24 Iyar 5777 / May 20, 2017
by Paul Ginsburg
This Week’s Readings:
Torah: Leviticus 25:1-27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19 to 17:14
B’rit Chadashah: Luke 4:16-21
When my family moved, I had to go to a new school and make new friends. At my new school there were bullies that I had to deal with and I didn’t like it. One of the bullies was so mean that I had to tell the teacher who told the kid to stop being mean to me. The bully still did not stop until the teacher told her again but now she doesn’t bully me anymore. Just like my teacher stopped the bully, Yeshua is the one who brings freedom from oppression and also brings about healing. This is similar to the idea of redemption which is buying something back for yourself. Say if someone bought you a sandwich from Subway but you couldn’t pay for it so you gave them your cell phone until you could pay them. Redemption is when you give them the money you owed them to get your cell phone back.
The Torah Portion starts in Leviticus 25 which talks about the Sabbath year. The Sabbath year is the seventh year when the land has a Sabbath rest. The main point in the Torah Portion is the year of Jubilee, which is that on the 50th year all slaves are freed in the land of Israel. When the slaves are free they can have freedom and get their land back. What I think is the most important point is redemption. As I said, redemption is buying something back for a cost. In this portion, G-d expects us to show fair treatment of others and to not take advantage of anyone. An example of taking advantage of someone is if your friend was learning a card game and they had a good card and you had a bad card and you traded with them since they didn’t know any better. That would be taking advantage of someone, which is sin!
The Haftarah Portion is Jeremiah 16. The story starts with people saying to G-d in verse 19, “Adonai my strength , my stronghold , my refuge in affliction, to all the nations will come.” So I think this verse is saying that Jeremiah is thanking G-d because of who he is and what he does for us. Let's move to the next verse in this chapter where I think it’s teaching to worship only one G-d and not worship any other gods because that would be sin . And in chapter 17 and verse 14 it says, “Heal me Adonai and I will be healed, save me and I will be saved.” So I think that this is saying that we need to trust in G-d and believe in his ability to rescue and heal us.
The Brit Chadashah Portion is Luke 4, where Yeshua reads the scroll at a synagogue. Yeshua reads Isaiah 61 and states that this passage is about Him. This teaches us that Yeshua goes to a synagogue like we do. By saying Isaiah 61 is about Him, Yeshua says that He will, and does, provide healing by making the pain go away. Yeshua also brings redemption for us from sin. Since redemption always costs something, this cost Yeshua’s death and now we are free from sin by his death and resurrection. This is the Besorah, which means the Good News.
It has been three years since my Bar Mitzvah. My Bar Mitzvah passages remind me about how my life has changed since my Bar-Mitzvah, and encourage me to continue learning G-d’s teaching and his commandments that are in the Holy Scriptures. G-d also tells us to be obedient and love others, but if you take advantage of people it is sin. This teaches us that G-d wants us not to sin because He loves us and bought us back to Himself with the price of Yeshua’s death, because He redeemed us. Also, G-d wants us to treat others fairly because He made us and He forgives us when we sin. G-d wants us to be obedient because it's not good to sin, because G-d created us humans and created the world. G-d wants us to be free from oppression because it's very cruel and unfair. Just like my teacher helped stop the bully, Yeshua stops oppression and brings healing from the pain that it brought.