai, in the third month from their going forth from Egypt.2 At that time came Reuel the Midianite, the father-in-law of Moses, with Zipporah his daughter and her two sons, for he had heard of the wonders of the Lord which he had done to Israel, that he had delivered them from the hand of Egypt.3 And Reuel came to Moses to the wilderness where he was encamped, where was the mountain of God.4 And Moses went forth to meet his father-in-law with great honor, and all Israel was with him.5 And Reuel and his children remained amongst the Israelites for many days, and Reuel knew the Lord from that day forward.6 And in the third month from the children of Israel's departure from Egypt, on the sixth day thereof, the Lord gave to Israel the ten commandments on Mount Sinai.7 And all Israel heard all these commandments, and all Israel rejoiced exceedingly in the Lord on that day.(according to rashi in numbers 10:29, reuel was also jethros father)
Ruel - "friend of Elohim"
according to midrash: Jethro is called by 7 names -Reuel, Jether, Jethro, Hobab (Judges 4:11), Heber, Keini and Putiel This is at Mt. of Midian (Jethros back yard) - Mt. Sinai House of Midian connected to House of Israel - son of Abraham
1When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt;
**he hears the word of the one true God he had heard of from Abraham...takes the word back to his people in Midian --- Midian son of Abraham Later, in Judges the Midianites will come to oppress the Israelites.
Zohar: 1. "When Jethro...heard"
Rabbi Chizkiyah begins a discussion to do with raising up the hands. It is important to raise them only in prayer and blessing, as the ten fingers correspond to the ten potentates who receive blessings, and to the ten sayings. The lesson turns to the King and priest above, and the King and priest below, and we learn that there is a King and a priest of the Other Side as well. The number ten is additionally significant, as God struck the Pharaoh with ten plagues. About Jethro, we now learn that he gave advice to Moses on the administration of justice following the laws of God, and Moses listened to him. Though the people had seen the miracles done by Moses, they gave up their idol worship and believed in Moses' God only after Jethro, who was a powerful priest of Midian, acknowledged the greatness of Hashem. We read of the three advisors to the Pharaoh: Jethro, Job and Bilaam. Bilaam was a sorcerer, but Job had fear, and we are told of the great power of fear to draw down the spirit from above, whether it be Holy or from the Other side. While Job converted to worship of the Holy One due to the fear generated by his witnessing of the miracles, Jethro did not convert until after the drowning in the Red Sea. However, Bilaam neither repented nor converted; we are told that even in the Other Side there is a small streak of light that comes from the Holy side, and Bilaam knew how to use this. In the same way, Moses saw a fine streak of darkness from the Other Side. So we learn that all things connect to one another, the pure and the impure.
2Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back,
3And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:
Zohar: 54. "...and her two sons..." (Shemot 18:3). Rabbi Chiya said: Why are they called "her sons" and not 'the sons of Moses'? HE ANSWERS: Because she raised them without her husband, the Torah calls them "her sons," and not 'his sons'. Rabbi Yosi said: Even though they were the sons of Moses, THEY WERE, BY A SECRET PRINCIPLE, most certainly her sons. BECAUSE, Rabbi Elazar said: Moses united himself in another holy, celestial place, and it would not have been respectful to call them his sons. Now, even though they were his sons, because of the dignity of the place in which he united, WHICH WAS THE SHECHINAH, they were here called "her sons."
4And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:
5And Jethro, Moses' father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:
it took them 50 days to get to Mt. Sinai
60. Come and behold: what is written here regarding Jethro? "...and Jethro, Moses's father-in-law, came, with his sons and his wife to Moses into the wilderness." HE ASKS: Since it is written, "to Moses," why does the verse add, "into the wilderness"? HE ANSWERS: What is important is what Jethro came to the desert for. And what is it? It is a mountain of Elohim, and it is a place for a stranger to convert. Therefore, it is written "...to Moses into the wilderness." "To Moses," to proselytize them and bring them under the wings of the Shechinah. "Into the wilderness," they would come. For the mountain of Elohim is to proselytize the soul, THAT IS, TO RECEIVE FROM THENCE THE NEFESH OF THE CONVERT.
61. On account of this, the location stands as a mystery called "mountain," and everyone who comes there is credited with the title: "a convert of righteousness." We have explained that he is called a convert. Even though he united on high, with the celestial and holy, because he left his own country and kin, HE IS CALLED "A CONVERT." He is called "a convert of righteousness" since he set up his dwelling in a place he did not know before, WHICH IS IN THE SHECHINAH, CALLED 'RIGHTEOUSNESS'.
6And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.
7And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
8And Moses told his father in law all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them.
9And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.
10And Jethro said, Blessed be the LORD, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
11Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
NOW I KNOW - he says....
12And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father in law before God.
throughout this chapter notice it repeats "moses and jethro's father inlaw - over and over
Jethro="cause to abound, leaving a remnant, making plenteous, rest, shalom"
13And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.
14And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
15And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:
16When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
17And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.
18Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.
19Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:
20And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
21Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
22And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.
Jethro is setting the stage for the tribes of Israel
23If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
24So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.
25And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
26And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
27And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.
4. "This is the book" ( i.e. the torah about to be given)
We learn that the book in "This is the book of the generations of Adam" is actually two books, an upper and a lower, and comprises Male and Female together. They also incorporate the secret of 'keep' and 'remember'. Lastly we are also told that the book refers to the secret of the features of human beings by which the descendants of man can be recognized.
62. Rabbi Yitzchak and Rabbi Yosi were sitting and studying the Torah in Tiberias. Rabbi Shimon passed before them. He asked them: With what are you occupied? They answered him: The verse which we have learned from our master. He said to them: Which is that? They responded: That which is written, "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that Elohim created man, in the likeness of Elohim He made him" (Beresheet 5:1). And after all, we have learned that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed to Adam all those generations that in the future will be born onto earth, and all the leaders and all the sages that in the future will be present in each and every generation.
63. And this is a secret we have learned. "This is the Book," NAMELY there are two books. There is an upper book and there is a lower book. The lower book is called 'the Book of the Remembrance', WHICH MEANS the Book of that Remembrance, which is a certain Righteous one, NAMELY YESOD, called "this (Heb. zeh)." AND MALCHUT IS HIS BOOK. In order not to separate them, since they are always together and form one, it is therefore written: "This (Heb. zeh) is the book" - two levels which are one, the principle of Male and Female. FOR "THIS" IS MASCULINE, YESOD, AND THE "BOOK" IS FEMININE, MALCHUT.
64. And this is one principle: all those souls and spirits that fly into human beings, which consist of all the descendants, are assuredly in the secret of the generations of Adam, NAMELY THE DESCENDANTS OF THE UPPER MAN, REFERRING TO ZEIR ANPIN. This is because from this said Righteous all the souls fly forth with one desire. And this is the watering of the Garden that this river, which went forth from Eden, gives, as it is written: "And a river went out of Eden to water the Garden" (Beresheet 2:10). THE EXPLANATION: FROM YESOD FLOWED THE SOULS AND SPIRITS OF THE GARDEN, WHICH IS MALCHUT, and this is the secret of Adam, as it is written: "the generations of Adam."
65. Afterwards, THE WORDS, "In the day that Elohim created man," refer to the lower man, because there are two men mentioned in this verse. One refers to the secret OF ADAM from above, and one refers to the secret OF ADAM from below. Adam, in the secret of above, WHICH IMPLIES ZEIR ANPIN, is within the mystery of that verse concealed in Male and Female, in one secret. As it is stated, "This is the book," which comprises Male and Female together, AS STATED BEFORE. When they together produced offspring, they were openly called 'man' (Adam), as is written "the generations of Adam."
66. After it was revealed from the first supernal mystery of the verse, NAMELY, IT WAS REVEALED THAT "THIS IS THE BOOK" ALLUDES TO THE SUPERNAL MAN, WHOSE GENERATIONS ARE THE SOULS AND SPIRITS OF HUMAN BEINGS AS WAS MENTIONED BEFORE, He created the lower man as it is written: "In the day that Elohim created man, in the likeness of Elohim He made him." "In the likeness," MEANS Adam was like a mirror with figures that appear in it; the figures do not stay fixed in the mirror for very long, but fade away from it. It is also HERE, "in the likeness of Elohim."
67. Another interpretation: "In the likeness of Elohim," MEANS the shape of the limbs of male and female, in the secret of back and front. The back is of the secret of "keep," fOR THAT IS A FEMININE ASPECT. The front is the male, in the secret of "remember," WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN. And on these all the commandments of the Torah depend, 613 commandments of the Torah, that are all inclusive. We have learned THAT MAN WAS CREATED after the Creation and before the act of the divine Chariot. And one is dependent upon the other. "In the likeness of Elohim," is in the exact shape OF MALCHUT. So it was explained to me by my master.
68. More about, "This is the book of the generations of Adam." This refers to the secret of the features of human beings, the features with which to recognize the descendants of man, and the hidden meanings of these human features: the hair, the forehead, the eyes, the face, the lips, the lines on the hand, and the ears. With these seven human beings can be recognized.
1In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.
235. "In the third month, after the children of Yisrael went out of the land of Egypt" (Shemot 19:1). The Great Minister, Uriel, rules over THE THIRD MONTH, FOR NISAN, IYAR AND SIVAN ARE COMPARED WITH CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, AS MICHAEL RULES IN CHESED, GAVRIEL IN GVURAH, AND URIEL RULES IN TIFERET. He is accompanied by 365 ten thousands of camps, corresponding to the number of days of the year, WHICH ARE 365 DAYS OF THE SOLAR YEAR. And all of them have 365 keys of light issuing from the inner supernal Chashmal (Eng. 'electrum'), which is treasured and concealed, and in which the mysteries of the holy supernal letters of the Holy Name are suspended.
238. Uriel the Arch Minister and all those camps WITH HIM take that light which is called 'Gemini' for it includes two lights. Therefore, that constellation rules over THIS MONTH, which is called 'Gemini', after its secret, in which the Torah was given and from which all the grades are drawn below until they rise through the Name to illuminate the world.
241. All is one secret, for Jacob receives through his secret, TIFERET, THE CENTRAL COLUMN, the two months Nisan and Iyar, and he is included in the secret of THE MONTH Sivan, which is THE SIGN OF Gemini. THIS MEANS THAT BY BEING INCLUDED IN THE MONTH SIVAN - WHICH INCLUDES TWO MONTHS, NISAN AND IYAR, WHICH ARE RIGHT AND LEFT - IT IS THEREFORE CALLED "TWINS," AND SINCE JACOB IS ALSO INCLUDED IN IT HE RECEIVES THOSE TWO MONTHS. Esau receives through his own inner meaning the two months, Tammuz and Av, but since he does not abide in THE CENTRAL COLUMN, WHICH IS ELUL, he therefore loses Elul, for Elul is not his. And he does not even have the whole MONTH of Av, but only nine days and no more, so it can be seen that he is not included in the secret of the twins - WHICH IS THE CENTRAL COLUMN. He separated himself and turned towards the Other Side in naught and desolation, as it is written: "The enemies are come to an end in perpetual ruins" (Tehilim 9:7).
242. Because Jacob is in the sign of the twins, the Torah was given to his children in the months of the twins, being itself "twins" - WHICH IS the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. IT WAS GIVEN in the third month to the triple nation, WHICH INCLUDES three grades, NAMELY, THE 'THREE FATHERS'. THE TORAH WAS GIVEN in three parts: the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings, and all is one.
WILDERNESS OF SINAI:
2For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
3And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
245. "And Moses went up to Elohim and Hashem called to him out of the mountain, saying" (Shemot 19:3). "And Moses went up to Elohim," MEANS THAT Moses went up to the place where the wings of the Shechinah are outspread, as it is written: "He bowed the heavens also and came down" (Tehilim 18:9).
257. "And Moses went up to Elohim." Happy is the portion of Moses for being worthy of this honor to which the Torah itself testifies. Come and behold the difference between Moses and all other men of the world. When other men rise, they rise in richness or they rise to greatness or kingship, but of Moses it is written: "And Moses went up to Elohim." Blessed is his share.
259. "And Hashem called to him from the mountain, saying, 'Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob'" (Shemot 19:3). Rabbi Yitzchak opened the discussion with the verse: "Happy is he whom You choose, and cause to approach to You, that he may dwell in Your court" (Tehilim 65:5). Happy is the portion of the man whom the Holy One, blessed be He, desires to bring near to Him to dwell in the Holy Palace, for he whom He desires to receive to worship Him is inscribed above, to make it known that he has been chosen by the Holy King to dwell in His appartment. And everyone who has upon him such a sign can pass through all the supernal gates without any hindrance.
277. He said to us: If men only knew the wisdom of all that the Holy One, blessed be He, has planted in the earth, and all the power of all that which is to be found in the world, they would acknowledge the power of their Master in His great wisdom. But the Holy One, blessed be He, has purposely hidden this wisdom from men in order that they do not turn from His ways by trusting in that wisdom alone, thus forgetting Him.
278. Come and observe this from the hyssop, for whenever the Holy One, blessed be He, desires that men purify themselves, they have to do it by the hyssop. What is the reason? To arouse that power above that is appointed over, for when it is aroused, it exterminates the Spirit of Impurity and the defiled person is cleansed. And to you I say: Blessed be the Merciful One who delivered you.
4Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.
279. "You have seen what I did to Egypt and how I bore you on eagles' wings" (Shemot 19:4). What does "eagles' wings" mean? Rabbi Yehuda said that "eagles' wings" means Mercy, as it is written in the verse: "As an eagle stirs up her nest" (Devarim 32:11), MEANING THAT "AN EAGLE" SIGNIFIES MERCY. And this is the secret in Rabbi Shimon's words: "The way of the vultures in the air" (Mishlei 30:19). "...in the air..." means with Mercy, FOR ZEIR ANPIN IS CALLED 'HEAVEN' AND HAS MERCY, FOR CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET ARE JUDGMENT AND MERCY. As the eagle watches mercifully over its own young but is cruel toward others, so is the Holy One, blessed be He, merciful towards Yisrael but judges the heathen nations severly.
280. Rabbi Elazar was once going from Cappadocia to Lod accompanied by Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Chiya. They had risen at sunrise and as the light appeared they started to walk. Rabbi Chiya said: I see the vision which is described in the verse, "And they four had the face of a lion, on the right side and they four had the face of an ox, on the left side, they four also had the face of an eagle" (Yechezkel 1:10), AND I WONDER, if the lion is on the right side and the ox is on the left one, where is the place of the eagle?
Ezekiel 1: 10As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
281. Rabbi Elazar replied: Its place is where Jacob is, MEANING THE CENTRAL COLUMN. The reason for this is that the eagle combines everything, BOTH MERCY AND JUDGMENT - Mercy to its own young and Judgment to the others. So the Holy One, blessed be He, THE SECRET OF THE CENTRAL COLUMN, led Yisrael with love and dealt sternly with others, as it is written: "And bore you on eagles' wings," and, "As an eagle stirs up her nest."
282. We can learn that an eagle signifies Mercy, for it is written: "The way of the vultures (lit. 'eagle') in the air (lit. 'heaven')," actually 'in heaven', WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, THE PROPRIETOR OF MERCY. Therefore, the lion is on the right and the ox on the left, and the eagle is between them and combines both of them. "THE FACE OF a man" includes all of them and in it they are all comprised, FOR HE IS THE ASPECT OF MALCHUT WHICH RECEIVES FROM ALL OF THEM, as it is written: "Upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it" (Ibid. 26).
5Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
7And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.
8And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
330. Rabbi Yosi said, in the name of Rabbi Yehuda, that Yisrael saw the precious glory of their King face to face, and there were neither blind nor lame, nor deaf, nor any without hands among them. No blind, as it is written, "And all the people perceived"; no lame, as it is written, "And they stood at the foot of the mountain" (Shemot 19:17). There were no lame and none without hands, as written, "And they said, 'All that Hashem has said will we do and obey" (Shemot 24:7); and of the days to come it says, "Then shall the lame man leap as a hart and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Yeshayah 35:6).
9And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.
10And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
11And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
The THIRD day the Lord will come DOWN (compare to Yeshua- on the Third day)
12And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:
13There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.
14And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
15And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.
16And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
(John and James are later referred to as the sons of THUNDER)
284. Rabbi Yosi said: At the time Yisrael approached Mount Sinai, together with that night and the following morning, it was three days altogether during which the people abstained from conjugal intercourse with their wives. The holy angels came and received them with fraternity, for they are angels above and Yisrael are angels below; they sanctify the Supreme Name above, while Yisrael sanctify the Supreme Name below.
286. It is written: "Be ready by the third day, come not near a woman," (Shemot 19:15) and, "And it came to pass, on the third day." Rabbi Shimon said that at the time that the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to be revealed on Mount Sinai, He gathered all His retinue and told them: 'Now Yisrael are like children who do not know My commandments, and I desire to be revealed before them with Mercy, and they will accept My Law.' Therefore it is written: "And it came to pass on the third day." Indeed, the manifestation took place on the third day, FOR IT IS THE DAY OF TIFERET, which is Mercy. And how do we know all that? It is written: "He bowed the heavens also, and came down" (II Shmuel 22:10), AND "HEAVENS" ARE TIFERET, WHICH IS MERCY, AS IS EXPLAINED ABOVE.
287. When the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself before Yisrael, He extended Mercy at first and afterwards He gave them the Torah, from the side of Gvurah, on the third day. THUS, THEY INCLUDED BOTH MERCY AND JUDGMENT, as is appropriate for them. Hence, they are called 'Yisrael', FOR THE NAME 'YISAREL' CONSTITUTES MERCY AND JUDGMENT.
288. "When morning came." It is written: "In a morning without clouds" (II Shmuel 23:4), for if it was a cloudy morning, there would have been darkness in it and Chesed would not have been revealed. And when does Chesed reveal itself? In the morning, as it is written: "the morning was light" (Beresheet 44:3). Thus, as soon as the day breaks, Chesed is present in the world and Judgments are removed, but when the light of the morning does not enter, Judgments are not removed, as it is written: "When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy" (Iyov 37:7), as soon as the stars fade away and the sun shines at that time, as it is written: "A morning without clouds." And Chesed is awakened in the lower world at that time, it is written: "When morning came," since the stars disappeared and morning appeared.
290. "There were thunders (Heb. kolot) and lightnings" (Shemot 19:16). Rabbi Aba said that "kolot" is spelled without VAV, THE INDICATION OF THE PLURAL FORM, signifying that there were two thunders (lit. 'voices') that became one again, one emanating from the other - wind from water and water from wind, two that are one, and one that is two. THEREFORE THE WORD "KOLOT" IS WRITTEN WITHOUT VAV.
291. Rabbi Yosi said: "kolot," MEANS one; this voice is a great and strong one which never ceases, as it is written: "A great voice which was not heard again" (Devarim 5:19). This is because all the other voices do cease. As we learned, four times a year the voice ceases, and then Judgments are awakened in the world. But this voice, which includes the other voices, never ceases and never abates of its full existence and force. We have learned that this voice is the voice of voices, the voice which contains all other voices.
292. Rabbi Yehuda said: There is no voice but the one which comes from wind, water and fire, THAT ARE THE THREE COLUMNS. And all this the voice performs, WHICH IS THE CENTRAL COLUMN. AND BY IT, THE COLUMNS are included in each other AND BECOME ONE. Therefore, the word "kolot" is spelled WITHOUT VAV, THE INDICATION OF THE PLURAL FORM. "...and lightning...": Rabbi Yosi cited that verse and explained: "He makes lightning for the rain" (Tehilim 135:7), MEANING THAT "LIGHTNING" IS THE COMBINATION OF FIRE AND WATER, AS LIGHTNING IN THE RAIN - for the flame OF THE LIGHTNING in the rain INDICATES THAT IT IS a union of Mercy with infrequent love.
293. Rabbi Yehuda said: We have learned that the Torah was given from the side of Gvurah. Rabbi Yosi said: In that case THE TORAH must be of the left side. He said: It returned to the right, as it is written: "From His right hand went a fiery law for them" (Devarim 33:2), and: "Your right hand, Hashem, is glorious in power" (Shemot 15:6). So we see that the left is included within the right, FOR IT IS WRITTEN: "FROM HIS RIGHT HAND A FIERY LAW FOR THEM"; and the right is included within the left FOR IT IS WRITTEN: "YOUR RIGHT HAND, HASHEM, IS GLORIOUS IN POWER." Thus, Gvurah, WHICH IS THE LEFT, is included within the right.
294. "And a heavy cloud upon the mountain" (Shemot 19:16) meaning, a very mighty cloud stuck in one place BECAUSE OF ITS HEAVINESS that does not move FROM PLACE TO PLACE AS DO OTHER CLOUDS. "And the sound of a shofar exceedingly loud" (Ibid.); that sound was very strong, for it issued from the midst of the heavy cloud IN ORDER TO BREAK IT, as it is written: "When you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness" (Devarim 5:20).
295. Rabbi Yehuda said: There were three kinds of darkness, for it is written, "darkness, clouds and thick darkness" (Devarim 4:11). And that voice, NAMELY, THE VOICE OF THE SHOFAR, came forth as the innermost depths. Rabbi Yosi said that the innermost of all of them was THE VOICE of which it is written: "A great voice which was not heard again."
312. Rabbi Yosi, the son of Rabbi Yehuda, said that Yisrael at Mount Sinai saw what the prophet Ezekiel never saw, and they were all united with the divine, precious Wisdom. Yisrael saw five grades of voices on Mount Sinai, by which the Torah was given. The fifth grade was "the sound of the Shofar." Ezekiel saw but five lower grades outside THOSE FIVE VOICES, which were: "a storm wind," "a great cloud," "a fire flaring up," "a brightness was about it," and "as it were the color of electrum."
313. Rabbi Elazar said: Of Yisrael, it is written, "Hashem talked with you face to face" (Devarim 5:4), and of Ezekiel it is written, "as it were," and "likeness," - like one who looks from behind many walls, like a man looking from behind a wall. Rabbi Yehuda said that what Yisrael saw on Mount Sinai no prophet ever saw, and much more so, what Moses saw no other prophet saw. Happy is his share, of whom it is written: "And he was there with Hashem" (Shemot 34:28), FOR THIS IS THE SECRET OF THE SHINING MIRROR, instead of a different mirror WHICH DOES NOT SHINE, as it is written: "manifestly and not in dark speeches" (Bemidbar 12:8) - NOT LIKE THE OTHER MIRRORS WHICH DO NOT ILLUMINATE AND SPEAK IN RIDDLES.
17And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
nether - hebrew is meaning: Beneath the mountain - the mountain becomes the wedding canopy, where they receive the kituba, the torah, the marriage contract...
18And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
363. Rabbi Yitzchak said that the smoke was the Shechinah who manifested Herself there, as it is written in the verse: "Who is this coming out of the wilderness like columns of smoke" (Ibid.), WHICH ALLUDES TO THE SHECHINAH. Rabbi Yehuda said: Surely you do not have to go to great lengths to learn of it, for there is a whole description: "And Mount Sinai smoked in every part, because Hashem descended upon it in fire, and the smoke of it ascended like the smoke of a furnace" (Shemot 19:18). Blessed are the people who saw it and knew it.
19And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
20And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
21And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
22And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.
23And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
24And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them.
25So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.
Exodus 20 -
1And God spake all these words, saying,
332. We have learned that the Torah has given a man 613 counsels in order that he may be perfect with his Master, for his Master desires only his good, both in this world and in the World to Come, but especially in the World to Come, since whatever good the Holy One, blessed be He, bestows upon man in this world is taken from the sum of good which he is entitled to receive in the World to Come. Why is that? Because the World to Come is the possession of the Holy One, blessed be He.
345. When one word was uttered it seemed as one, but when it was engraved in its place UPON THE TABLETS OF STONES, seventy branches were revealed in it, fifty crowns less one on one side, and fifty less one upon the other, like the hammer which breaks the rocks in a mountain, as it is written: "Like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces" (Yirmeyah 23:29). And all of Yisrael saw eye to eye and rejoiced.
348. The word "saying" INDICATES THAT all that was said was an inheritance for everyone, as it is written: "Moses commanded us a Torah, the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob" (Devarim 33:4). You may say that IT SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD LITERALLY, TO REVEAL TO EVERYONE AND to reveal what must not be revealed to anyone. However, it says: "I am Hashem your Elohim" (Shemot 20:1) WHICH INDICATES THAT as I am hidden and concealed, so should these words be covered and concealed in your heart.
2I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
355. We have learned that the deeds in Egypt are mentioned fifty times in the Torah, and in all of those times words of praise are said. For example: "who have brought you out of the land of Egypt" (Shemot 20:2), and, "And brought you out" (Devarim 4:37), and, "For by strength of hand Hashem brought you out from this place..." (Shemot 13:3): fifty times exactly and no more, since all is adorned with Jubilee, WHICH IS BINAH, and from the side of Jubilee everything comes. AND THERE ARE FIFTY GATES TO BINAH.
3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
FIRST COMMANDMENT- NO OTHER G-DS
"You shall have no other Elohim beside Me (lit. 'over My face')," FOR HIS FACE IS MALCHUT, CALLED 'FACE'.
4Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
SECOND- NO GRAVEN IMAGES
428. There is also another explanation of the verse: "You shall not make any carved idol or any likeness." Rabbi Yitzchak opened the discussion with the verse: "Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin" (Kohelet 5:5). How careful one must be not to err in regard to the meaning of the words of the Torah, and not to attach interpretations to the Torah without knowing the correct meaning or having learned them from his teacher, for of whoever speaks of scripture without knowledge or learning from his Rabbi, it says: "You shall not make any carved idol or any likeness." The Holy One, blessed be He, will punish him in the World to Come, when his soul shall desire to enter its place. It will then be repelled and it will be cut off from that region which is bound up with the bundle of life, wherein are the other souls.
554. A man should teach his son Torah, as it is written: "And you shall teach them diligently to your children" (Devarim 6:7), otherwise he is as if he makes him idols. Therefore, it is written: "You shall not make for yourself any carved idol" (Shemot 20:4). The ignorant son is destined to be an unruly child who treats his father and mother with contempt and robs them of many blessings. For since he is ignorant, he is suspected to transgress in everything, even idolatry, incest and bloodshed. For when the ignorant goes where he is not known and does not know how to say a benediction, he is believed to be an idol worshipper.
5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
Rabbi Elazar explains why it is forbidden to marry any woman from a heathen nation, for the result is always rebellious children who inherit the taint of idolatry. We are reminded that we who keep the commandments of the Torah are the children of Hashem.
434. "You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them" (Shemot 20:5). Rabbi Elazar was once walking in company with Rabbi Chiya. Rabbi Chiya said: It is written, "And you see among the captives a beautiful woman..." (Devarim 21:11). Why DOES THE TORAH ALLOW MARRIAGE TO HER? Is it written: "you shall not make marriages with them" (Devarim 7:3). He replied to him: THIS ONLY APPLIED to women independent in their own land. HERE IT INDICATES A CAPTIVE WOMAN WHO COMES UNDER THE RULE OF YISRAEL. THEREFORE, SHE IS PERMITTED BY THE TORAH TO BE TAKEN AS A WIFE.
435. Come and behold: there is no woman among the heathen nations who is free from taint, therefore this section concerning the captive woman is immediately followed by that of the rebellious son, to indicate that whoever marries such a woman, begets rebellious children. What is the reason for this? The impurity of idolatry inherited by the mother is difficult to remove, and this is even the more so if she has already been married to a heathen, for Judgment cleaves to Judgment, and she is tainted. Therefore, Moses commanded the extermination of the Midianite women, as it is written: "Kill every woman that has known man by lying with him" (Bemidbar 31:17).
436. Happy is the portion of the man who keeps this heritage in purity, THAT OF THE HOLY COVENANT, for in this holy possession he unites himself with the Holy One, blessed be He. This is all the more so if he keeps the commandments of the Torah. Then the King stretches out His right hand to receive him, and he cleaves to the Holy Body, NAMELY, ZEIR ANPIN. Therefore it is written of Yisrael: "But you that did cleave to Hashem your Elohim" (Devarim 4:4), and: "You are the children of Hashem your Elohim" (Devarim 14:1) - literally children, as it is written: "Yisrael is My son, My firstborn" (Shemot 4:22), and "Yisrael, in whom I will be glorified" (Yeshayah 49:3).
6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
1000 of your generations will have mercy if you love Him.
7Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
3RD - DO NOT TAKES LORD'S NAME IN VAIN
Rabbi Shimon tells us that the supernal blessing requires something to bless, that it cannot dwell on an empty place. One cannot say a blessing over an empty table. The discussion turns to "A good name is better than precious ointment," which Rabbi Elazar says represents the supernal mountains of pure balsam. It is vital never to take the Name of the Holy One in vain, and that Name must be uttered only after a preceding word. Rabbi Yosi tells us that the blessing is the Holy Name itself, the source of blessing for the whole universe.
437. "You shall not take the Name..." (Shemot 20:7). Rabbi Shimon cited the verse: "And Elisha said to her, 'What shall I do for you? Tell me, what have you in the house?'" (II Melachim 4:2). He explained: What Elisha meant was: Have you aught upon which the blessing of the Holy One, blessed be He, could rest? For one should not say the blessing after the meal over an empty table. Why? Because the supernal blessing can not rest on an empty place.
439. When she said: "Your handmaid has nothing in the house, except a pot of oil" (Ibid.), he said, "This is fit to receive a perfect blessing," as it is written: "A good name is better than (lit. 'from') precious ointment" (Kohelet 7:1), for the Holy Name comes forth from oil, to bless and to kindle the Holy Lights. HE ASKED: What is this oil? and Rabbi Yitzchak said: It represents the same oil as described in the scripture: "It is like the precious ointment upon the head" (Tehilim 133:2), MEANING THE SUPERNAL PLENTY. Rabbi Elazar said: It represents the supernal mountains of pure balsam, MEANING THE PLENTY OF THE SUPERNAL BINAH.
440. Rabbi Shimon interpreted the verse: "A good name is better." How good is the Supernal Name of the Supernal Holy Lights, for they radiate ???? "precious ointment," and a man must not mention the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, in vain, for he who does so would have been better not to have been born.
443. Rabbi Yosi said: What is the blessing? It is the Holy Name, being the source of blessing for the whole universe. A blessing does not dwell in an empty place, nor rests upon it, and therefore it is written: "You shall not take the Name of Hashem your Elohim in vain."
8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
4TH - *REMEMBER* SABBATH
445. We have learned that all blessing from above and from below depend upon the seventh day, and we have also learned that there was no manna on the seventh day because all the six supernal days - WHICH ARE CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD - derive their blessing from it, and each of them sends forth nourishment to the world below from the blessing it received from the seventh day.
9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
452. Corresponding to this, one should complete the meals and find joy in each and all of them because this is a manifestation of perfected Faith. Therefore, Shabbat is more precious than all other times and holidays because it contains all in itself, whereas no other times or holidays do so. Rabbi Chiya said: Because all things are in it, it is mentioned three times: "And by the seventh day Elohim ended His work which He had done... And He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done... And Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it" (Beresheet 2:2-3).
453. When Rabbi Aba sat at his Shabbat meals, he used to rejoice in each one of them and he would say: This is the holy meal of the Holy Ancient, hidden to all. Over another he would say: This is the meal of the Holy One, blessed be He, NAMELY, ZEIR ANPIN, and so in each and every meal. And when he came to the last one, he would say: The meals of the Faith are completed.
457. Concerning the third meal of Shabbat, it is written: "And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father." This is the meal of Zeir Anpin, who is then in perfection, from which all the six days receive their blessing. Therefore, a man must rejoice in these meals and complete his meals, for they are meals of the perfect Faith of the holy seed of Yisrael, the supernal Faith, which is theirs and not that of the heathen nations. Hence, it is written: "It is a sign between Me and the children of Yisrael" (Shemot 31:17).
458. Come and behold: by these meals Yisrael are distinguished as the King's children, belonging to the palace of the King as people of Faith. And he who blemishes one of these meals shows an incompleteness above, and he testifies of himself that he is not one of the King's sons, not part of the palace of the King, and not of the holy seed of Yisrael. He will be made to bear the burden of three things: the punishment in Gehenom, THE WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG (ARMAGEDDON) AND PRE-MESSIANIC TRIBULATIONS.
11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
462. We have learned that on this day the Fathers, WHO ARE CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, are crowned, FOR THEY BECOME THE FIRST THREE SFIROT, and all the children, NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD, suckle from them differently than on other festive and holy days. On this day all Judgments are held back and are not aroused, BUT THEY BECOME THE FIRST THREE SFIROT. On this day, the sinners rest in Gehenom. On this day the Torah, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, is crowned with perfect crowns, MEANING THE SUPERNAL ABA AND IMA. On this day joy and gladness resound throughout two hundred and fifty worlds
468. We have learned that on this SHABBAT day all the souls of the righteous feast on the delights of Atika Kadisha (the Holy Ancient One), the most hidden of all, KETER. One spirit of this delight of Atika Kadisha, is extended through all the worlds. It ascends and descends and spreads abroad to all the holy children, to all the guardians of the Torah, so that they enjoy perfect rest, forgetting all cares, all penalties and all hard work, as it is written: "And it shall come to pass on the day that Hashem shall give you rest from your sorrow and from your fear, and from the hard bondage in which you were made to serve" (Yeshayah 14:3).
469. Therefore the Shabbat is equal in importance to the Torah, and he who keeps the Shabbat is regarded as one who fulfills the whole Torah. It is written: "Happy is the man that does this, and the son of man that lays hold on it, that keeps the Shabbat and does not profane it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil" (Yeshayah 56:2). From this we understand that he who keeps the Shabbat is as if he kept the whole Torah.
473. Those students who know this secret concentrate their hearts on the Faith of their Master and are blessed with offspring on that night. Therefore, it is written: "That keep My Shabbatot," as it is said in the verse: "But his father kept the matter in mind" (Beresheet 37:11).
475. Come and behold: in the verse, "Six days shall you labour, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat to Hashem your Elohim" (Shemot 20:9), the words "all your work" indicate that in those six days man must work, and therefore those who study the Torah have their conjugal union only at a time when they do not work, but when the Holy One, blessed be He, works - MEANING, IN SHABBAT, WHEN MAN'S WORK IS FORBIDDEN. Then His work is the union with the Matron, MALCHUT, in order to bring forth holy souls into the world.
476. Therefore, the companions sanctify themselves on this night in the Holiness of their Master and concentrate their hearts, and begot good and holy children who turn neither to the right nor to the left, children of the King and the Matron. Of them it is written: "You are the children of Hashem your Elohim" (Devarim 14:1). Assuredly, of "Hashem your Elohim," for they are called "His children," the children of the King and the Matron.
479. He said to him: Upon your life, the world is created only for those who are occupied in Torah and know its secrets. Assuredly, the sages have decreed that the ignorant corrupt their ways, not knowing their right hand from their left, and are like cattle. And so it is fitting to punish them even on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Of their children, it is written: "For they are the children of harlotry" (Hoshea 2:6), actual children of harlotry.
482. Rabbi Shimon continued by citing the verse: "You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the Shabbat day" (Shemot 35:3), and he explained that the reason for it is that there is no Judgment on that day, AND HE WHO KINDLES A FIRE AROUSES JUDGMENT. You may protest that it rises high, REFERRING TO THE FIRE ON THE ALTAR WHICH BURNS ON SHABBAT AS WELL. HE ANSWERS: It is written "throughout your habitations," and not, 'high above', for that FIRE which ascends high, rises to subdue another Judgment. For as we have learned, there is a fire which consumes a fire, and the fire of the altar consumes the other fire, NAMELY, IT SUBDUES THE OTHER JUDGMENT SO IT WILL NOT RULE ON THE DAYS OF THE WEEK.
12Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
5TH - HONOR PARENTS (ONLY COMMANDMENT WITH A PROMISE, HE KNOWS HOW REBELLIOUS WE ARE)
487. Rabbi Shimon said: The words "Honor your father" allude to the Holy One, blessed be He, NAMELY ZEIR ANPIN; "your mother" alludes to the Congregation of Yisrael,
489. Rabbi Chizkiyah said: Assuredly, they are all one. "Honor your father," indicates the Holy One, blessed be He, NAMELY, ZEIR ANPIN; "your mother," indicates the Congregation of Yisrael, NAMELY, MALCHUT, for we have learned from Rabbi Shimon that the verse "You are the children of Hashem your Elohim" (Devarim 14:1) alludes to the place called 'children', WHICH ARE MALE AND FEMALE. Therefore, the verse: "Honor your father and your mother," includes all, MEANING ABA AND IMA, above and below. Rabbi Yitzchak said that it includes one's teacher of the Torah, who ushers one to the World to Come. Rabbi Yehuda said that THE TEACHER is included in the Holy One, blessed be He.
555. "Honor your father" MEANS the same as "Honor Hashem with your substance." "...your substance..." means your money. And "your substance" means your grace, MEANING, with a joyful tune, for then the heart is gladdened as when any melody is sounded. The son's good deeds gladden the hearts of his father and mother. Thus, "with your substance," means with your money, for anything necessary.
557. "...that your days may be long..." (Shemot 20:12); For there are days above - NAMELY, THE SEVEN SFIROT: CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD, YESOD AND MALCHUT - on which a man's life in this world depends. We have explained that these are man's days in that world above, THE SEVEN SFIROT, which are placed before the Holy One, blessed be He. And by them man's life is known.
13Thou shalt not kill.
6TH - NO MURDER
This should be murder - this includes animals also. You can kill animals for food. You shall not murder G-d's creation.
490. We have learned that the first five commandments IN THE RIGHT SIDE are all inclusive. In these five commandments the second five OF THE LEFT are engraved, five within five. How? The first commandment, "I am Hashem your Elohim" (Shemot 20:2) corresponds to, "You shall not murder," for as we learned, these two are under one principle. For one who murders diminishes the image and likeness of his Master, because according to the scripture, "in the image of Elohim made He man" (Beresheet 9:6), and: "And upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man" (Yechezkel 1:26).
491. Rabbi Chiya said: It is written, "Whoever sheds man's blood by man, his blood shall be shed" (Beresheet 9:6). He who sheds blood is considered as if he diminishes the supernal image and likeness above, meaning that he does not diminish the image of the man BELOW, but another image, and this is the interpretation of the verse: "Whoever sheds man's blood by man, his blood shall be shed". The damage he does by shedding blood reaches the supernal man. Why? "...for in the image of Elohim made He man." Therefore, they are interdependent, THE FIRST COMMANDMENT DEPENDS ON "YOU SHALL NOT MURDER."
14Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7TH - NO ADULTRY
492. "You shall have no other Elohim beside Me," corresponds to, "You shall not commit adultery." THE ADULTERER is false to the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, which is impressed upon man, a sin including many other sins and entailing corresponding punishments. He who is unfaithful in this, is unfaithful towards the King, as it is written: "They have dealt treacherously against Hashem, for they have begotten strange children" (Hoshea 5:7), and, "You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them." One is the result of the other. THUS, "YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER ELOHIM" IS CONNECTED WITH, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY."
15Thou shalt not steal.
8TH - NO STEALING
493. "You shall not take the name of Hashem your Elohim in vain," corresponds to "You shall not steal." For a thief is inclined to swear falsely because he who steals also lies, as it is written: "Whoever is partner with a thief is his own enemy, he hears the adjuration of witnesses, but discloses nothing" (Mishlei 29:24).
16Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
9- NO FALSE WITNESS
494. "Remember the Shabbat day to keep it holy," corresponds to, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor," for as Rabbi Yosi said, the Shabbat day is called 'a witness', and man should bear testimony to the verse: "in six days Hashem made heaven and earth." And Shabbat comprises everything. Rabbi Yosi said that he who bears false witness against his neighbor lies against the Shabbat, which is the true witness, and the verse, "You will show truth to Jacob" (Michah 7:20), refers to the same motive which is expressed in the verse: "Wherefore the children of Yisrael shall keep the Shabbat" (Shemot 31:16). Therefore, he who lies against the Shabbat lies against the whole Torah. Hence, they are interdependent. THUS, "REMEMBER" IS CONNECTED TO "YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE..."
17Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
10 - NO COVETING OTHER PEOPLE
497. Rabbi Elazar explained that in the ten commandments were engraved all the laws of the Torah, all the decrees and punishments, all the laws concerning purity and impurity, all the branches and the roots, trees and plants, heavens and earth, seas and depths, for the Torah is the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He. As the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, is engraved in the ten commandments, the ten commandments are the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He. So is the whole Torah engraved in them, and the whole Torah is thus one Name, the Holy Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, indeed.
18And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet (shofar), and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
"and all the people saw the voices"
Here the experience where Moses talked face to face with God on Mount Sinai is compared to Ezekiel's visions. It is pointed out that Ezekiel saw the Shechinah and the hand of God, but Moses was greater because he saw the head and body of Zeir Anpin. All the people who were on the mountain literally "saw the voice" as it was carved out of darkness, cloud and fog - and figuratively they saw what no one in succeeding generations would ever again see until the time of Messiah, and that was the supernal illumination that showed them all hidden and veiled knowledge.
301. Rabbi Yehuda said: It should have said 'the sound in the Shofar'; why DOES IT SAY "of the Shofar"? AND HE ANSWERS: That voice was called 'Shofar', as in the verse: "Then shall you cause the Shofar to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, on the Day of Atonement" (Vayikra 25:9). On that YOM KIPPUR (DAY OF ATONEMENT) it is called 'Shofar', MEANING THAT WHEN THE SOUND ISSUES FROM BINAH, THE SOUND IS CALLED 'SHOFAR'.
302. Rabbi Yosi said: As the PHYSICAL Shofar makes a sound WHICH INCLUDES fire, air and water, here too everything is included in it, FOR HERE IN THE SOUND THAT COMES OUT FROM THE SHOFAR, FIRE, WIND AND WATER ARE INCLUDED - WHICH ARE CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, THE SECRET OF THE THREE COLUMNS. And from this sound other sounds emerge.
303. Rabbi Elazar said that "THE SOUND OF THE SHOFAR" MEANS the sound which comes out from a Shofar, which means that there is one Shofar and a solitary sound comes out from it, FOR THE SOUND IS THE SECRET OF ZEIR ANPIN AND THE SHOFAR IS THE SECRET OF BINAH. The Shofar stands by itself SEPARATE FROM THE SOUND WHICH COMES OUT OF IT, therefore it is written: "the sound of the Shofar," AND NOT, 'THE SOUND IN THE SHOFAR'.
304. Rabbi Yehuda said: In "the sound of the Shofar," the word "Shofar" is spelled without THE LETTER VAV, FOR IT HAS THE SAME MEANING AS IN THE VERSE, "It pleased (Heb. shafar) Daryavesh" (Daniel 6:1) and in the verse, "O king, let my counsel be acceptable (Heb. yishpar) to you" (Daniel 4:24) and the verse, "I thought it good (Heb. shefar) to report the signs and wonders" (Daniel 3:32) - MEANING THAT THESE ARE EXPRESSIONS WHICH SPEAK OF GLORY AND BEAUTY, WHICH ALLUDES TO ZEIR ANPIN, THE SECRET OF TIFERET.
305. Rabbi Shimon said that "the sound of the Shofar" MEANS THAT the place from which the sound comes out is called 'Shofar', FOR THE SOUND IS ZEIR ANPIN AND THE SHOFAR IS BINAH, AND ZEIR ANPIN ISSUES FROM BINAH, AS IS KNOWN. Rabbi Shimon continued and said: Come and behold: "the sound of the Shofar" refers to where the voice is, for it is written: "By every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Hashem does man live" (Devarim 7:3). What comes "out of the mouth of Hashem"? "...the sound of the Shofar..." which is greater than any other lower voices, and stronger than them all, as it is written: "the sound of a Shofar exceedingly loud" (Shemot 19:16). Of other voices it is not said "exceedingly loud (lit. 'very strong')." Everything depends on this sound of the Shofar, and it is called 'a great voice', as written: "a great voice which was not heard again" (Devarim 5:19), and it called "a still small voice" (I Melachim 19:12), which is the light of the luminaries, which is pure and subtle, and purifies and illuminates all things.
306. IT IS WRITTEN: "still." What does "still" mean? Rabbi Shimon said that one must be silent WITH AWE and shut his mouth, as it is written: "I said, 'I will take heed of my ways that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep a curb on my mouth" (Tehilim 39:2). The word "still" means silence in which no voice is heard outside. "When the people saw it, they were shaken and stood afar off," for what they saw FRIGHTENED THEM. The word "shaken (also: 'moved')" (Shemot 20:15), has the same meaning as in: "And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him" (Yeshayah 6:4).
19And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
20And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
21And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
22And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
23Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.
24An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.
25And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.
Dont make a stone altar using a stone
26Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.
NO STEPS UP TO G-DS ALTAR - but in Ezekiels time it was ok to have steps, they had britches then...were not naked underneath.
pentecost - 50 days they got the FIRE of the spirit, 50 days they got torah from the fire and the thunder
1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
323. Come and behold: It is said of Isaiah, "and I saw Hashem" (Yeshayah 6:1), WHICH IS THE SHECHINAH, CALLED "ET (LIT. 'THE')." And of Ezekiel it is written: "And I saw visions of Elohim." Here "Et" IS THE SHECHINAH, and there "visions" IS THE SHECHINAH, for what one saw, so did the other, NAMELY ONLY THE SHECHINAH. Happy is the portion of Moses. There was no prophet as perfect as he, FOR HE SAW THE ILLUMINATING MIRROR, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN.
Ezekiel 1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
326. She revealed Herself, as written, "by the river K'var" (Yechezkel 1:1), meaning by the water, in a place where impurity can not dwell. That river was one of the four rivers which issued from the Garden of Eden, as written: "by the river K'var." What does "K'var" (lit. 'already') mean? That it already existed from a place upon which the Shechinah dwelt, as it is written: "And the hand of Hashem was there" (Ibid.), that is, there and not elsewhere.
2In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, 3The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.4And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. 5Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
327. Rabbi Chiya said: It is written, "Also out of the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man" (Yechezkel 1:5). And we have learned, according to the esoteric teaching, that there are four living creatures in the holy chamber, WHICH IS BINAH. They are the most ancient celestial beings WHICH ARE DERIVED from Atika Kadisha (the Holy Ancient One), and which include the Supernal Name, YUD HEI VAV HEI, FOR YUD IS A LION, HEI IS AN OX, VAV IS AN EAGLE, AND THE LAST HEI IS A MAN. AND THEY ARE THE SECRET OF THE THREE COLUMNS AND MALCHUT WHICH RECEIVES THEM. Ezekiel saw only the likeness of the supernal Chariots, because he saw them from a region which was not very bright, MEANING FROM THE WORLD OF YETZIRAH. As we have already learned, as there is above IN BINAH so it is below IN MALE AND FEMALE, and so in all the worlds, BRIYAH, YETZIRAH AND ASIYAH. And all of them are linked one with another, AND WHATEVER THERE IS IN THE UPPER WORLD, THERE IS ALSO IN THE LOWER ONE, AND HE SAW THEM IN THE WORLD OF YETZIRAH.
6And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. 7And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. 8And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.9Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.10As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. 11Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.12And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.13As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.14And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. 15Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. 16The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. 18As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.19And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.20Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.21When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.22And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. 23And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. 24And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.25And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. 26And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. 27And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. 28As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
2Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
6Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
8Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
9And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
10Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
11Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,
12And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
13But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
328. And you may think that he beheld them further above THE WORLD OF YETZIRAH. Yet we learned that Moses saw the vision from a bright mirror, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, while other prophets derived their visions from a dull mirror, as written: "And I saw visions (Heb. mar'ot) of Elohim." The word "MAR'OT" is written WITHOUT THE LETTER VAV, WHICH INDICATES MALCHUT, and: "If there be a prophet among you, I, Hashem make Myself known to him in a vision...My servant Moses is not so...With him I speak mouth to mouth" (Bemidbar 12:6-7).
329. Rabbi Yosi said: Come and behold. All the prophets are IN COMPARISON WITH MOSES, like a female to a male, as written: "With him I speak mouth to mouth, manifestly (Heb. u'mar'eh, lit: 'and a mirror')," WHICH IS MOST CERTAINLY THE BRIGHT MIRROR (HEB. MAR'AH), AS IT IS WRITTEN: WITH HIM I SPEAK "MOUTH TO MOUTH." Of all other prophets it is said: "If there be a prophet among you, I, Hashem make Myself known to him in a vision (Heb. bemar'ah)," MEANING THAT THEY DERIVED THEIR VISION FROM A DULL MIRROR. AND IT IS WRITTEN, "bemar'ah," (lit. 'a vision') and not 'mar'ot', WITHOUT THE LETTER VAV. All the more so of Ezekiel, as it is not written in relation to him 'mar'eh' but rather "mar'ot," without THE LETTER VAV, FOR HE SAW THE VISION FROM THE WORLD OF YETZIRAH. This is all the more so for Moses, of whom it is written: "and not in dark speeches," but showed him everything clearly. Blessed, indeed, was the generation among whom this prophet lived.
1And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.
2And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.
3Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field;
4And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.
5Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,
6Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:Isaiah 9
5For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Matthew 5:8-30 Midrash on Torah Observance
" the sermon on the mount"
What is known as Jesus' Sermon on the Mount ( Matt. 5-7; Luke 6:20-49) is believed to have been given near the top of the ridge in the above photo (where you see part of a church). Although called the Mount of Beatitudes, Jesus did not speak from an actual mountain but from a small hill or eminence in the vicinity of Capernaum.
Yashanet: The relationship between the rabbi and his talmidim (disciples, followers, students) was very close. It was not only one of learning, but also imitating his conduct and character. In turn, the rabbi was responsible for his talmidim. It is important to note that Yeshua's audience here is exclusively Jews. He did not preach directly to the gentiles in His lifetime. Nonetheless, what He says to His Jewish brethren would apply to any gentile coming into the faith of Israel, as God does not have a "separate" revelation and faith for the gentile world (Ephesians ch. 4). There is one God for Jew and gentile (Romans 1:16).
Eph. 4: 4[There is] one body and one Spirit--just as there is also one hope [that belongs] to the calling you received-- 5[There is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism 6One God and Father of [us] all, Who is above all [Sovereign over all], pervading all and [living] in [us] all.
Romans 1:16 (Amplified Bible)16For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God's power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,
8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are ...Hebrew: Asher - with a combined meaning of; ‘happy and fortunate."...
... pure in heart (re: Psalm 22:4; 51;10; 73:11)
9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
yashanet: What's is God's concept of a peacemaker? It may not be what one would call "politically correct." For instance, there is one person in the Scriptures specifically called a peacemaker. He is Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron. What did he do to earn this title from God? He took a spear and simultaneously ran it through a man and woman who were fornicating. For this specific action of killing these people, God praises him and calls him a peacemaker (Numbers 25:6-13). Pinchas later became the High Priest.
10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
... persecuted for righteousness for theirs is the kingdom (Isaiah 66:5)
11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Yashanet: "Blessings" as such are also found in the Qumran (Dead Sea) scrolls. In the following portion wisdom is clearly exalted. Wisdom and the law are viewed as inseparable. (Missing scroll portions are bracketed):
12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Yashanet: Yeshua here is addressing Jews within their Judaism. (It is critical to understand the meaning of this and every verse in its original context before expounding on it or trying to apply it to another situation.) This is Yeshua's first recorded "public address" to the Jews, after having spent some time preaching to them in the Synagogues (Matthew 4:23). Yeshua Himself said He came for the lost sheep of Israel, not the gentiles, and told His apostles to do the same (Matthew 10:5-6; 15:24).
Matthew 10: 5Jesus sent out these twelve, charging them, Go nowhere among the Gentiles and do not go into any town of the Samaritans; 6But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
MATTHEW 15 24He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Gentiles would receive their direct invitation to join the faith of Israel through the Messiah, after His suffering, death and resurrection. Israel is also God's "Messiah" (meaning: anointed one). Their job was/is to bring the revelation of God, that the Lord Himself gave them at Mount Sinai, to the entire world. Here Yeshua is issuing them a reminder of their responsibility in these verses. Israel is still "God's chosen people," and the faith they received through the giving of the Torah and work of their Messiah, is still the only one God has ever established.
Salt has a specific relationship to the eternal covenant God has with Israel.
This is found in Scripture and throughout other Jewish writings:
Leviticus 2:13 - Neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking
Numbers 18:19 - It is a covenant of salt for ever
Talmud - Mas. Menachoth 19b, 20a - For it has been taught: The verse, It is a covenant of salt for ever, signifies that there is a covenant declared in regard to salt. So R. Judah. R. Simeon says, Here it is said, It is a covenant of salt for ever, and there it is said, The covenant of an everlasting priesthood, as it is impossible to conceive of sacrifices without the priesthood so it is impossible to conceive of sacrifices without salt!
Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XCVII - The throne of Israel was given to Judah through the righteous David-to him and to his sons as a covenant made with salt.
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 241b - ‘It is written: “Neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meal-offering; with all thine oblations thou shalt offer salt.” Salt was to be used because it softens bitterness, and so mankind cannot do without it. Salt is the covenant upon which the world is established: hence it is called “the covenant of thy God”.’
14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Yashanet: Good works are the positive commandments of the Torah. These are the "works" that would distinguish the Jews and cause gentiles to give glory to the Father, who gave His Torah as a means for His people to sanctify (set apart) themselves.
17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Destroy = kataluo, meaning "to overthrow completely" or "abolish"
Fulfill = plerosai, meaning "to fill" or "to complete."
The second half of verse 17 is used by some people to support a doctrine that says the believer in Messiah is now "not under the Law." Some claim that by "fulfilling the Law," Messiah did away with it, and the believer no longer has a relationship to it.
one need not look further than this verse itself to see that such an interpretation is incorrect, as:
- The word plerosai (fulfill) DOES NOT mean to "do away with" or to "overthrow."
- The word kataluo (destroy) DOES mean to "do away with" or to "overthrow," and Yeshua said He did NOT come to do that. (1)
YASHANET: Christian Bibles consistently refer to "the Law," meaning the Law of Moses, as given in the first five books of the Bible. The Hebrew term for this is the Torah. However, the correct translation of "Torah," is not "law" (not in the western legal sense of the word). Rather, Torah is correctly translated as revelation or instruction from God.
When understood in its proper Hebrew context, here is some of what the "New Testament" says about Torah:
- Faith does not abolish any part of the Torah as a whole (Matthew 5:17-20, James 2:10)
- Keeping the Torah is part of the faith that gets you to heaven (Matthew 19:17; Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14)
- You will abide in Yeshua's love, if you keep Torah (John 14:15-23) as He abided in the Father's love by keeping Torah (John 15:10; Hebrews 2:17-18, 4:15)
- Faith in Yeshua does not cancel out what the Torah says, it establishes it (Romans 3:31)
- Torah is itself "liberty" and the standard we are to judge ourselves by (James 1:22-25)
- It is those of the flesh who are not subject to the Torah (Romans 8:5-8)
- If you say you know Him, and ignore His Torah, you are a liar (1 John 2:3-7)
- It does not matter if you are a Jew or a gentile, what matters is keeping God's Torah (1 Cor. 7:19)
- The "law of love" is that we keep his Torah - which is by no means a "burden" (1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6; Matt. 11:29,30)
18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Verses 17-20 set the theme and agenda for the entire "Sermon on the Mount." Yeshua the Messiah makes fuller the understanding of his disciples concerning the Torah and Prophets, so they can more fully express what being God’s people is all about. This is consistent with Judaism, as one of the Messiah's main functions would be to complete our understanding of the Torah & Prophets. The "evidence" for Yeshua being the true Messiah is that He meet the criteria set forth in the Tenakh (Old Testament), which in turn says the Torah is eternal.
19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
He then takes it even further, and issues a warning to anyone who "breaks" any of the Torah, or teaches anyone to do the same. The Greek word for "break" is luo, meaning; "to infringe upon, loosen the force of, or render not binding." (1) Hence, Yeshua is teaching that His work in no way diminishes the authority or continuation of the Torah.
20For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Yeshua never criticized the scribes and Pharisees for carrying out the Torah. In fact he told the people to follow their example (Matthew 23:1-3 ).
Matthew 23 1THEN JESUS said to the multitudes and to His disciples 2The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses' seat [of authority]. 3So observe and practice all they tell you
YASHANET: One of the teachings of Judaism regarding Messiah (to this day), is that He will come and teach His people the deeper points of the Torah. Yeshua does just this in the remaining verses of chapter five. He begins with the expression, "You have heard it said." This He does both to draw his audience's attention to a specific point, as well as to make a distinction between His opinion on a matter of Torah and any other(s) of His time. He is offering His authoritative interpretations on how to follow the commandments.
It is important to realize that Yeshua did not come to, "correct all the misguided teachings of the Pharisees." (This thought is commonly expressed in religions that have little understanding of the Judaism of Yeshua's time.) First, it should be noted that there was no dominating concensus among the Pharisees and other religious groups at that time. A brief look at the Pharasaic writings in the Talmud, show a diversity of opinion, including many that argue against each other. This is called arguing for the sake of HaShem (God). Secondly, Yeshua actually supported most Pharasaic opinion on the Torah that eventually were captured in the text of the Talmud. Yeshua not only quoted and supported Pharisaic teaching, He also upheld the religious authority of the Pharisees. He told the people to obey the Pharisees, as they "sat in Moses' seat," meaning their authority came from God. (Matthew 23:1-3)
There were two majority schools of Rabbinic thought at that time, the school of Rabbi Hillel and the school of Rabbi Shammai (both of whom had died prior to Yeshua's ministry). Hillel was the grandfather of Gamliel, who was the leader of the Sanhedrin and who taught the apostle Paul. Hillel's teachings were thought to be more liberal than those of Shammai, which were considered more strict. As we will see, throughout the Gospels, Yeshua is often agreeing with an already existing Pharasaic interpretation of Scripture.
The main point is that Yeshua's comments are within the framework of Pharasaic discussion. Unfortunately, the term "Pharisee" has a totally negative meaning today, even though many Pharisees were Godly men and some followed Yeshua - (i.e., Paul, Nicodemus, and the factions mentioned in Acts 15 and Luke 13:31). As uncomfortable as many would find hearing this -- Yeshua Himself would have been regarded as a Pharisee. When the Pharisees went out to question John the Baptist about who John was, he said that one among THEM (the Pharisees) was the Messiah to come (John 1:26-27).
In verses 21-48, Yeshua brings up a number of issues surrounding actual commandments. As we will see, he often quotes directly from the Talmudic writings of the Pharisees. He is addressing the "fences" (safeguards) placed around the Torah -- in some case supporting the ones the Pharisees put in place -- in other places he offers His own "fences."
21Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
YASHANET: This is a direct commentary on the sixth commandment (which is actually against "murder," and not "killing"). Note that when He says, But I say unto you, He is not cancelling the commandment, as murder is still sin and will bring judgment. Rather, He is showing that in addition to following the letter of the commandments, one should go beyond the minimum requirements as we grow in our relationship with God.
22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Yeshua makes a connection between murder in verse 21, and "speaking evil" of someone in verse 22. This was not a "new teaching," but had been greatly overlooked by that time. Such "evil speaking" is called speaking "Lashon Hara" (Evil Tongue) against a person, and is equated with murder throughout Jewish literature. The book of "James" (Ya'acov is his real name), it also speaks of the subject of "the tongue" to great length. Yeshua is reminding the people that "character assassination" is as bad a "physical assassination" in God's sight. This is the higher level of Torah that He taught -- All part of His greater command to "Love one another."
This is also the first of many examples we will show of Yeshua supporting Pharasaic Talmud:
Babylonian Talmud, Bava Mezia 58b - One who shames the face of his fellow, it is as if he has murdered him.
23Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Y: The concept of "reconciliation" can be a difficult one for believers to understand properly. One may ask, If all my sins are forgiven by my faith, why do I have to ask forgiveness from anyone? A different but related question might be, If God can't stand sin, why is it each time a person breaks a commandment, a lightning bolt doesn't descend from heaven and strike him?
Reconciliation has a place in the answer to both questions.
- As believers we have salvation from God, but we are still called to forgive others and ask forgiveness when we've wronged them. Concepts such as "eternal security" have no place in a Hebraic discussion of "faith." Not one person in the Bible, took their salvation for granted, before or after Yeshua. The Messiah makes it clear that if we don't forgive, we won't be forgiven.
- The sacrificial system of the Tenakh played a major role in reconciliation and was the reason more "lightning bolts" didn't come down from the heavenlies to smite people. Yeshua is presently fulfilling this role for us, in the heavenlies (1 John 2:2), hence at this time there is no need for the day to day sacrifices of reconciliation.
- This teaching also parallels that found in the Talmud: Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 85b - Yom Kippur atones for all sins, but first you must reconcile your conflict with others.
25Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
26Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
27Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
In a similar fashion to his teaching on murder, Yeshua says lusting in the heart is as much a sin as committing the act of adultery. The ensuing verses on "plucking out" your own eye, are obviously not to be carried out literally. Yeshua is however, teaching that we have a responsibility to deal with our "evil inclination" (Hebrew = yetzer ha'ra).
Here Yeshua is supporting two existing teachings of the Pharisees:
Babylonian Talmud, Kallah, Ch. 1 - One who gazes lustfully upon the small finger of a married woman, it is as if he has committed adultery with her.
Babylonian Talmud, Niddah 13b - Better that one's belly burst than one should go down to the pit of destruction.
28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.Matthew 15:1-11
1Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
2Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
Yashanet: This chapter one that has consistently been misused to teach that the Messiah did away with the Levitical food commandments (kosher laws). The text plainly shows that this is not the subject at hand, yet many ignore this in order to teach against Torah.
The context of the discussion, is stated clearly in this verse (and at the end of the topic, in verse 20). The subject is not the kosher laws, but that of "washing of hands." There is more to this tradition than what the scripture tells however. (Hence the advantage of knowing the Hebrew background to the discussion.)
There were varying mystical beliefs among some Jews of Yeshua's day, not all firmly grounded in Torah. Some of these ideas had to do with how a person could become spiritually "clean" or "unclean." (A concept, that is of course, quite biblical.) One such teaching was that during the night, evil spirits could come into a man's body. These spirits would exit the body through the hands (more precisely, the fingertips). The body would become spiritually "clean" again, in the morning, with the exception of the fingertips/hands. It was taught that the hands had to be washed in order to remove any defilement that would cause anything touched (i.e., food) to become unclean.
Yeshua is showing that this hand-washing tradition that was not based in Torah, was in fact nullifying Torah, as they were calling unclean, foods that God Himself had declared clean, simply by eating with unwashed hands.
Another scripture cited in the same incorrect fashion is Peter's vision of the unclean animals in Acts chapter 10. Here too, the context and explanation are ignored in order to support false doctrine. Dreams in scripture commonly use specific items and themes to represent certain people, places, things and teachings. In the case of Peter's dream in Acts 10, he clearly explains this vision several times throughout the book of Acts. Not once does Peter say that God showed him that the laws of kashrut are done away with. Rather, in every case, he explains the meaning of the dream as being that gentiles were not to be considered as "unclean," and could directly come to faith through Yeshua -- something that God had not provided for before Yeshua's death.
3But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
Mark 7 1NOW THERE gathered together to [Jesus] the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem,2For they had seen that some of His disciples ate with a]">[a]common hands, that is, unwashed [with hands defiled and unhallowed, because they had not given them a b]">[b]ceremonial washing]- 3For the Pharisees and all of the Jews do not eat unless [merely for ceremonial reasons] they wash their hands [diligently c]">[c]up to the elbow] with clenched fist, adhering [carefully and faithfully] to the tradition of [practices and customs handed down to them by] their forefathers [to be observed]. 4And [when they come] from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions [oral, man-made laws handed down to them, which they observe faithfully and diligently, such as], the washing of cups and wooden pitchers and widemouthed jugs and utensils of copper and d]">[d]beds-- 5And the Pharisees and scribes kept asking [Jesus], Why do Your disciples not order their way of living according to the tradition handed down by the forefathers [to be observed], but eat with hands unwashed and ceremonially not purified?6But He said to them, Excellently and truly [e]">[e]so that there will be no room for blame] did Isaiah prophesy of you, the pretenders and hypocrites, as it stands written: These people [constantly] honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far distant from Me. 7In vain (fruitlessly and without profit) do they worship Me, ordering and teaching [to be obeyed] as doctrines the commandments and precepts of men.A)">(A)
4For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
5But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
Yashanet: He also chastises the teachers for breaking true Torah commandments (while laying these unnecessary burdens on the people) by citing their own lack of properly following the commandment of honoring father and mother. This is the lesson of verses 2-20.
6And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
Mark 7 8You disregard and give up and ask to depart from you the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men [keeping it carefully and faithfully] 9And He said to them, You have a fine way of rejecting [thus thwarting and nullifying and doing away with] the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition (your own human regulations)! 10For Moses said, Honor (revere with tenderness of feeling and deference) your father and your mother, and, He who curses or reviles or speaks evil of or abuses or treats improperly his father or mother, let him surely die.B)">(B 11But [as for you] you say, A man is exempt if he tells [his] father or [his] mother, What you would otherwise have gained from me [everything I have that would have been of use to you] is Corban, that is, is a gift [already given as an offering to God],12Then you no longer are permitting him to do anything for [his] father or mother [but are letting him off from helping them]. 13Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. And many things of this kind you are doing.
Here is a second statement about the problem at hand -- Yeshua is not telling them the kosher laws (given by God) are suspended (in violation of His own words in Matthew 5:17-18), but clearly says they are breaking God's Torah by this particular man-made (not God-given) tradition.
It should be noted that Yeshua is not against tradition, including many of the traditions of the Pharisaic Judaism, (which He himself followed, i.e., celebration of Chanukkah, called the "Festival of Dedication" in the gospel of John). Such tradition is the way in which we "walk out" our faith (called halakha). As we will see in the next chapter, Yeshua even gave the power to set such "tradition" to His disciples.
What Yeshua is opposed to is any tradition not founded in Torah that places itself above Torah.
7Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
YASHANET: He repeats His criticism. They are elevating the doctrines of men over the commandments of the Torah. The kosher laws are from God, they are not traditions of men. In fact, teaching that the kosher laws (or any part of Torah) is done away with, would be what God would consider "commandments of men" and goes against His Word (Matthew 5:17-18).
10And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:
11Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
Mark 7 14And He called the people to [Him] again and said to them, Listen to Me, all of you, and understand [what I say]15There is not [even] one thing outside a man which by going into him can pollute and defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him and make him unhallowed and unclean16f]">[f]If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening [and let him g]">[g]perceive and comprehend by hearing]. 17And when He had left the crowd and had gone into the house, His disciples began asking Him about the parable.18And He said to them, Then are you also unintelligent and dull and without understanding? Do you not discern and see that whatever goes into a man from the outside cannot make him unhallowed or unclean,19Since it does not reach and enter his heart but [only his] digestive tract, and so passes on [into the place designed to receive waste]? Thus He was making and declaring all foods [ceremonially] clean [that is, h]">[h]abolishing the ceremonial distinctions of the Levitical Law]. 20And He said, What comes out of a man is what makes a man unclean and renders [him] unhallowed. 21For from within, [that is] out of the hearts of men, come base and wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, stealing, murder, adultery, 22Coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth), dangerous and destructive wickedness, deceit; i]">[i]unrestrained (indecent) conduct; an evil eye (envy), slander (evil speaking, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness), pride (j]">[j]the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man), foolishness (folly, lack of sense, recklessness, thoughtlessness). 23All these evil [purposes and desires] come from within, and they make the man unclean and render him unhallowed.
YASHANET: This is the verse that is commonly pulled out of its context to support the idea that the kosher laws have been done away with. Yeshua is teaching that we don't make clean foods unclean by failing to ceremonially wash our hands before we eat. Non-kosher food is not part of this discussion as the surrounding verses show.
16And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
YASHANET: Many attempts have been made to explain away Yeshua's direct answer. He did not say "accept me into your heart," or some similar statement. He made it clear that obedience to Torah was key. However, we know from both the Tenakh and the "New Testament," that once cannot "earn" their way into heaven by keeping the commandments outside of faith. God wants us to put our entire trust in Him first, then to learn and walk in His ways. The two are inseparable.
ZOHAR 569. The Ten Commandments of the Torah contain the essence of all celestial and terrestrial commandments, the essence of the ten sayings of Creation. They were engraved on tablets of stone and all the hidden things in them were seen by everybody's eyes, so as to conceive and behold the secret of the 613 commandments of the Torah. Everything was revealed to their eyes, through understanding, to the attentive hearts of all of Yisrael. Everything shone before their eyes.
18He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder (6th), Thou shalt not commit adultery (7th), Thou shalt not steal (8th), Thou shalt not bear false witness (9th)
567. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Shemot 20:13). Here there is no tonal pause, indicating that this is always forbidden. The Holy One, blessed be He, has placed supernal mysteries in all the words of Torah and instructed mankind how to strive towards perfection through it, as it is written: "I am Hashem your Elohim who teaches you for your profit, who leads you by the way that you should go" (Yeshayah 48:17).
19Honour thy father and thy mother (5th): and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Yeshua points out (to all that are listening to this discussion) that God is interested in commitment first and challenges this man on the aspect of trust.
21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
23Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
27Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
An allusion to the Kingdom in Revelation 21:14.
REVELATION 21: 14And the wall of the city had twelve foundation [stones], and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
29And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
This is a Hebrew idiom that has to do with "evening things out," not necessarily reversing the actual order of something. this idiom has to do with equality (as the parable shows), not reversing the order.
5Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
10For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
11But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
12And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
13Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
14And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
15There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
17And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
19Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
20And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
23And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
24And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
27And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
28Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
29And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
30But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
31But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
18And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
19And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
20Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
21And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
24And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
25For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
27And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
28Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
29And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,
30Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
1And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
7And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
Although Paul's main message in this letter is to the gentiles in the congregation, he also knows that this will be read aloud in the Synagogue. Therefore, both the Jews who believe in Yeshua AND the Jews that do not (yet) believe in Him, will be in "earshot" of this message.
Paul's explanation of the Jewish position before God (2:17-2:29) serves two purposes. First, to let the gentiles and Jews know that they are on a "level playing field" with God, regarding both condemnation and salvation. Also, Paul will now be able to "fairly" address any problems he has with the gentiles (later in the letter), as they will not regard themselves second-class citizens or victims of a double standard.
17Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
Paul uses this to point out pretentiousness of Jews, gentile pagans, and (as we will see later in his letter), gentile believers in Yeshua as well.
This was a lesson Peter says he was taught by God, which led to the decision of the Jerusalem council of Acts 15:
Acts 10:28b - but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Paul also takes aim at the Jewish missionaries of his day, stating that Jewish hypocrisy causes blasphemy on the part of the gentiles. Paul states that a Jew does indeed have an advantage (3:1-2), but it is of no use to him if he uses what God has given him to boast and act in a hypocritical manner.
There is more to Paul's criticism of some of his fellow Jews in this chapter, than what meets the eye however. Paul will use the point he makes against the Jews, to more effectively argue against gentile believers in chapters 12-15. As we will see, both groups are guilty of claiming special status that causes them to act arrogantly toward the other.
18And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
God's will is revealed in the Torah. "Trusting in the Lord," means to follow the commandments of Torah, which "stand fast forever":
Psalm 111 - Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant. He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Romans 7:12 - Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
19And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
20An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
21Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
23Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
24For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
Israel is to be God's "Messiah," anointed to be a light to the gentiles:
Isaiah 42:6 - I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles
Isaiah 49:6 - And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
Matthew 5:13-16 - Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Yeshua made it clear, that the Pharisees had the truth of the Torah in their teachings, but criticized them for the same thing Paul does in this chapter, hypocrisy and arrogance:
Matthew 23:1-3 - Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
25For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
Paul addresses the subject of "covenantal arrogance" - the idea some Jews had that they were righteous before God simply because they were Jews. Paul makes it clear that possessing the Torah is only advantageous for Jews if they are following it. Paul uses the concept of "boasting" in the Torah, and teaches that Jews have nothing to "boast" about.
This verse (as with any in Scripture) does not stand alone. Some might take this to mean that as the Jews violate Torah (including rejecting Messiah) that God is done with them as His chosen people. Paul makes it extremely clear in chapters 9-11 of this letter, that this is not the case. Such Jews remain God's chosen, but now are not fulfilling the role they were given; "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." (9:6).
26Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
27And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
This does not mean gentiles will sit with God in judgment of Jews one day. Rather, the obedience of righteous gentiles will serve as witness (along with Torah) against Jews who violate Torah.
28For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Unfortunately, this verse is often used out of context by some people to show that believers are all "spiritual Jews" and God no longer distinguishes between Jew and gentile in any way. The context however is quite plain - Paul is "talking TO Jews" here - not to gentiles. The verse comes at the end of several, showing that being a Jew outwardly means nothing to God. He demanded circumcision of their hearts (being "born again") since their beginnings with Abraham.
29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
This does not mean that one no longer has to follow the commandments of Torah. They are all still valid (Matthew 5:17-21, Romans 3:31). Following in the spirit means performing the commandments in faith as part of a proper relationship to the One true God. This means not only keeping the Torah's minimal requirements, but going beyond them, as Yeshua taught in Matthew, chapters 5-7.
Yashanet Notes on Verses 7-25
Yashanet: This section, as the one (above) preceding it, may also be considerd as directed more toward the Jews in the audience, though not exclusively. Also, as we will see, the lesson Paul teaches here (about certain Jewish beliefs toward gentiles), will come back later in the letter when he addresses the issue of gentile attitude toward Jews and the faith of Israel.
Many people have difficulty with these verses as Paul speaks of himself, a believer in Yeshua, in the present tense (in verses 14-25), as being "a slave under sin's power." Again, people are prone to (incorrectly) think of the Torah's demands "legalistically," and thus view Torah observance as "the problem" (and thus done away by the Messiah). However, the more people are set free from thinking of the Torah in this way, and sees how it reveals (and calls you to) God's perfection, the more conscious they become of their own continuing sinfulness and arrogant self-righteousness.
What was Paul's sin?
Paul cites the 10th commandment (coveting) in verse 7. This should be kept in mind in order to understand the passage correctly. Coveting is not always about wanting what isn't yours -- it is also about wanting what may be yours, but what you should not regard as "only yours," so as to deny your neighbor. Two other Scriptures, Philippians 3 and Galatians 2 , will help provide a clue as to what Paul's sin may have been.
The Torah had provided a "coveted status" to the Jew, as it was to them only that God provided this (Romans 3:2).
Paul himself recognized that this differentiation existed:
Galatians 2:15 - We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles
Because of man's sinful nature, it was easy for many Jews to develop a theology of, "we're in and they're out," with regard to the gentile world. With somes Jews, the Torah and its privelege had become a weapon instead of a tool (i.e., Romans 3:27-30, 9:30-10:4, 11:6).
God's purpose in Israel's calling was to be a light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16), as Israel is called "God's Messiah." Some of this "covenantal-covetousness" naturally carried over with Jews that came to Messiah. This may be seen in those who insisted on full Torah observance (conversion) for gentiles prior to "coming to faith in Messiah" (i.e., Acts 15). Without doubt, Paul's teaching against "covenantal-covetousness," rubbed some of his contemporaries the wrong way (those that wanted to remain an exclusive, privileged group), as seen in the (false) accusations against Paul that he actually taught "against Torah."
An example of this sin of covenental-covetousness involving a Jew coming to Yeshua, is seen in a case involving Peter, as described by Paul in Galatians 2:11-21. Paul tells of an incident, where Peter walked away from a group of gentile believers, when some of his Jewish brethren arrived on the scene.
This Galatians passage is yet another that is often misinterpreted to teach that Peter's "sin" was "failing to see that he didn't have to follow Torah any more." This is completely erroneous, as the text itself shows that Paul's argument with Peter had nothing to do with "food," but with his walking away from the gentiles, making them seem inferior.3
Paul's lesson in Galatians, as well as here in Romans, and in Ephesians 2 (where he describes the "mystery" of gentiles coming to faith) is that in Yeshua this "discrimination" (Jew from gentile in the flesh by circumcision), is removed in a manner that the Law is unable to by its very nature (as a gift to the Jews) to do. This is what he rebukes Peter for in Galatians, telling him that he "lived" (was saved) in the same way as the gentiles "lived" (were saved) - both by faith.
Paul knew even back then (Galatians was written years before the book of Romans) that he and Peter (and other Jews) were guilty of this covetous nature that got in the way of being able to do what the Torah truly calls for.
He recognized the solution at that time as well:
Galatians 2:19 - For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God.
In Galatians, we see a similar teaching to chapter 7 of Romans. Paul recognized that through the Torah (which taught Paul to love God and neighbor), he realized he could not keep the commandment, even though he wanted to (see verse 7:19 below).
It would seem likely, that the "personal sin" Paul is speaking about here in Romans 7, is with his covetousness of the Torah. As a Jew, Paul "died" to the Torah when he failed in trying to observe the very gift of God (Torah), by judging gentiles to be inferior with regard to salvation. In this way sin still "lived under the Torah" for him, and would lead to his death. (See verse 13 below.)
Paul praised God (7:24-25) that he (a Jew within Torah, as separate from the gentile who was "outside of Torah"), through Yeshua, could live his life without the covenantal-covetousness that his sinful nature provoked. He could now accept gentiles in Yeshua as true brothers, according to God's righteousness, and not follow his own righteousness, which pitted Jew versus gentile. Paul could not do this before his faith in Yeshua.
Once again, the foundation of Paul's teaching lies in an understanding of the Shema, that teaches that God is One God, for Jew and gentile. The Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4), is the fundamental "statement of faith" of Judaism. God's first "commandment" is that we put our trust in Him ("faith") thereby "loving Him." He then says how we are to love Him -- not based on emotions, but on following His Torah:
- Deuteronomy 6:1-9 - Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
This is effectively answered in 7:12. Torah itself is not sin -- Torah magnifies sin (re: 3:20, 4:15, 5:12,20, 7:5). Sin existed before Torah was given, but is "given power" through the Torah. (Re: 1 Corinthians 15:56). The wages (power) of sin is death (re: 6:23, 8:6). The knowledge of sin "intervenes" between Torah and sin, making Torah "an agent" to "provide" for man's sinful passions. Torah itself is not a part of those passions, as men do sin in absence of the Torah (v. 2:12, 5:13, 15:12-14), but don't fully recognize sin for what it is, apart from the Torah (3:20).
See notes above on Paul's sin of covetousness of Torah. As he explains of himself in this chapter, now that Yeshua lives in him, Paul "walks (i.e., follows Torah) according to the spirit," and is free to live without this sin.
8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
9For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
This is another example of Pharisaic thought, i.e.:
Talmud, Hagigah 16a. - "If the evil inclination say to thee, 'Sin and the Holy One, blessed be He, will pardon,' believe it not, for it is said: 'Trust not in a friend' (Micah 7:5) and 'friend' (re'a) means none other that one's evil inclination, for it is said, 'For the inclination of man's heart is evil (ra').
12Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
Although Torah stirs up sin, it is not sin, as it is the revelation and instruction of the holy One who gave it (re: 3:5). This answers the question of 7:7 (Is the law sin?). The Torah is God's will for Paul as it was for Yeshua (re: 7:22, 25; 8:7; Matthew 15:3, 6; Mark 7:8), and for all who follow the Messiah. The "deliverance" Paul preaches about, is from sin and death (the curse of the Torah), not from the Torah itself.
Paul thus reiterates that the Torah is not abrogated for believers (Romans 3:21, 7:12-14, 9:2-5, 11:29-29, 15:8), in the same fashion that Yeshua taught (Matthew 5:17-21). Just as God's faithfulness is not abrogated by Israel's unfaithfulness (v.3:3) the Torah is not contaminated because man does not fulfill its commandments.
God gave the Torah to give life, but it is also a means of death for those who use it wrongly:
1 Timothy 1:5-8 - Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
yashanet: Paul continues his discussion of proper halakha (the way of "walking" one's faith) for gentiles, who must live in purity if they are to show that they have turned from idolatry to worship of the One God of Israel. Paul quotes from the Torah to prove his point.
9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
The statement in verse 10 is one often misinterpreted in Christian circles to teach that the Torah given by God to Israel through Moses, has been replaced by some new undefined "law of Love." Nothing could be further from the truth. This type of false teaching is caused by a lack of knowledge of Paul's Hebraic thinking and Talmudic teaching methodology.
Note in verse 9 that Paul equates the Torah commands of not committing adultery murder, theft, bearing false witness or coveting, as the "love that fulfills the law." Therefore, if there is some new "law of love" replacing obedience to the Torah, then these things are no longer sin, as long as one "believes" he is doing them "in love." As absurd as this sounds, it is taught throughout Christianity and goes unchallenged.
In actuality, Paul's comment about "love fulfilling the Torah," is a paraphrase of one made a gereration earlier by Rabbi Hillel, a staunch Pharisee quoted throughout the Talmud. No one would ever suggest that Hillel taught "against Torah" (as is said of Paul), yet he is recorded in the Talmud as saying:
Shabbat 31a - Do not unto thy neighbor that which you would not have him do unto you. This is the whole Jewish law. All else the rest is but commentary.
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Children must obey their parents, and parents must
act like proper, godly parents and encourage the
child to obey them by being reasonable with their
children. Parents teach their children more than they
realize. Parents who do not live proper, godly lives
accidentally teach ungodliness to their children.
1 Timothy 3:1-14
1This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
2 Timothy 2:2
2And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
5For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
6If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
9Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
18For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
19And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
20(For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
21And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
25See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
26Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29For our God is a consuming fire.
8If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
9But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
10For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
11For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
12So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
13For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
1 Peter 2:9-10
9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.