“Bringing to light the meaning of some difficult mitzvoth”
EXODUS 21:1-24:18…… JEREMIAH 34:8-22, 33:25-26…. MARK 1:1-2:28
This parashah involves the giving of a variety of commandments, that Elohim gave to Moshe to give/write down, and teach to “b'nei Israel” the first has to do with slaves and the treatment of slaves. The system of slavery in Israel back in Biblical times was very much different than the cruel slavery of Africans here in the United States, starting from the 1600s, into colonial days, up until the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.
Unfortunately, the slave owners used the bible as a “reason” to own slaves, as they said, “The Bible permits slavery!” Yes, but only in extreme circumstances when one could not pay one's debts. And the person was only a slave for 7 years, in year 7, the master had to release the slave, give the slave gifts of oil, wine, wheat, so he or she could start life over again. The slave could not be abused like slaves were whipped and abused under American slavery. But if the slave wished to remain with the master, the master could make a hole in the slave's ear and put in a ring, indicating that the slave was slave for life, (being the choice of the slave) but “life” was up to 50 years, until the year of “Jubilee” if the slave chose to be with his or her master for “life” and the year, let's say was “40” then, “Life” was 10 years more, and then the slave would be released.
It is interesting to read that the scripture says in Exodus 21:6 “Then his master will bring him before Elohim, and shall bring him to the door or the doorpost and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl”
The word, Elohim, cannot only mean “God” but also, “Those who represent God” perhaps Levites, officials of the Tabernacle, the temple, city, etc. The word “Master” is a form of “Adonai” in this part, it is spelled; “Adonav” (his master). The doorpost was the official place of doing business, like at the county clerk’s office. So the person who loved his master made his love for him official, before “Adonav” (His master) before “Elohim” (God himself and before those who represent Him.
If the slave was hurt in any way, say the master hit the slave and knocked a tooth out, or put an eye out, the slave was to be released immediately, and with compensation. Not so in America during the years of slavery.
Rav Shaul/Paul the Apostle talks about being “bond slaves” to Messiah Yeshua, and that is our state. Would we want to be “released” from following HIM? Would we want to be under a “different master?” There are only two that claim our lives; Yeshua or HaSatan? We were “bought with a price” the price of blood, and we were released from Satan's bondage, to follow and subject ourselves to a new master, “Adonai” which means; “my master” We are “servants” to the Most High God. The Hebrew word for “Slave” and “servant” is the same in Hebrew; “Eved” slaves/servants were not considered “objects of purchase” or “property” they were considered “human beings” just like we are considered in the eyes of YHVH his “servants” “children” “adopted sons and daughters”. Do not sons and daughters serve their parents?
”An eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe; (21:24….) if you read on, we see that it doesn't mean, “if you knock out my tooth, I have a right to knock your tooth out too” or “if you blind me in on eye, I have the right to put out your eye” or in modern terminology, “If you break my stereo, I have the right to go into your house and smash your stereo” how, I ask you, does that solve the problem? It doesn't, it just creates more problems. If we look at this situation in light of scripture, it is saying in other words; “just compensation for hurt or damage received”
How would that work? If I broke your arm accidentally or on purpose, I would be responsible for taking you to the doctor and paying the medical bill, and even, paying you “lost wages” if you couldn't work. It doesn't mean that the other guy could break “my arm too”. If you broke my stereo, then I would expect you to either pay to have it fixed, or buy me another one of equal value, (arm for an arm, stereo for stereo, etc.)
We continue to read about many rules, commandments, judgments, that make very good sense, even today, yet many of these judgments are not practiced today, everyone is off to the lawyers for a lawsuit. My opinion is that if the legal system today, was set up to reflect the Biblical standards of criminal justice in accordance to God's Word, there would be a lot less crime. The criminals would think twice before committing crimes. An example would be the following; A man goes to prison for stealing a car, he sells it, spends the money, so the prisoner has to work in prison and the money he would make would be sent to the victim to compensate the loss. His sentence would end only when the sum is completed. Or…the court system would pay the victim the money lost in the theft, and the thief would have to work to pay back the court. This type of punishment would reflect more the Torah standard of criminal justice.
We come now to Exodus 23:19. “You shall bring the first-fruits of thy land unto the House of YHVH, thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk” One commandment does not even reflect the other. It would be like saying, “turn out the lights when you leave the house, hey, don't forget to check the mailbox for mail”. What has one got to do with the other? G-d is saying is saying here to bring your tithe to the House of YHVH but then goes on to a different subject. Would this; “seething a kid in its mother's milk” be taken literally? In order to break this commandment, one would have to take a kid goat, butcher it, cut up the meat, then take the mother goat, milk her, then boil the meat in the mother's milk. Who would go to the trouble to do all that? Today, when people make stew, the meat is usually boiled/seethed in water with condiments, not in milk. But if we look at this commandment in a derashic sense, (the moral and spiritual sense) we could get this understanding;
It may be all about the separation of life and death, of the clean from unclean (Tamei from tahor) good from bad. In “Basar v'chalav” (meat and milk) we can see that the word “Chalav”(milk) spelled in Hebrew is “Chet, Lamed, Beit (ch+l+v) yet the word “fat” is also spelled (ch+l+v) yet pronounced “Chelev” They are related, “milk” is a form of “fat”, and the fat of an animal was offered upon the altar to YHVH, as a “sweet savor” a “pleasant smell” unto YHVH, this was part of the worship service. We worship G-d with our full “heart” and the word “Ch+l+v” contains the letters “lamed” and “beit” (l+v) (Lev) which means “heart” Milk symbolizes “life” a baby is nurtured by its mother's milk to live, to have a life. Yet the flesh (Basar) symbolizes death, as a believer, to be in the “flesh” is the opposite to being “in the spirit, full of life”. Once the animal is cut up, if not used, the flesh sits and rots, flies come around, and it becomes “Tamei” (unclean) when we are in the “flesh” we are in a way of speaking, “unclean” spiritually, until we confess our sins, and become as “milk” (full of life) again, walking in the spirit, and, like the fat of a clean animal, being a “sweet savor unto YHVH” .
This just one way one can look at this prohibition of boiling a kid in its mother's milk, from a Derashic (moral and spiritual) standpoint. (watch “Basar v' Chalav/Meat and Milk” on YouTube “Kehilah Melech Yisrael”)
”if you meet an enemy's ox or his ass going astray, you will bring it back to him again” (Ex 23:4) This is one way to make your enemy, your friend, make peace with him. Would not this be for today as well, of course, it would! “Do not oppress the stranger, seeing you were strangers in the land of Egypt” other bibles say “foreigner” the USA used to welcome all immigrants, now many are being oppressed, being deported, being cheated in wages, we must turn this around and start helping those who come to this country to seek a better life, thus turning a curse into a blessing. If you read from chap 21 to 24, look carefully at the commandments/judgments, you will see that most make perfect sense even unto our modern days. God's Word is right on the money!
JEREMIAH 34:8-22, 33:25-26
Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet” because Israel had returned to idolatry, and corruption, YHVH sends him with a message to Israel, “Repent” and “turn from your sins”, one of the sins was to go back on their word. Jeremiah told them that God had said, “release your slaves” since they had not released them after 7 years, they did that, but afterward, they “re-captured” their slaves and returned them to captivity, this is to be “double-minded” for “appearance sake” they released the slaves/servants, but when they thought that “the prophet wasn't looking” they went back on their word. Result? Babylon came and captured Israel! And king Zedekiah was taken to Babylon as a slave.
How well do we as believers respond when someone calls our attention? When we are in the wrong, do we really repent, and turn from our sins? or…. when we think no one is looking, go back to our sins? Our old attitudes, our old “issues?” A thief looks ahead, in back, to the left, to the right, to make sure that no one is looking, but the thief never looks “up”! Yes, our Heavenly Father who is on high is looking down on us all, and observes ALL our actions, even in private, so, we really are NEVER alone! Someone is always watching us.
God, his holy angels, Satan, and his demons, all that are in the spirit realm are always watching our every move. So, make sure our lives are holy, unto God on high.
The talmid/disciple Mark writes about John the Baptist, his ministry to prepare the people for the coming of his cousin, Yeshua, preparing hearts, minds. Baptism was important in Jewish life, it symbolized who was once unclean, is now clean, from “Tamei” to “Tahor”, from “death to life”.
When a born-again believer is baptized, the believer identifies himself or herself with Yeshua in death and life, death, burial, and resurrection. But John was just “preparing” the way for He who is THE WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.
Yeshua is the WAY to eternal life, He is the TRUTH, which is the opposite of lies and deception, and He is LIFE eternal, to those who embrace Him as Savior and LORD.
Yeshua went walking along the Sea of Galilee, and there he invited Kefa and Andrew to come with him, and later, at K’far Nachum (Capernaum) went to the synagogue there and began to teach the people. I thank God that I visited that same synagogue back in 2015 when I went to Israel to serve the IDF with the reserve units. My friend Alon and I went by car to Capernaum, walk around, and visited the part of the lake that served as a dock for the fishing boats, that is probably where Yeshua met Kefa and Andrew.
We are all called by Yeshua through his spirit, to follow him, do we follow Him? or…do we expect HIM to follow US? He teaches us through HIS word, are we listening?