Parashah Pesach – 8th Day of Passover (on Shabbat)
22 Nissan 5779/April 27th, 2019
By David Davis
This Week’s Readings:
Torah: Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17; Numbers 28:19-25
Haftarah: Isaiah 10:32-12:16
Brit Chadashah: Matthew 5:43-48
This Torah portion begins with a mitzvah that no one actually believes is a mitzvah: tithing ten percent. Yes, this is a real mitzvah from the Torah, and not an obscure church tradition made up in the Middle Ages. Tithing is not fake news from Liberal Magazine.
In the Torah Portion Moses connects tithing with three ordered spiritual attributes: fear, rejoicing, and blessing. According to the first Torah reading, tithing to the Levite results in our learning how to fear the L-RD. The assumption in the Torah is that people do not have a natural ability to fear G-d, but is something that must be learned. It should be noted that while G-d gives great responsibility to the Levite among the children of Israel, the Levite is classified along with the outsider, the orphan, and the widow. What is looked upon highly by the L-RD is often despised in the eyes of man, so fear not, even when people who we love reject us. When we do not pay our tithe, we show that we have no fear of G-d. When we learn the fear of the L-RD, then we learn to rejoice in the L-RD, and then the L-RD will bless us in all we do. The second and third Torah readings show these three ordered attributes through the three main Festivals. While most of us hear of the dreaded 666 stemming from the three lies on the sixth day that leads man to destruction and death, G-d gives us His three Festivals showing us the three truths that lead to peace and life. Seven days of Pesach, seven weeks of Shavuot, and seven days of Sukkot. This is an ordered redemption. First, the L-RD redeems us by the blood of the lamb. This is the only WAY out of Egypt. Second, we receive the Spirit of TRUTH and the L-RD writes His Law on our hearts. Third, we receive the blessing of eternal LIFE.
The Haftarah Portion text I also break into three parts. The first section shows us the nature of Messiah. He will possess seven attributes of the Ruach showing Divinity as well as being able to judge both the earth and the wicked with the rod of his mouth just as He created both earth and man with his words throughout the creation narrative. We see that while Divine, he will also be from the root of Jesse and a man. He will both have the Spirit of Hashem, and the Spirit of the fear of Hashem. The second section states that the Messiah will be the one to make the nations worship the G-d of Israel, while also punishing the nations that come against Israel. Third, we see the completed work of Messiah and the resulting rejoicing and blessing.
In the Brit Chadashah, Yeshua gives us a list of unpleasant things that people often do to us in the world along with our natural responses. The climax of all is “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Later, Yeshua relates this quality with perfection. I was inspired to change my drash by my friend Judah, a man who strangely agrees with me on everything politically and nothing at all concerning religion. But we discuss both. When talking, he did the usual, and told me a Jesus joke. The joke is on him because this drash is named after him considering his name is Judah and he is also a Levite. Praying for Judah is very easy for me, despite our differences. Just like praying for the Jewish people is very easy for people who love Jesus regardless of differences. No matter what he says and how often he thinks of me when singing the birkhat haminim, I understand Judah because he is like me in many ways until the Lord saved me. There are other people that I have not prayed for because I hate them. I pray for them with the words of my mouth, but not with the meditation of my heart.
When Judah told me the joke, I remembered who I was for so long. I cried and I thanked G-d for saving me. I asked him to forgive me for hating people in my heart, and not praying for them. It was one of the prayers G-d answered immediately - the Spirit of G-d changed my heart that very moment - and I knew He did. Praying for enemies and those who persecute us is not fake news from Liberal Magazine, but is the mitzvah that likens us to the L-RD Himself. There is no greater rejoicing in heaven than when the lost are found. Our Great G-d and Savior prayed, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do” after having nails driven through his body. One of the criminals was just like me: he started by mocking the Lord of Glory during the crucifixion, but was sent to Paradise because he changed his mind. This is the story of Passover. May we learn the fear of the L-RD so we may tithe to the Levite, and pray for Judah because both are greatly loved by the L-RD; His steadfast love endures forever!