Torah Study Resource Links

Here are some resources that have been ministering to my heart this last year:

Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship in Hudson, Wisconsin, has interesting articles, the best series I’ve ever heard on the book of Hebrews, Continue reading “Torah Study Resource Links”

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The Bible in 3-D

When I moved to Thornhill, Ontario, I remember seeing throngs of Orthodox Jewish families walking to synagogue as I was driving down Bathurst St. It was an ordinary day, overcast, unremarkable except that it was one of the strangest experiences of my life: as I looked at them, I saw scriptures in 3 dimensions! I saw Numbers 15:38 (tzitzit) swinging in the breeze. I saw the unmarred beards of Lev. 19:27. I was driving through a world where Exodus 20:8-11, the Sabbath, was not a tiny 2-dimensional square of text in an ancient book, but a 3-dimensional world. That 3-dimensional world became visible to me because those people were choosing to obey those 2-dimensional scriptures.

That’s the experience I think of when people talk to me about the law of God.

The law of God is not a curse (the curse of sin and death has been removed for us through Christ [Rom. 8:2]), not a burden (1 John 5:3),  and not too hard to do (Deut. 30:11-16).  Every God-breathed law implies a choice for someone somewhere at some time. In those moments when our lives intersect with one of God’s commands, we can choose to obey it or choose not to obey it. We can get the greatest possible spiritual potential from it, or we can disregard it. We can fulfill it or destroy it. We can bring the Word of God to life or close the book and make it of none effect.

We’re asked to do the word (Jam. 1:22). We hear it, believe it, and live it. May our understanding increase and may we see the opportunities God gives us follow Christ, to walk as Jesus walked in this world, to walk in all the ways the Lord our God commands us.

STFSG seeks YTTFMBSL

Our Small TorahFriendly Shabbat Group is seeking a YeshuaTrusting, TorahFriendly Male Bible Study Leader. Why male? Well, Paul tells us it is a shame for women to teach, and I suspect he means it shames the brethren more than the usurping women. It’s a shame that the men leave a leadership gap when it comes to the holy things of God, and it’s a shame for a women to put on wingtips and clomp around in that gap. But that leaves the problem of what to do when there is no male leader. The best answer I have right now? Pray.

The Sabbath

Well, it looks like I may, Lord willing, be given an opportunity to discuss the Sabbath with some people who have never heard that there be any Sabbaths for the people of God.

Where do I begin? And how?

My thoughts tend toward Genesis 2, creation, and God’s decree he introduced into the cosmos when he decided–despite what was already there and “good”–he would call the Sabbath “holy.” God made part of creation holy. God made a holy space in time. How cool is that? The physical and the divine intersect on the seventh day. Always. That blows me away.

A friend of mine really gets her kicks out of the knowledge that because day seven was a sabbath, neither the world nor mankind ever experienced a seventh day that was not a sabbath. The sabbath was not an afterthought, not a response to our busy, stressful lives, not a special gift for a nation that would come into being 2000 years later. It was made for man, and Adam and Eve lived their first full day on the sabbath.

Another friend thinks the Big Ten are the way to go. It’s not hard to demonstrate that there is no such thing as a “ceremonial” law.

I know the NT is used to try to nullify the Sabbath, so I’m rereading some of those passages, hence the post about Romans 14. Maybe I’ll make separate posts on each of those as I study them.

In the end, I know Shabbat is a heart matter like anything and everything that has to do with God. It takes the revelation of God. How many times did I say “I’m not under the law” concerning the Sabbath? I didn’t know. But God knows and God reveals and God gives grace.

Psst, Did You Hear That?

What?

The sound of nothing, the sound of raindrops and occasional traffic slicing through the mist on the roads, the sound of the sheer curtains billowing and brushing against the lampshade and then the screen, breathing with the fresh, cool air…

It’s been a long time since things have been this quiet around my home just a few hours before Shabbat. Our labor is over. It is finished.

We’re ready to rest.

God, the First Feminist – Introduction

I’m going to write a book with that title one day; however, I’d have to be careful to define feminism as both willing and doing what is in the best interest of women (not simply allowing anything a woman thinks is in her best interest–generally, rebellion and licentiousness).

First, can we all agree that are such things as signs and interpretations of those signs and that the two are distinct? For example, the words man and woman are signs. Something pops into a person’s head when he reads those words, but it would be a false assumption to say that whatever pops into his head pops into everyone else’s head.

Is it true that because m-a-n appears in each that males are somehow more important than females? If you answered that question, you’re no longer making simple observations about the word; instead, you’re constructing an interpretation of the word based on what you already believe is true about males and females or what you already believe is true about the feelings of the people who first used words like man and woman.

However, it is no more intrinsically true to say males are more important because m-a-n appears in both words than it is to say that females are more important because they are given more letters, for w-o-m-a-n is ever so much longer and grander than m-a-n alone. Both are just interpretations.

Sadly, we cannot probably even agree that there is a difference between a word and its interpretation, but I think returning to that distinction is the first step in repairing the damage done by those who first assume that the Torah of God is a sexist legal system and then go back looking for ways to torture the text into providing evidence against itself. When unbelievers slander God, I can understand. When “believers” do, I get upset. Brethern, these things ought not be!

Here is my wish list of chapters in the book I never wrote, God, the First Feminist:

Chapter 1 The Sabbath
Chapter 2 The Matriarchs
Chapter 3 God’s Property
Chapter 4 Niddah (the Seven Days of Separation)
Chapter 5 Marriage
Chapter 6 Premarital Relations

Chapter 1 The Sabbath (God, the First Feminist)

The Sabbath is radically feminist. It’s a national holiday that includes women–all women, even foreign servant-girls, the world’s most helpless class of people. On pagan holidays, women work overtime. On God’s holidays, women rest, and no man can kick back, put his feet up, and order a woman to bring him a beer. God confers dignity on all people on the Sabbath; it is a great leveler. A king rests on the Sabbath, but so does a debtor-slave. Both are equally free, equally dignified, on Shabbat. It’s an oppression-free Utopia. It’s a wonder more social engineers haven’t discovered it.

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